SKILLING INNOVATIONS FOR TRADE OCCUPATIONS
July 2021 - Plumbing sector leads a new approach to apprenticeships, increasing youth employment and enhancing the sector
When a sector organises itself into an engine of inclusive growth, it can focus on the mutual interests of all stakeholders, including industry bodies, employers and educators. Working together enables them to identify sector needs, create jobs, and fill those jobs with young people who would otherwise be locked out of the economy. Setting these young people up for success with transformative training enables them to play a vital role in enhancing the sector and the economy.
Brendan Reynolds, Executive Director of IOPSA (Institute of Plumbing South Africa), says the realisation that construction and plumbing companies had stopped taking on apprentices was a wake-up call.
“Plumbing offers great opportunities. It features on the 2020 National List of Occupations in High Demand and is part of the government’s target to have 30,000 trained artisans in place annually to fulfil strategic infrastructure projects and Covid recovery plans,” he says. “If we can change employers’ perceptions of apprentices, we will see significant growth in apprenticeships and new employment opportunities to meet the government’s target.”
According to Reynolds, many young people arbitrarily choose trade jobs because they offer a faster route to earning a stipend. However, if a young person is not suited to the work, they will not succeed regardless of how desperate they are to make a living.
“A poor match between a young person and their chosen vocation is one of the reasons that our TVET colleges show low pass rates and aren’t producing the candidates our industry wants.”
Through collaboration and an enabling partnership between Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator and IOPSA, the plumbing sector has identified its challenges in appropriately sourcing and skilling young people as artisans, ready to tackle their apprenticeships with willing and supportive employers. In response, it has now introduced two game-changing education models for plumbing.
BluLever Education - an apprenticeship that takes itself seriously
BluLever Education, an organisation that develops artisans through holistic vocational education and skills training, offers a Red Seal plumbing qualification after a 3-year practical apprenticeship.
BluLever has designed a unique approach to apprenticeships that feature three months on campus and nine months of job shadowing and on-the-job training in the workplace every year. However, it starts with an intense 8-week induction leadership camp that equips candidates with the attitudes they need to succeed.
Harambee sources candidates for the programme through the sayouth.mobi platform, based on the attitudes and aptitudes most valued in successful plumbers. They are interviewed in one-on-one sessions with the BluLever team and attend a class-based session where problem-solving, teachability and hand skills are assessed before they are invited to the leadership camp.
Adam Collier, Co-Founder and Co-CEO at BluLever, says that they want candidates who will succeed as apprentices. “We want young people who are passionate about their work, interested in it, and willing to put three years into it.” Of the 509 applications received by Harambee, 47 youth were offered to join the programme, 45 signed acceptance letters, and 42 attended the leadership camp to begin their plumbing training.
Collier, who is recognised as one of Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans in 2021 for his response to the new and unique challenges of the past year, says the BluLever apprenticeship takes itself seriously. Combining the focus on candidates’ personal qualities while enhancing their life skills through work-readiness training, technology skills, entrepreneurial thinking, and understanding the ever-essential ‘soft skills’, makes all the difference to the candidates’ future success.
BluLever attributes much of the success of its programme to the support of Harambee and IOPSA, particularly the relationships IOPSA develops with willing employers in the sector. Success depends on all stakeholders' involvement, and BluLever has formed good relationships with over 80 companies at which trainees will be apprenticed. These range from small plumbing businesses to larger construction and maintenance companies. They have a vested interest in their apprentices because they contractually commit to them for the full three years, which includes paying their stipends for that period.
The ultimate goal is for the partnership to share programme learnings and successes with TVET colleges, with scale in mind, to develop more young people employers want to hire.
National Business Initiative introduces a new qualification
In 2019, IOPSA led a process to register the Plumbing Hand skills programme, which has created a new entry-level pathway for young people into the plumbing industry. The entry-level qualification offers a short, high-impact route to employment. It comprises 13 weeks in the classroom hosted by select TVET colleges identified by the National Business Initiative (NBI) in partnership with IOPSA. Harambee is responsible for recruiting, selecting, and matching trainees based on their likelihood of success, taking their attributes and interests into account. The host employer makes the final selection in many cases. Their plumbing hand works under the supervision of a qualified plumber to learn a vital role in offices, hotels, or any building with plumbing where small things often go wrong, like leaking toilets or dripping taps.
Alongside an intensive focus on plumbing skills, the curriculum includes an effective work readiness programme developed by Harambee, providing a range of modules such as behaviours and socialisation for work. In addition, the Allan Gray Makers programme introduces the opportunities and possibilities for business ownership and entrepreneurship.
