Re-industrialisation has been identified as one of the key initiatives with the potential to unlock South Africa’s economic growth potential, which will, in turn, demand technical skills such as those offered by artisans.
However, Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba warned on Tuesday that South Africa does not produce a sufficient number of artisan skills on a yearly basis, when compared with the skills produced by universities, universities of technology and colleges.
He highlighted that chief among the reasons for this is that South Africans, generally, associate good jobs with university qualifications, while skills produced by technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges are often regarded as inferior.
“Generally, as South Africans, we tend to place too great an emphasis on sending children to universities to improve their chances of getting employed, notwithstanding the fact that every year thousands of university graduates struggle to find employment. We need to start taking TVET colleges more seriously,” he averred.
Nyatsumba further noted that artisan skills produced by TVET colleges are often in demand, but that South Africa isn’t producing enough skilled artisans.
“Therefore, we need to start seeing TVET colleges as significant contributors of skills required by the economy,” he said.
It was for this reason, besides others, that Seifsa introduced the Seifsa Awards for Excellence in 2015 to celebrate companies that have embarked on the continuous journey of developing a pool of artisans that South Africa can count on.
Nyatsumba said Seifsa will, this year, again present the ‘Decade of the Artisan Award’ to a company that trained the highest number of artisans in 2017, one of seven awards categories of the Seifsa Awards for Excellence.
The other categories include the Environment Stewardship of the Year Award, which will be awarded to an organisation that has successfully implemented greening initiatives in its day-to-day business operations in 2017; the Most Innovative Company of the Year, which will be awarded to a company that showed the best level of innovation in research and development or production in 2017; and the Most Transformed Company of the Year Award, which will be received by a company that showed the highest transformation level in the composition of its board of directors, executive management and managerial team in 2017.
“[The Most Transformed Company of the Year Award category pits companies employing fewer than 100 people against those of similar size, and companies employing more than 100 companies against others of a similar size,” Nyatsumba explained.
Also included in the award categories are the Best Corporate Social Investment Award, which will be presented to a company whose corporate social investment programmes in 2017 had a major impact on the lives of its beneficiaries; the Customer Service Award, which will be presented to a company rated the highest in customer service performance in 2017; and the Health and Safety Award of the Year, which will be awarded to a company with the best legal compliance record in health and safety or the lowest lost-time injury frequency rate in 2017.
Nyatsumba encouraged manufacturers operating in the metals and engineering sector to submit their entries for the seven categories before Friday, April 20.
Seifsa awards entrants, who can enter by visiting the Seifsa Awards website, will be assessed on their performance in the period January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2017.
The awards are open to all companies in the metals and engineering sector, and not only those that are members of associations affiliated to Seifsa, with winners being honoured at a ceremony that will take place at the Industrial Development Corporation Conference Centre, in Sandton, on May 24.
BY: Simone Liedtke