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SKILLS AND TRAINING Regulation Training of MV Lines Empowering electrical line mechanic artisans A huge shortcoming in the powerline training industry has always been that the powerline industry operates with semi-skilled and short skilled artisans. Similar to many sectors, young entrants are deterred from entering this trade due to a lack of formal standards, recognition of prior learning processes and qualifications in the powerline training sector. INDUSTRY BODIES FORMULATE A SOLUTION In conjunction with industry role players, NAMB (National Artisan Moderation Body), Department of Higher Education and Eskom, the first formal qualification was launched in 2013. Aptly called the Electric Line Mechanic qualification, the certification includes all the modules and preliminary training required for the training in powerline foundations, assembly, erecting, stringing and regulations and handover procedures. For the first time private individuals, municipalities, contractors, sub- contractors and any company or business involved in the building and/or maintenance of low and medium voltage powerlines can now get their workers properly trained, assessed and certified, to not only a unified national standard but also to an internationally accepted standard. POWERPRO TRAINING AND TECHNOLOGIES TRAINING CENTRE The accredited training company, Powerpro Training and Technologies, is the first private trade and training centre accredited to deliver this trade qualification to individuals and tradesmen. 86 In order for applicants to be trade test prepared and tested, the following criteria apply: • Grade 9 (Std 7) and a minimum of 5 years powerline working experience, or • A National certificate (N2) including the relevant trade theory subjects and a minimum of 3 years working experience, or • A relevant engineering qualification and a minimum of 18 months working experience, or • Technical Grade 12 with mathematics and related trade theory subjects and a minimum of 3 years work experience. Learners start with the basics of line construction training, which includes excavation work, pole planting and dressing, cable jointing and terminations, earth resistance testing, equipotential earthing, transformers, interpreting drawings, crimping, hardware assembly, pre-form product applications and identification of line hardware and equipment. The pre-requisites required to become successfully red-sealed trade tested include: • Apply Health and Safety in the Work Area • First Aid • Fire Fighting • Working at Height and Rescues • Ladder Safety • Fundamentals of Electricity • Hand and Power Tools • OHRVS Awareness • Construction Regulations • Transportation of People and Equipment what does it mean to be m red-sealed trade tested? The candidate has completed an apprenticeship of the appropriate length and has had the proper training necessary to be able to competently operate in the dangerous working environments that go with artisanal trades. Trade testing (for recognition of prior learning applicants) • The trade tested component includes a trade preparation period of 2 weeks • Successful completion of a Foundation Learning Competence Test • The actual trade test of 2 – 3 days Complete full training programme (for new applicants who wish to complete the entire programme) • A comprehensive and practical training period of 75 – 80 days that includes all the requirements as per SAQA and NAMB (National Artisan Moderation Body). In the case of apprenticeship training, this includes all the aspects of low and medium voltage distribution training and high voltage infrastructure training. ESI ABOUT THE COMPANY: Powerpro Technologies and Training Facility, founded in 2009 due to the lack of skills in the powerline industry, provides specialised training for the construction of LV, MV and HV powerlines. Powerpro’s training extends to important generic training for civil construction sites and contractors. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ernest Coetzee, managing director of Powerpro, has been part of the powerline industry since 1995. His passion for sharing his knowledge led to the founding of the company to alleviate the vast lack of skills in the powerline industry. ESI AFRICA ISSUE 2 2015