This is followed by 6-9 months of structured workplace learning in a company under the supervision of a qualified, experienced plumber who acts as a mentor for the candidates, providing them with regular ongoing support and check-ins.
This much-needed intervention supplies the industry with the skills it needs while pathwaying young people into work as quickly as possible, especially those who don’t have the funding to study for three years on a stipend. It also increases their chances of progressing to a Red Seal plumbing qualification as they achieve an accredited qualification that places them on the road to apprenticeship, and they can work while studying.
“The Plumbing Hand programme provides a basis to shift the mindset of TVET colleges towards more employment-oriented programmes,” says Anthony Gewer, a programme manager at NBI. “The programme addresses the gap between theory and workplace application, laying the foundation for meaningful career pathways.”
To date, 66 TVET college students have enrolled in the plumbing programme, with 32 successfully completing it in 2020 and the remaining due to finish in November 2021. The current 86% pass rate shows a significant increase to what TVET programmes have previously achieved. The first cohort of Plumbing Hand graduates have been registered with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) as Technical Operator Practitioners and are now on their way to becoming qualified plumbers.
Not just a man’s job
A Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) strategy has been developed to assist and enable an element of IOPSA’s transformation strategy for the plumbing sector. The plan provides a framework to identify where and how additional support can be provided to individuals and employers to create an environment conducive to the participation of diverse groups, particularly women, who have previously struggled to access the sector.
Areas where the GESI work has made strides include a review of the plumbing curriculum with gender equity and social inclusion lens, enabling greater access to plumbing training and work opportunities, channels to support candidates and employers, and the development of social inclusion workshops to generate awareness on equity and social inclusion. A simple, yet very significant example of this is the awareness of the need for women's bathrooms and changing areas in the workplace, which has not always been available until now, therefore creating a feeling of exclusion for women on plumbing teams.
Both programmes have a particular focus on gender inclusion. Neither BluLever nor NBI battle to attract women to a career in plumbing, with female participation in both programmes being well over 50%.
Kaela Wilson, marketing director for Women in Plumbing, an organisation that advocates plumbing as a viable career for females, says some gender-specific traits give women an added advantage in the job.
“Women have an eye for detail and patience for challenging situations,” she says. “They are also less threatening when coming into your private property or business, and women are better at communicating with the customer in an understandable and comfortable manner.”
Feedback from trainers and employers on the current female candidates is that they perform at the same, or better, levels than their male colleagues.
In their own words
Mothusi, BluLever apprentice: “The person I was before the boot camp is very much different from the person that I am right now. Now I am able to confidently interact with people, I’m able to confidently voice my concerns and stand my ground.”
Zanele, BluLever apprentice: "What attracted me is that there are not so many women that are doing plumbing. We all had the stigma of saying that it's a man's job. So I want to be that role model that tells other women that you can do it. I want to go into water and sanitation because water is a scarce resource in South Africa."
Lulama, BluLever apprentice: "I believe that women have the drive and they have that energy and that motivation to keep on learning new things and to keep on upskilling themselves because we want to climb the ladder. Eventually, I want to upskill myself to be a master plumber."
IOPSA research conducted two years ago found that of the 125,000 people who identified themselves as plumbers, fewer than 20,000 were actually qualified. The earning potential for unqualified or informal plumbers is lower (roughly 50% less) than their qualified counterparts. Their work is also less secure and offers fewer opportunities for career advancement. The result of this is a significant bottleneck that constrains inclusive industry growth. This new industry-wide approach to plumber training not only gives young people a pathway into vocational work but will also bolster the number of qualified plumbers in South Africa, who will not only earn more and advance further but can start their own businesses, which unlocks employment opportunities for entry-level youth, catalyses employment and has a multiplier effect on the increase in earnings for plumbers and growth for the sector.
As you will clearly see IOPSA has been remarkably busy in the industry. We are extremely grateful to all our members, staff, stakeholders, funders and supporters for their assistance in achieving these goals, we could not do it without them. We acknowledge that there is much more that needs to be done and we will continue our best efforts to improve the industry and to make the trade of plumbing great again.
Herewith a list of our activities;
Technical Schools. (all at no charge)
Community. (All free of charge, CPD points were allocated to participants)
o An old age home in KZN
o A police station in KZN
o A childrens’ home in Western Cape
o A school in Southern Cape
o Numerous public toilets in informal settlements in Gauteng
o A care centre in Gauteng
o A community centre in Gauteng
o An old age home in Free State
o A frail care in North West
o Sanitation services at an informal settlement in Eastern Cape.
o 2 parks in Gauteng
o City clean up in Free State
o A river in Western Cape
o A Beach in KZN
Commercial. (for members only)
(this is over and above those member benefits listed above)
Persistent and increasingly high levels of youth unemployment in South
Africa present one of the greatest obstacles to achieving equitable and
inclusive economic growth. Many young people today find it impossible to
successfully transition to the labour market, thus joining a growing proportion of people in our society who remain marginalised, and trapped in a negative cycle of exclusion from economic participation.
