The construction and building industry should use slumps to train staff to gain a competitive edge when work volumes increase again, John Roxburgh, lecturer at The Concrete Institute’s School of Concrete Technology (SCT), has urged.

Roxburgh says the volatility of the South African construction industry is virtually unmatched with slumps and booms always the norm. “Right now, the industry is decidedly struggling with work scarce and many experienced employees being retrenched to make ends meet. The School of Concrete Technology firmly believes that employers should first consider using the current lean order book times to upskill their staff in concrete technology.

“Concrete work on site is usually a major cost component in building contracts.  With trained staff, competent in all relevant aspects of concrete practice, contracts could be carried out more economically and quickly with fewer costly site errors and necessity for repairs and damage to reputations. There is no doubt that trained staff makes construction companies more competitive,” Roxburgh states.

He says small builders and emerging contractors should also note that without substantial concrete technology competency there is very little chance of their companies performing to specifications and establishing a sound business foundation. “Spending money now on training by the School of Concrete Technology – South Africa’s oldest and internationally respected facility for education in concrete – is an investment in the future of any company.”

Roxburgh adds: “The slump in the construction industry should not deter those seeking a career in concrete technology as there are still many opportunities available. South Africa urgently requires competent concrete practitioners and sales specialists in admixtures, construction chemicals, ready mix concrete, precast concrete, concrete repairs, cement production, aggregate production, testing laboratories and mining sector, to name just a few potential careers.

“The SCT has structured a progression of course levels that will allow prospective students to join at a level that matches personal competency. There can be no short cuts to becoming a good concrete technology practitioner and the School has all the educational requirements to help trainees meet their specific goals.

The SCT 2019 education programme – available from the end of September – offers 16 different courses, all developed to meet the various needs of the concrete and concrete related industries.

The prestigious Advanced Concrete Technology diploma course (SCT50), will be presented in the first half of 2019. This diploma course is globally recognised as the leading qualification in concrete technology and examined by the UK-based Institute of Concrete Technology (ICT). Roxburgh urges those with the required experience to tackle this career-boosting course to consider registration as soon as possible.

For more details about qualification for this course as well as all the other 2019 courses planned in Midrand, Cape Town and Durban by the School of Concrete Technology next year, visit