In an industry that is predominantly male dominated, the need to transform various aspects of the construction sector is paramount, particularly if it is to remain economically viable in a country that is economically strained. In the past two years, massive job cuts, liquidations and gender discrimination within the sector have been a cause for concern with little to no change or solutions proposed to help stabilise this important sector.
Established in 2006, the National Construction Incubator (NCI), which was formerly known as The SEDA Construction Incubator (SCI) is actively working towards reforms in the construction sector to address a number of issues:
- Women empowerment: The NCI has recently made a milestone in making the construction field one that is inclusive and equal. The company now comprises of 83% female senior management, with Dr Joy Ndlovu chairing the board, something that would not have been possible in 2006 when the organisation first started. Dr Ndlovu’s areas of strength lie in her advocacy for entrepreneurship, leadership and management. This is a game-changer as many women still struggle to break into the industry and establish themselves against their counterparts due to discrimination.
- Development and mentorship: StatsSA reported as many as 30 000 job cuts in the construction sector in the year of 2019. This is incredibly disheartening and calls for development of emerging contractors and mentorships to help remedy the situation by reimagining the models in place within the industry. Through the infusion of both technical and business administration skills that are aligned with the introduction of technology in order to enhance the efficiency and management of businesses, the industry can thrive again.
- Job creation: Giving support to contractors through funding, mentorship and interpersonal development has been at the heart of the work that the NCI does and has proven to be efficient, testament to that, they have managed to create 139 temporal jobs and managed to exceed their job creation target by 3%. These growth points are a massive win within the industry as they are geared towards strengthening the sector.
Accessibility is an important aspect of growth that the NCI has identified and made means to address, particularly for those contractors who have struggled to get funding, mentorship and assistance in setting themselves up within the industry. The NCI has since opened a new branch in Empangeni, KwaZulu Natal through a new partnership and will be launching a second branch in the same region, uMhlathuze Municipality. This was done to ensure inclusivity and access across many of the marginalized areas in and around KwaZulu Natal.
With the strides that the new NCI is making in sustaining the industry through various changes aimed at growth, the organisation is in the forefront of creating opportunities to improve the sector through its strategic positioning. Ultimately, the sector will continue to develop and contribute to the economy of the country by implementing innovative and just means in redressing the stifling elements that have long crippled the construction industry.