Although Ohorongo Cement goes to some length to point out that their Brickmaking Academy is not a training institution and does not issue certificates of competence, these regional workshops are having an impact far beyond what the cement maker imagined.
The Brickmaking Academy training session are conducted in partnership with hardware retailer Build It, with the undertaking that all bricks produced by the new brickmakers and that conform to general industry standards, will be procured and sold by the building retailer.
The widespread need for this type of practical, hands-on training was demonstrated at the most recent academy held in Outapi when two employees of the Omusati Education Directorate enlisted for the day-long workshop.
Both the Chief Planner, Mr Auwa Matheus and the Chief Works Inspector of education, Mr Theophilus Shigweda, joined the group of fourteen trainees to learn to make bricks on a small scale for use in small projects in the region's schools. It is also their intention to teach other employees of the Ministry of Education how to manufacture their own, quality bricks.
"With this knowledge, the Omusati Education Directorate will now have its own trained brickmakers who will be able to manufacture bricks, especially for small projects which requires only a few bricks. I believe we will be able to save costs and time by doing this in-house," said Shigwedha.
Addressing the trainees, the Okalongo Councillor, Hon Laurentius Iipinge said "The knowledge imparted here today is very important because now you will be able to produce quality products which will add value to local capital projects." Trainees are selected through liaison with the various Regional Governors' offices.
All trainees received a brickmaking manual for further reference and a certificate of attendance. Beyond the training, an Ohorongo and Build It technical team provide ongoing technical assistance and advice to make the best quality bricks.
"I acknowledge the importance of this training and the reduction it will play in the unemployment rate within the region. The Ohorongo Build it Brickmaking Academy gave loads of knowledge to our clients which I believe they will pass on to others. I therefore would like to thank Ohorongo Cement for their continuous support to the Build it Group" said Emily Kandjaba, the owner of the Build It store in Outapi.