One major obstacle to successful transition is the profound disconnect between the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system and the workplace.
While significant numbers of school leavers enter the TVET sector every year, there are few pathways from the system into workplaces. In fact, the TVET system does not necessarily increase employment prospects, which further contributes to sustained youth marginalisation.
The Green Skills TVET programme, implemented by the National Business Initiative (NBI) together with a range of partners, seeks to intervene at the interface between the supply and demand for skills. This approach unlocks opportunities for dual training (integrated institutional and workplace training) and employment in the industrial economy, while addressing the disconnect between TVET provision and skills demands in the workplace. The programme forms part of the broader Installation, Repair and Maintenance (IRM) Initiative.1
Click here to download the full report
DO MUNICIPALITIES HAVE THE CAPACITY TO ADEQUATELY CONTROL PLUMBING WORK CONDUCTED IN THEIR AREAS.
The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) is a NPO which represents the interests of approximately 1000 companies active in the plumbing industry in South Africa. Around 80% of our members are plumbing companies and 75% of those are SMME’s.
In 2018 IOPSA recognised that there was a lack of research in the industry and as such we embarked upon an ongoing research program to gain better insights into the industry. In the research to date there has emerged a common theme; the plumbing industry is under threat from non-compliance to legal requirements.
Download the full report here
The following is an article by Yolandi Esterhuizen, who is responsible for the interpretation and implementation of tax and labour law requirements for Sage HR & Payroll’s products in South Africa and Africa. It is not directly aimed at plumbers, but any small business.
“Developing a product or service that people need, want, and are willing to pay for takes skill, hard work, and of course, some luck. And in your first year of business, working on what you sell can be all-consuming. But there are other areas of your business that, if left unattended, can derail your hard work – tax compliance is among the most important.
By understanding your business’s tax responsibilities and putting the right systems in place to meet those requirements, you’ll avoid costly mistakes and frustration and, most crucially, improve your chances of running a successful business.
We’ve put together a guide to help you navigate the tax during your first year in business.
To register or not?
The type of business structure you choose will impact how you pay tax. The simplest is to run your business as a sole proprietorship, which comes with the following tax-related benefits:
Less paperwork – you are not required to legally register your business because a sole proprietorship is not a legal entity, i.e., there’s no separation between the business and the owner/proprietor. However, you will still be required to register with SARS, as an individual, for the relevant taxes.
Easier tax returns – your business’s taxable income is simply included in your personal tax return, though you will be required to make provisional tax payments (more on this in the next section).
Lower effective tax rate – the profits your business makes will be taxed at your individual marginal tax rate, whereas profits in a registered company are subject to corporate income tax (CIT) of 28% (27% from next year). Below a certain revenue threshold, you’ll pay less tax as a sole proprietor.
Of course, there are some good reasons to register your company: it adds an element of credibility to your business; it allows your business to access funding and creates a separate legal entity that protects your personal assets from creditors.
If you decide to register your business, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) has an easy-to-follow online registration process. Once registered, SARS will automatically generate an Income Tax number for your business that you’ll use as a reference when submitting your tax returns and payments.
Welcome to provisional tax
So that you aren’t lumped with one large tax bill every year, businesses are required to pay their annual income tax in three separate instalments, known as provisional tax, as per the below schedule:
First: six months from the start of your financial year
Second: at your financial year end
Third: six months after your financial year end
The first two payments are based on estimated taxable income because you are required to submit before the end of each period so you can’t know the exact amount. The third payment exists in case you underestimated your income and, as a result, paid too little tax.
Similarly, if you overestimated your income, the third submission may lead to a tax refund. The form that substantiates your calculations for each period – detailing your income and deductible expenditure – is called an IRP6. You will need to submit three of these forms in every tax year.
Within 12 months of your financial year end, you are also required to submit an ITR12 (if you’re running your business as a sole proprietor) or an ITR14 (if you’ve registered your business). In this form, you are required to declare your total income and deductible expenses for your financial year so that SARS can calculate whether you’ve paid the correct amount of tax, or if an additional payment or refund is due.
In calculating your taxable income for your provisional payments, you are permitted to deduct certain business-related expenses from your turnover. Here are some examples of the expenses you may be allowed to deduct from your revenue to reduce your taxable income and, by extension, the taxes you pay:
If you run your business from home, you’ll be able to deduct a portion of certain expenses when calculating your taxable income.
