German plasterboard manufacturer trains PH construction workers – Manila Bulletin


Knauf Gypsum Philippines, a local unit of Germany’s leading manufacturer of plasterboard and joint compounds, has opened a training center to address the lack of more skilled construction workers in the country.

Known as “Knauf Academy,” the facility is meant to fill the void when it comes to the demand for more skilled workers in the construction industry in the Philippines. This also corresponds to the expansion of the company in the local market.

Mark Sergio, Managing Director of Knauf Philippines, said the opening of the academy is an important milestone for Knauf in the Philippines, being the first plasterboard training center in the country.

“The objective of the training center is twofold: we want to ensure that we can improve the capacity, the quality of manufacture and the skills of Filipino installers. We also want to make sure that through this we are able to offer the best customer experience to our architects, developers and contractor-partners,” Sergio emphasized.

In addition, he said the other part of the goal is to be able to help improve the employability of Filipino skilled workers in the construction industry, especially in the installation of plasterboard. “Most of our installers in the Philippines actually learned the trade on the job, and then went on to become foremen themselves and eventually own their own small subcontracting businesses. We want to make sure that we also improve their livelihoods,” added Sergio.

For his part, Alexander Schmidt, Acting Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy in the Philippines, was proud that as a German company, Knauf, in cooperation with the German Investment and Development Corporation or DEG (Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft) which started this initiative will further promote good economic relations between Germany and the Philippines.

The Knauf Academy, which can accommodate a maximum of 18 participants, occupies two floors with three main areas: a hall on the second floor with a classroom where trainees learn the theoretical side of gypsum and other standard installation techniques drywall and ceilings; the reception and exhibition area on the first floor, complete with a small snack bar where trainees can relax during breaks; and finally the workshop area, also located on the first floor, where trainees can apply what they have learned in theory in real use through the various mock drywall installations and where their abilities will be assessed.

The academy’s training modules will help equip learners with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills of standard installation of drywall and ceilings. The 16-hour session will instill the fundamental knowledge and practical skills of interior wall and ceiling system installations to help secure employment and hopefully enhance the skills of Filipinos to make them more attractive targets among the players in the construction industry.

Module 1 consists of an introduction to plasterboard where trainees will learn about its history, production process, advantages, different types of plasterboard, handling and storage, repair and cutting.

Modules 2 and 3, meanwhile, involve teaching trainees how to install a standard concealed wall and ceiling system, where they are introduced to drywall, stud layout, installation components and tools. standard bulkhead and other procedures. This is also the phase where trainees are introduced to hands-on training that involves actual instruction and application of what they have learned.

Finally, Module 4 covers taping and joining, types of joining products used and level of finish, do’s and don’ts of joining, application procedures, deviations and joint checking, then hands-on training by actual application.

Upon completion of training, trainees should already be oriented with basic safety protocols, determine the different types of gypsum board and their appropriate applications, become familiar with the components of a standard drywall and ceiling system, understand drywall and ceiling installation methodology, detail connections and techniques, learn the quick and easy way to repair gypsum board, and prevent damage and waste through proper handling and storage of gypsum board plaster.

Sergio said they ensured that the installation itself and the modules not only adhered to Knauf standards, but also considered the Filipino context. “We also need to understand how our installers learn, and we can modify the modules based on that, with an emphasis on hands-on training,” he said.

Each course offering can also be expanded to meet innovative new products and systems from Knauf in the Philippines, Sergio added.

The Knauf Academy is open to aspiring drywall and ceiling installers who wish to further their knowledge of plasterboard installation, architects, engineers, interior designers, students and other construction industry partners.

In the Philippines, Knauf manufactures gypsum board and jointing compounds. It is also a fast growing gypsum wallboard brand used in various residential, commercial and industrial projects nationwide. Knauf products include walls, ceilings, jointing and finishing compounds, acoustic panels and ceiling tiles, acoustic suspension systems, including metal systems.

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