For the past ten years employee surveys in the Building Sector have indicated a sharp decline in Site Supervisory staff, e.g. the trade and general Foreman level. Figures from the 2015 Skills Shortage Survey indicate this category to have overall the biggest critical shortage.
In the past there was the natural employee growth from Artisan to Leading Hand to Foreman. With the shortage of Artisans, especially with the demise of the apprenticeship system in 2002 which was replaced by a shortened learner approach, suitable candidates for promotion via this route can be partly blamed for the shortage of these skills. In addition Universities of Technology encourage more candidates to follow the Quantity Surveyor route.
In order to resolve the situation our Associations Skills Trust embarked on a Cadet Foreman Program, which is aimed at young matriculated people, between the ages of 22 and 30, who through lack of career guidance, wish to pursue a more stable career.
The process of selection is fairly rigid and all candidates are subjected to psychometric tests designed to indicate their trainability and ability to work under pressure in a sometimes harsh environment.
Once selected, they enter a training environment which exposes them to all the facets of building work, including but not limited to - excavation, carpentry, concrete, scaffolding, bricklaying, plastering, tiling and setting out. They arrive with 'soft' hands and at the end of twelve weeks have a good understanding of building, and, in fact they can even build their own house.
The Cadets are then placed with our members for nine months on site to gain practical experience. Each month their attendance and performance is evaluated. Following this period the Cadets then return to the training provider and are registered to complete the Learner program Site Supervisory Practices at NQF IV a SAQA approved program. They are then exposed to all theoretical knowledge such as, measurement, computer literacy, quality management, health & safety, management, advanced setting out, risk management, report writing and communication. After three months they are then placed for further practical training for nine months and again are subjected to monthly evaluation reports. (An interesting fact is that employer members generally request that Cadets that they have had previously, return to them to complete the program. )
The process is then repeated, after which the Cadets are assessed and receive the NQF IV Certificate in Site Supervisory Practices.
During their theoretical training period, Cadets are paid a stipend by the MBA Development Trust, and when on site are paid a stipend by the host employer.
During March, 2017 we will be interviewing an additional group of 8 persons to start in early May. Interested member companies wishing to host our Foremen of the Future are welcome to contact us.
The Association extends thanks to those member companies who are currently hosting cadets.