What you’re permitted to deduct is often nuanced so involving a tax practitioner to remain compliant is advisable.
What’s the deal with VAT?
You are only required to register for VAT once your business generates or is expected to generate taxable supplies in excess of R1 million over any rolling 12-month period. Once that threshold is crossed, you have 21 days to submit your VAT registration either via eFiling or by completing a VAT101 registration form and handing it in at a SARS branch. If your business has made more than R50,000 in the last 12 months but remains under the R1 million threshold, you may still register for VAT voluntarily – in some cases this makes sense.
Once you’re a registered VAT vendor, you’ll need to add 15% to invoices you send to your customers, making sure to collect (and not spend) those monies. Then, you are required to submit a VAT 201 form, accompanied by a payment to SARS for the VAT you’ve charged and collected on behalf of the government.
As a VAT vendor, you are entitled to offset the amount of VAT you owe to SARS (known as output tax) against your business-related expenses on which you were required to pay VAT (known as input tax). If the latter is in excess of the former, SARS will need to refund you the difference within 21 days of you submitting your VAT return.
The frequency of your VAT submissions and payments depends on the ‘taxable period’ your business qualifies for. As a general rule, businesses with less than R30 million in annual turnover will be required to submit every second month, while businesses with revenue above that threshold must submit monthly.
Manual VAT payments – via post and SARS branches – must be made no later than the 25th of each month, while electronic VAT payments can be made on the last day of the month.
How to handle PAYE, SDL, and UIF
You may need to hire people in your new business. As soon as you employ someone, you become responsible for certain deductions from that employee’s remuneration and/or contributions, which are subsequently paid to SARS.
These provisions, and the payment thereof, are handled in a single form. An EMP201 must be submitted on a monthly basis, no later than the 7th day of the following month, or the Friday before that day if the 7th falls on a weekend or public holiday declaring the total amounts due for PAYE, UIF, and SDL. A payment to SARS for that amount must be made within the same timeframe.
In addition, you’ll be required to submit an EMP501 twice a year. This form essentially reconciles the EMP201’s you’ve already submitted with the payments you’ve made, and the employee tax certificates (known as IRP5’s, the document your employees need for their own tax submissions) you’ve generated. Here’s a SARS guide to accessing the new features for Monthly Employer Declaration (EMP201) on eFiling.
Registering for PAYE, SDL, and UIF can be done simultaneously on the eFiling website.
One step at a time
We know this looks daunting. But registrations are once-off events, and many of the submissions discussed above can be simplified with the right software. Take small steps. Breathe. Check things off your to-do-list. You will get there.
If you need help, speak to a registered tax practitioner and/or a payroll specialist. There are many cost-effective, time-saving solutions that will give you the comfort of tax compliance, and the energy and motivation to tackle your next business challenge.”
WRITTEN BY Eamonn Ryan
Unqualified people doing plumbing work may come cheap and one will end up paying more in the long run. If you have money to throw away carry on!
But an unqualified person installing a geyser is irresponsible on the part of the homeowner as this can be a potential bomb. As the homeowner the law is clear, any installation done in ones home is the homeowner’s responsibility. Sure, one cannot do the installation but you must ensure, and this includes insurance company plumbers, that the installer is qualified. Qualified, being he/she has completed an apprenticeship/learnership and passed a trade test.
Confirmation of this can be done on the PIRB.CO.ZA website. No one may install a geyser if they are not registered with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB). They will supply a certificate of compliance (CoC) to you or to the insurer. Best you have a copy as well as the insurance company. A certificate from the local authority is a certificate of completion between plumber and municipality, not compliance as provided by PIRB which is between plumber and homeowner.
Here is an example of a recent installation and the comments from the manufacturer. NB it is the installation that is the problem not the geyser!
Gives an idea of how one can be placing the lives of one’s family at risk, never mind the fact that the insurer will not pay out.
Here are the comments from a manufacturer:
“Yes, I would not sleep in that house with that installation. It is potentially a bomb.
The following is very dangerous:
In this installation – should the thermostat fail, the geyser will boil, over-pressurise and ultimately burst. At least there is a thermal cut off fuse inside the thermostat that will cut electricity to the element should the tank start boiling.
If the pressure reducing valve fails, the geyser’s safety valve would also not be able to de-pressurise through the safety valve as it is blocked by the shut off valve.
The illegal shut off valve is also restricting the Cobra Masterflo 2 valve from relieving excess pressure from the tank. As the tank heats the water inside it expands and the valve drips out up to 1 litre per day to make sure the geyser stays within operational pressure.
