23 April 2008
Local construction and engineering firm Group Five and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) have set up a construction skills training academy in Midrand, in an effort to bridge the gap between required skills and the shortage thereof.
Present at the launch of the academy last week were Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa) chairman Gwede Mantashe, DBSA chairman Jay Naidoo and Ebrahim Mia, who was representing the Mia family who donated the use of the land on which the academy is built.
In a statement this week, Group Five said that the academy, named Kgoro ya Tsholoselo (Door of Hope), was as a result of partnership between itself and the DBSA, who last year signed a memorandum of understanding to accelerate sustainable development as part of the government’s Breaking New Ground programme.
“We must scale up initiatives like this and start more,” said Naidoo adding that his organisation had already contributed R8-million toward the academy.
“We must invest in education because the most precious resource in our country is people.”
When discussing the severe shortage of skills in South Africa, Mantashe emphasised the importance of concentrating on developing artisans.
“People forget about the artisans, but this training centre recognises their importance,” he said, adding that some 10 000 artisans were required throughout the country.
He added that he would like to see the centre become a catalyst making the area a hub of training activity where other private sector construction companies could establish centres of excellence.
The academy’s Construction Education and Training Authority (Ceta) accreditation is currently run by its KwaZulu-Natal branch, which launched the Midrand project together with representatives from Housing, Building, Civil Engineering and the Academy currently.
“The next step is to establish a similar facility at Grabouw in the Western Cape,” Group Five said.
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