Plumbing Africa August 2018 - Page 36

BUSINESS AND TRAINING 34 Students in class. Dedicated plumbing development centre in Johannesburg The Umphakathi Development and Training Centre recently relocated to Bezuidenhout Valley, and Plumbing Africa paid it a visit. By Cherry Ellis “I will never go hungry, I have a skill; once it’s learned it can’t be taken away. I am a plumber, I am in demand. Water is the source of life; proper sanitation is the preservation of life and mankind.” This is the philosophy on which the Umphakathi Development and Training Centre was built. Umphakathi means ‘community’ in Zulu. The company was founded by Gerard Ohlson de Fine, a South African who matriculated from John Orr Technical High in 1978 with his chosen trade of plumbing and sheet metal. August 2018 Volume 24 I Number 6 He apprenticed at Alan Stiles Plumbing in Cape Town, and then returned to Johannesburg and worked for FA Sharman Plumbing and Heating Engineers. In 1987, he joined SM Goldstein and then Plumbgold, working his way up from site plumber to QS, then contracts manager and finally to a director at Group 5. At the end of 1999, De Fine relocated to London in the UK to run a family business. “I returned to South Africa in 2007. I was shocked to see the state of the plumbing industry, as many