Several up-and-coming contractors have been equipped with the required skills to make it in the construction industry and were elated to receive certificates recently.The 14 contractors completed the Contractor Development Training Programme presented by the Observatory-based Development Action Group (DAG) in partnership with developers Calgro M3.A DAG statement says the programme seeks to create an opportunity for emerging contractors to build capacity, capability and sustainability to play a meaningful role in infrastructure development. It also promotes empowerment to redress historical imbalances, the statement says.The “eye-opening” training workshop was held in Belhar and covered a variety of areas – compliance to construction industry bodies; business management and cash flow; procurement and tendering for projects; pricing and scheduling of works; safety, health, environment and quality management, as well as personal development.According to DAG, the Cape Town property development sector is dominated by a handful of large construction companies with little or no opportunities for the growth of emerging contractors.“Therefore, the construction sector remains largely untransformed,” the organisation asserts. DAG points out that there are contractor capacity development programmes led by the public sector but few understand the capacity gaps for emerging contractors or how best to engage with large private property developers, investors and construction companies.“Having engaged with the industry over the last five years and its strong grassroots-level network of development and construction stakeholders, DAG is well placed to host a custom-designed training programme,” the statement reads.Thirty-two-year-old Christelene Miller from Grassy Park was one of the trainees. She is the owner and founder of the Miller Group Construction Company, a four-year-old small family-run business. The business started working in partnership with Calgro M3 in January and Miller says it has been growing ever since. She addressed the audience at the contractor awards ceremony at the Jubilee Community Church in Observatory on Thursday 22 November.She recalled that a few months ago Calgro M3 announced plans to introduce a training opportunity to all their subcontractors and asked that they each send in a motivational letter detailing why they need further training. “When I heard this I was over the moon,” said Miller. She promptly wrote a motivation letter and sent it off. She was accepted and her journey began. “We enjoyed each other’s company for six weeks every Saturday, and no-one skipped a class if they could help it. We learned, laughed, wracked our brains and went home with homework every week. The amount of pride that each contractor brought to the table was encouraging,” stated Miller.She said the training helped expose them to higher grade quantity surveying. “The information imparted to us is truly invaluable and each and every one of us has gained immensely!” She said going into the training programme, they did not know what to expect, but at the end of the course, they were in a better position to secure more work through tendering and presenting their companies better. “Let me tell you, it’s not every day that you get random strangers that take the time and effort to invest themselves in you and your company,” she said. Working in an industry previously dominated by men is challenging but rewarding, she said. “Creating a home that is going to last for generations to come really makes me proud. Long after I’m gone that home will still stand. And contrary to belief, men in this industry respect woman if they know what they’re talking about. It’s my priority to know my work not just by instruction but by execution as well,” said Miller.DAG acting chairperson, Wilhelmina Trout, handed over the certificates and congratulated the contractors, thanking Calgro M3 and other industry players for supporting the “amazing” work.