Nick du Plessis

Nick du PlessisTraining and Development by Nick du Plessis is an informative column that helps readers to understand the sometimes complex workings of the SETAs. As he has an enduring commitment to the electrical industry and a genuine desire for quality, relevant training, Nick is an active member on various industry committees, panels and boards and is well-informed on any changes in legislation that will affect the training and/or status of electricians; information he gladly passes onto Sparks’ readers. He also gives electricians advice on how they can improve their qualifications. Some of his columns are inspirational and are intended to motivate electricians – young and old – to be the best they possibly can be.

January 2016

How much do you care about customer service? This is the question asked by Nick du Plessis in his first column of 2016 where he reminds us of an old but relevant saying: “Your customer doesn’t care how much you care until they know how much you care”. Read more...


February 2016

Every year, Nick du Plessis has to turn aspiring electricians away because they don’t have the right subjects – and this is due to a lack of guidance, he says. The criteria for entry into the new electrical qualifications state that mathematics and science are required subjects – so it is important to guide youngsters as young as 13 to choose their subjects wisely. Read more...


March 2016

Nick du Plessis’ March column on training and development is a must read for all young electricians – although some more experienced electricians could also learn something about inspecting and testing electrical installations. Read more...


April 2016

Nick du Plessis’ April column on training and development is directed at young electricians who are considering working on motor control centres. He gives some background and spells out the requirements to work on MCCs. Read more...


May 2016

In May’s column, Nick’s focus is on helping young electricians who are considering applying to write an electrical trade test and encourages them to first be evaluated in order to ascertain their readiness for this big step. Read more...


June 2016

In 2015, Nick du Plessis mentored Jeandré van der Watt, the young South African electrical skills contestant who went to São Paulo to compete at the 2015 WorldSkills competition – and, although Jeandré didn’t win a medal, Nick said that he represented South Africa with distinction. In his June column, Nick reminds readers that the next WorldSkills will be held in Abu Dhabi in 2017, explains what WorldSkills is and how to enter the 2017 competition. Read more...


July 2016

In July, Nick du Plessis says it’s important to determine the impact of the possible recession on learning and development, identify key positions and ensure that you train and maintain these key staff members – and when the upturn begins, you will be ready to reap the rewards. Read more...


August 2016

In August, Nick du Plessis says he has been receiving many queries from foreigner electricians who have come to South Africa to look for work and who wish to make application with the Department of Labour to become registered persons. With this in mind, he outlines the process to follow. Read more...


September 2016

In his September column, Nick du Plessis talks about the time-honoured principles of integrity, honesty and honour and quotes C S Lewis: “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching”. He says that when you act with integrity, you will make more money in business; and it comes with a warm, fuzzy feeling … Knowing that people trust and believe you makes you feel better about yourself. Read more...


November 2016

Nick du Plessis’ column in November outlines the process of accreditation for training centres – and, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Read more...


December 2016

Nick du Plessis’ column in December discusses the need for a succession plan. He says succession planning is seldom an urgent consideration because most of us think that we will be superman forever. Just think about how quickly this year has passed. Read more...


January 2017

In his January column, Nick du Plessis talks about unscrupulous trainers and how youngsters are duped into believing they’re getting apprenticeship training when, in actual fact, they’ve wasted time and money. Read more...


February 2017

Nick du Plessis explains that this option was put forward by The South African Flameproof Association to the Department of Labour as a result of the petro-chemical industry experiencing a decline in the available number of Master Installation Electricians (MIE) over the past number of years and he clarifies the process for the benefit of Sparks Electrical News readers.  Read more...


March 2017

Nick du Plessis highlights the dangers of procrastination and suggests that since we are comfortably settled into the New Year we start planning and doing, rather than thinking about what we might do. Now is the time to get that elusive qualification or improve our knowledge and skills. There is always someone able to step into our job … we must remain at the front of that pack. Read more...


April 2017

Every work environment has its own physical and cultural attributes and Nick du Plessis reminds us of the value of conducting an aptitude test to identify an individual’s interests, abilities and personality characteristics in order to determine whether or not he or she is a good fit for a specific job and for a particular work place. Conducting an aptitude test on a prospective candidate for a job, and determining his or her suitability for the post increases the likelihood of job satisfaction for the candidate; and job satisfaction is more likely to lead to good performance. Read more...


May 2017

In his column this month Nick du Plessis encourages us to remember that while it is tempting during a recession, or tough economic period, to cut our training and development budgets or scrap them altogether, it is worth bearing in mind that the manner in which we navigate through tough times will determine whether our companies sink or survive when times get better, as they will. He proposes that it makes more sense to ensure that our businesses are well-positioned to take up market share when the economy starts to recover. Read more...


June  2017

Nick Du Plessis’ training and development column looks at the inspection and testing of electrical installations. He reminds electricians that it is they and not the registered person or the person with the wireman’s licence who must always test and inspect an installation prior to working on it in order to ensure that the installation is dead. Read more...


July  2017

In his column, Nick du Plessis looks at the levels of skill of electrical learners in South Africa. As the National Expert for Electrical Installations for WSSA, he is familiar with local levels of competence and is comfortable that our learners are competitive against international standards. As he says, we do have learners with potential and talent: what they need is support and guidance.  Read more...


September 2017

In his training and development column, Nick Du Plessis reminds employers of the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1985 which outlines the general duties of employers to their employees. Nick stresses the obligation employers have to ensure employees are provided with training, information, instruction and proper supervision, with specific reference to using tools correctly. Read more...


October 2017

The transfer of skills from one generation to the next is an age-old and vital business tradition. It is, however, not as easy to mentor or coach a young apprentice as it sounds. In his column, Nick du Plessis has compiled a step by step process that will assist both the coach and the learner to get the best out of a mentorship programme. Read more...

Contact Sparks Electrical News

Title: Editor
Name: Gregg Cocking
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Carin Hannay
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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