The NSF’s R175 million financing is providing a significant boost to the number of people gaining skills in transport-related industries.
The Transnet School of Engineering, which trains and develops artisans through 18 campuses and trade test centres in 14 transport and rail specific trades, has been training apprentices for 45 years. With enrolments of 1 800 a year, the school was at full capacity, but the plan was to leverage the existing capabilities and facilities to increase the number of artisans produced through training programmes.
The R175 million has facilitated the training of an additional 1 000 learners, a massive increase on the numbers previously going through the programme.
A June 2015 update indicated that 920 of the 1 000 expected additional learners had been enrolled.Some of the funds were deployed to upgrade the Transnet School of Engineering Training Centre to accommodate additional leaners and trainees on the artisan development programme, increase the number of artisans, promote entrepreneurship and increase the pool of skilled artisans.
Transnet Academy’s School of Engineering, responsible for training artisans, offers 14 trades ranging from electrical fitters to diesel electrical fitters, armature winders, turners and machinists, toolmakers, millwrights, electromechanicians, sheet metal workers, platers, blacksmiths, welders, vehicle builders and wagon fitters.Its training centres were able to accommodate 1 800 apprentices with 117 trainers.
With an historical 95% pass rate at the academy, the project would add 950 qualified artisans a year to the country’s skill base.
Although not all graduates find jobs with Transnet, qualified artisans with industrial skills are highly employable elsewhere, or can start their own businesses.
Its 18 campuses and trade test centres are all accredited by the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) and most are also accredited with the Manufacturing Engineering and Related Services Sector Education Training Authority (MERSETA); the Media, Advertising Publishing, Printing and Packaging SETA (MAPP-SETA) and the South African Marine Training Authority (SAMTRA).
The increase in the number of trainees requires the employment of trainers and support staff and new infrastructure, which would take up a large portion of the funding.
The project’s focus has been on six centres located strategically in Germiston and Koedoespoort (Pretoria) in Gauteng, Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, Salt River in the Western Cape, Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape and Bloemfontein in the Free State.
The project is co-funded by the NSF and Transnet.