Filling Indias skill gap
In a country like India, with a long history and practice in the use of labour-intensive site-mixed concrete, training and education in the sphere of ready-mixed concrete (RMC) assumes importance. RMC industry in India, which is still in its infancy, needs a large number of trained personnel for managing the production, delivery and placing of ready-mixed concrete. Many Ready Mixed Concrete Manufacturers´ Association (RMCMA) member companies have developed in-house capabilities of training their own technician-level personnel. However, there are many technicians from non-member companies, who are in need of proper training.
Besides the technician-level personnel, technical training in concrete technology is equally important. It is being realised that although concrete is the fruit of simple techniques, but it is a very complex science. Concrete technology is being taught in various engineering colleges and polytechnics all over India, yet ready-mixed concrete industry-centric training is not provided.
Considering the above, RMCMA decided to initially concentrate on training in concrete technology by entering into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), USA, for offering training a unique certification course in India which is coined as ´Concrete Technologists - India´ (CTI).
The CTI programme is a customised course based on the original course meant for concrete technologists in the USA and offered there for Level-II and III programmes. While adapting the NRMCA course in India, one of the major additions was essential that of including references to Indian specifications and standards alongside American ASTM or ACI specifications. This required painstakingly going through the entire course document of more than 400 pages and reading and modifying it for over 20 different topics. RMCMA performed this herculean task almost entirely on its own.
The details in 20 chapters have been edited to suit the requirements of RMC industry professionals in India, particularly for those involved in designing, specifying, producing, handling and testing batch-plant concrete. The outcome is a customised programme relevant to Indian conditions, covering a range of topics from selecting raw materials for concrete, proportioning them for a particular duty and testing the resulting concrete to confirm its fresh and hardened properties. To ensure focused learning, the number of seats in the CTI programmes rarely exceeds 25. Course announcements are made well in advance so that working engineers can plan their professional commitments before taking part in the course. Participants with different profiles benefit from the programme. These include technical and sales personnel from RMC plants, technical-support personnel from contractors/builders/project owners, technical-support personnel from structural consultants/architects, project management consultants. In terms of qualifications, the participants need to have Degree/diploma in civil engineering. Science graduates with minimum experience of three years in RMC operations/concrete lab can also participate.
The 4-day CTI course is followed by an examination on the fifth day. The setting up of examination question paper and the evaluation of candidates are done by NRMCA. Successful participants receive a certificate from NRMCA. The sponsoring organisations can boast of having certified and trained concrete technologists.
CTI programme in your city
As the competitive environment in the ready-mixed is growing, companies are realising that the skills and knowledge of their employees would be critical for growth. RMCMA expects that the response to the CTI programme will grow in future. RMCMA plans to organise this flagship programme at all the major concrete producing centres in India.
Mumbai: The First Pilot CTI Programme
The First Pilot CTI Programme, conducted in Mumbai in June 2013, was meant for training the trainers. Considering the intricacies of NRMCA, USA training module, RMCMA management decided to have experts from NRMCA visit India and conduct the pilot training programme.
Two renowned experts, Dr Colin Lobo and Dr. Karthik Obla - both from NRMCA - played the role of master resource persons for the Mumbai programme, which saw enthusiastic participation from senior officers from several member companies. Almost all the big concrete manufacturing companies sent their senior functionaries for the unique opportunity to undergo CTI programmes. Not just from Mumbai, professionals from other cities also participated.
The participants got a unique opportunity to interact with experts from USA and receive guidance for solving RMC specific challenges.
Among the participants were representative from ACC, Lafarge, UltraTech, RMC India, Godrej, RDC, IJM and ICOMAT.
India´s IT capital Bengaluru is home to a large number of big and small construction projects in the country. A select group of 20 industry professionals attended the course in Bangalore in June 2014.
The faculty this time was from within India, more particularly from within RMCMA and its member companies. The participation from the industry for this programme was overwhelming. The participants were from the RMC plants, consultants, builders and from admixtures companies. The organisers derived a sense of satisfaction by doing their bit towards encouraging quality construction.
As this course gains in popularity, RMCMA plans to take the CTI course to other regions and cities in India.
CTI Mumbai (Lonavala)
For the fourth batch of CTI Training and Certification programme conducted during June 20-24, 2015 at L&T´s Leadership Development Centre, Lonavala. Participants came from various parts of the country with a view to achieving their individual and company objectives. A young entrepreneur from Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu joined the course because he wanted to expand his existing precast blocks business by adding a RMC unit to his exiting setup. The course gave him an opportunity to understand the various technical nuances of the RMC making.
On the other hand, the experienced participant from Reliance Industries Limited, Jamanagar joined CTI to refresh his knowledge by understanding the various changes in the IS specifications related to RMC. The teams of engineers from UltraTech, ACC, RDC Concrete and RMC Readymix (India) engrossed themselves in comparing the various ASTM provisions with those of the IS codes and understanding the principles of concrete mix proportioning. Attending this batch of CTI were Engineers from Lafarge, Godrej and Skyway Concrete who enjoyed every bit of the discussions the faculty had with the participants.
Vijay Kulkarni of RMCMA, Anuj Maheshwari of Reliance Industries Ltd and Sadanand Govilka of RMC Readymix (India) acted as faculty. The senior and experienced engineer Govilkar from JMC projects India represented an RMC user´s point of view. He appreciated the technical details covered in the twenty topics that form the CTI training and certification course. The 4-day residential programme was concluded with a two-hour examination on the fifth day. The participants enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Lonavala hills with the monsoon cloud making the picturesque place even more so.
CTI in Sri Lanka
Following the programme´s success in India, RMCMA is now poised to fulfill such training needs of select neighboring countries. Members of the Lanka Ready Mixed Concrete Association (LRCA) have enrolled for the CTI course in Colombo. The RMCMA thanks UltraTech Cement Lanka (P) Limited and LRCA for creating this opportunity.
AN Singh, RMCMA, India