As part of Saab Grintek Defence’s technical learnership programme, it is sending learners to Solve Direct Electronics (SDE) in Highveld Technopark, Centurion, to train them on IPC standards and ESD requirements.
Solve Direct was founded in 2014 as a 100% black-owned (40% black women) business by 15-year Saab Grintek Defence veteran Neil Johnson. It trained an initial group of six unemployed individuals in July 2015 and has trained a total of 67 individuals to date. Currently 12 students are being put through their paces.
Candidates are selected through a rigorous process, with the basic requirement being a technical Matric certificate. The programme has proven highly successful, with the majority of those who have gone through it currently employed by Saab Grintek or other companies. The programme equips the learners with the necessary work life skills including work readiness, business fundamentals, IPC standards, basics of electronics, harnesses and looms training, and extensive in-service training at Saab Grintek.
Saab Grintek is fully and solely responsible for the recruitment and selection process of these individuals, after which they are enrolled with Solve Direct for a 4-week programme covering the following courses:
• IPC Introduction to Electronics – one hour.
• IPC DVD 64C Component Identification – one day.
• IPC ESD DVD 54 C (Electrostatic Discharge in the workplace) – two hours.
• IPC 610 (Theoretical training in the acceptance of electronic assemblies) – four days.
• IPC JSTD 001 (Practical training in the requirements for soldered electrical assemblies) – five days.
• IPC WHMA 620 (Theoretical training in the requirements and acceptance for cable and wire harness assemblies) – four days.
• IPC A 600 (Acceptability of printed boards) – three days.
• IPC RMR 7711/7721 (Practical training in rework, modification and repair of electronic assemblies) – five days.
Solve Direct uses online examinations via the IPC Certification Portal to certify all students. Practical evaluation is done by making use of visual aids like microscopes, tools and equipment to measure each individual’s workmanship capabilities. “It is of paramount importance that the learners pass the online examinations as well as the practical exam with a minimum 70% pass mark,” explains the company’s Fatima Johnson. These results are kept as objective evidence of the learner’s proficiency and are available for review.
“Solve Direct Electronics is extremely passionate and proud to be part of this wonderful opportunity to train the unemployed individuals in South Africa,” she continues, “and to ultimately ensure that we train these individuals to the best of our ability, equipping them with fully employable skills to start a life for themselves and to start making a difference in the economy of the South African workforce.”
In the words of one of the learners themselves: “This learnership has completely changed my life and equipped me with the necessary skills that I have developed in just over a month. I am now able to work in different departments/ environments where I can apply these skills and knowledge, from being an operator to a technician.
“I have immediate, fully employable skills now in a short space of time, with full certification. I previously knew nothing about soldering and now I have been taught the skills and how to apply them in the workplace. The course is very informative and I am overwhelmed by the knowledge and skills that I have learned.”