Course for masonry instructors

Curso de Instructores en Nicaragua The first course for masonry instructors in which colleagues from Nicaragua, Ecuador and Switzerland participated, was held in Diriamba, Nicaragua in August. During the past few years Grupo Sofonias has been implementing a program for masonry apprenticeships in some of their social housing projects in Nicaragua and Ecuador. The apprentices have been developing their skills by actually building the houses and have been evaluated for the finished product as well as in specific courses designed and implemented by Bernardo Rhyner from SofoSuiza. From this experience came the idea to standardize the courses and the practical instruction of masonry apprentices in order to obtain the same or similar quality in different countries.

With that aim in mind, the first course for masonry instructors occurred.

The course was divided in two parts: in the first part the second year apprentices of the Diriamba housing project held a masonry course at EcoMateriales, in the second part we held work sessions at the offices of SofoNic.

Each of the 12 apprentices built up a wall, which they plastered and finished. Afterwards they learned how to lay floor tiles as well as ceramic tiles on the walls, an exercise that was a new experience as the houses they build don't have this type of finishing. Each completed activity was evaluated by the instruction team, using an evaluation form designed specifically for this purpose. It was interesting to see how the apprentices defended their work and fought for millimeters….points of evaluation included exactness and visual appearance of the walls, and subsequent , the proper use of tools, organization and tidiness of the work area, work technique and last, but not least, the overall impression of the finished work.


During the work sessions in the office countless discussions developed which provided the base needed to carry on the task. The amount of practical courses and their content for the two year apprenticeship were defined, coming to the conclusion that four courses and two evaluations are needed. The objectives of each course where formulated, based upon the necessity of the apprentices to learn and practice new techniques and other technologies, and the activities and budget where defined for each course. The practical curriculum was designed to divide the 3072 hours of practical work into the different activities and tasks a mason has to carry out during the construction of a house. The instructors worked on optimizing the evaluation sheet and defining terms that can be used in any Latin American country. We now have an instrument that permits us to "speak" the same language when evaluating the apprentices!

  curso_001The different experiences of the participants, along with the work developed, permitted us to obtain concrete results in a short time. As well, the interchange of information and experiences of different projects and countries was important and enriched the work.

At the end of the day, we can be satisfied to count with a tool that permits us to elevate the quality of practical training for the apprentices as well as be assured that we have made the first step to change the quality of construction in our countries. From now on we will not hesitate to go even further.

You are here: Home Past editions Edition 22 - October 2006 Course for masonry instructors


Diego Coloma
Diego Coloma MachadoEcuadorean
Mechanic technician
Spanish, english
Installation, training and setup of workshops: MicroConcrete Roofing tiles, Puzzolanic cement, concrete precasts.


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