The final intake of learners for the maiden year of the Road to Reskilling training programme is set to take place soon in Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape.
The programme was conceived as a means of reskilling and re-capacitating 300 previously retrenched workers in the automotive components manufacturing sector to support their re-entry into employment by providing them with priority skills as identified in the sector skills plan.
The training programme is implemented in collaboration with the National Association of Automobile and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM), associate member training providers Siyaya Skills Institute and Siyanqoba.
Siyaya Skills Institute is part of the Learning Development Group of Companies, which, in turn, is part of infrastructure and people solutions provider NEXTEC – a wholly-owned subsidiary of the technology services conglomerate EOH Group.
The induction of the first intake of 81 learners took place on May 17 in Gqeberha, with an additional 36 being enrolled in Gauteng shortly thereafter. The second intake of 102 learners in Gqeberha and 37 in Gauteng completed the programme last month.
The final group of 44 learners will bring the final tally of learners to 300, thereby fulfilling the mandate of the funding, which was acquired through a discretionary grant awarded to NAACAM by the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Merseta).
“Based on the Covid-19 lockdowns, stricter work capacity regulations and the subsequent impact on the industry, we anticipated retrenchments. The programme was borne out of the need to reduce this impact,” explains NEXTEC cluster executive Brent Oakes, adding that Covid-19 was cited as a key reason for retrenchments in the industry.
However, he notes that “during the recruitment drive, we were unable to find significant numbers to ringfence the programme to the automotive component manufacturers sector, which could be indicative of a less adverse than initial thought impact on the sector”.
However, a formal industry survey is under way to properly quantify the impact.
The Road to Reskilling programme supports in-classroom training and includes two learning options at National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 2 and NQF Level 4 – depending on the needs of the participating learners.
“NAACAM is committed to supporting the development of a pipeline of critical skills for the sector and is grateful for the generous support from the Merseta,” said NAACAM commercial director Shivani Singh at the induction in May.
Although the discretionary grant award was ringfenced to the first 300 learners, Oakes explains that there are other prospective skills-demand-driven projects in the pipeline, as well as plans for different programme iterations based on the training programme in future.
“Our focus has been on ringfencing the programme to the automotive component manufacturing and allied industries, which all form part of the automotive value chain and those retrenched within it. Additionally, there is a need for transformation with an emphasis on gender transformation at all occupational levels,” concluded Oakes.
By Darren Parker