One of the biggest risks facing power utilities like Eskom is the loss of skills and knowledge required to sustain the business.
With ageing and increasingly mobile workforces and inadequate knowledge and skills transfer to young people being a challenge globally, the Eskom Academy of Learning was created to address technical skills development and effective skills transfer for engineers, technicians and artisans. Eskom’s requirements for trained artisans have been increasing due to its large scale build programmes at Medupi, Kusile and Ingula and its own internal training programme has received a significant boost from NSF funding.
The NSF approved R174 million funding for Eskom to recruit and train 1 250 learner artisans over three years from the beginning of 2015 at the main project sites where Eskom is currently building and operating. These recruits are being trained as artisans, plant operators and welders and will largely be absorbed into permanent positions when their internship contracts end.The training started in January 2015 with 387 learners recruits and to date, 1253 learners have been recruited, slightly over the target.
Recruited learners have to have an NCV Engineering: Level 4 and N3- N6 trade in engineering as a requirement to be trained on the Artisan Development Programme. Of the recruits, 98% have an electrical trade and 2% have a mechanical trade from colleges and universities of technology.
Currently 61 plant operator learners have been absorbed by Eskom on a permanent or a contractual basis and others are still on the programme.
The extensive training programme has included theory, practical, simulation and on-the-job training at various Eskom centres.