This installation is extremely dangerous and entirely to blame on the very poor installation. The safety aspects is completely bypassed.
Have a look at this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbreKn4PoAc
In this clip both the safety valve was blanked off, as is the case here and they bypassed the thermal fuse. Luckily the thermal fuse in SA geysers will prevent boiling. “
JUST REMEMBER GOEDKOOP IS DEURKOOP – ESPECIALLY IF YOUR FAMILY IS PART OF CHEAP!!!!!!!!
Unemployment is a critical issue for South Africa as a developing country, with an unemployment rate projected at 36.495% at the end of December 2021 and the current youth unemployment rate of 55.75% . The lack of skilled artisans is a major barrier to job creation and economic growth hence the need to facilitate the training and upskilling of youth in artisanal trades in order to encourage job creation and economic growth locally rather than looking outside of the country for the correct skillset.
IOPSA is involved in a multitude of private and public plumbing training projects such as Appenticeships, Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning, Centres of Specialisation and Installation, repair an maintenance to name a few.
This report offers an overview of the findings of the analysis obtained from the tracer study of the Dual System Pilot Project (DSPP) as well as the COS (Centres of Specialisation) apprenticeship programmes. The respondents within this tracer are as follows: Of the 141
DSPP respondents, 79,4% are undertaking their training to become electricians whilst 19,2% are undertaking training to become plumbers. In COS, there was a more even distribution across various trades; the majority of the respondents were spread across respondents training to become electricians, Carpenters/Joiners and Mechanical Fitters. The tracer study found that within this respondent group the DSPP programme respondents were typically older (between 26 and 30 years of age). had higher qualifications (almost half have N5‐6) and were more evenly balanced in terms of gender than the COS respondents.
The report also found that the expectations of the COS respondents were focused on both the acquisition of knowledge and skills and accessing employment, whilst DSPP respondents
– possibly because they are older and have higher qualifications – were primarily focused on accessing employment. These varied expectations may explain their views on the programme and the extent to which their expectations have been met.
A concern that emerged, with respect to the selection of participants, is that whilst almost all respondents were made aware of the opportunity through the college the selection processes appear to have varied between the DSPP and COS programme: while 158 COS respondents said they were interviewed by the employer before being selected to the programme and only 11 of the DSPP respondents said they were interviewed by the employer before being selected for the programme.
Click here to download the formal notice
The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) and the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) conducts the Plumbing National Survey annually.
The survey is sent out digitally through the main IOPSA and PIRB communication channels including emails, social media, the IOPSA website and Plumbing Africa online. The aim of the analysis is as follows: (i) to understand IOPSA’s market and the plumbing industry better, (ii) to track progress and assess whether there have been any significant changes from the previous survey, and (iii) to get guidance for future strategic direction. This analysis, reported and evaluated by Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS)1 is an initial review of the responses and some preliminary findings from the Plumbing National Survey 2020.
According to Statistics South Africa (StatsSA, 2019), there are approximately 126 000 self-identify as plumbers and apprentices operating in South Africa of these it is estimated that 10 000 – 15 000 are Qualified Plumbers. In total, 1024 respondents completed the Plumbing National Survey 2020 accounting for 0,8% of all plumbers and apprentices in the country or an estimated 6-8% of Qualified Plumbers. Compared to the previous survey, the 2020 analysis indicates that participation in the survey increased by an additional 85 respondents from 2019.
Click here to view the full report
IOPSA and EmpowerBEE are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement to partner on all Transformation and BBBEE matters. EmpowerBEE will assist IOPSA in managing its own internal BBBEE scorecard and at the same time will provide free training to members on all things BBBEE related. IOPSA members will have access to EmpowerBEE’s services at preferential rates.
According to Brendan Reynolds, Executive Director of IOPSA “IOPSA is fully committed to the ideals of Transformation under the guidance of our Transformation Committee. This agreement is important both for IOPSA and for our members. BBBEE is a reality in South Africa and the fact is that we don’t have good knowledge and experience in the field. Partnering with EmpowerBEE fills an important gap both for IOPSA and our members.”
We asked Morosha Govender the Verification Manager at EmpowerBEE a few questions regarding the partnership;
Why is transformation important for SA?
Why did you choose to partner with IOPSA?
How can Empowerbee/BBBEE compliance benefit IOPSA members?
Without BBBEE compliance:
BBBEE compliance is not a tickbox exercise, applied strategically it can contribute to alleviating some of the ills faced by South Africans today
IOPSA members should keep their ears open for upcoming BBBEE training and other initiatives that will benefit them.
* Please note that all articles are dated and content was valid at the time of publication.
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