Capital equipment supplier Barloworld Equipment on Thursday night showcased its investment in the construction of a R130-million training centre at its Isando operations, aimed at training artisans and furthering industry skills in the economy.
Although the current economic climate had led to the company implementing strong cost-cutting measures, placing several capital projects on hold, Barloworld chairperson Dumisa Ntsebeza explained that the investment was aligned with governmental long-term plans to grow the South Africa economy through the fostering of skills development and the development of key infrastructure.
Gauteng Premier Paul Mashatile said that the government endorsed the project, and expressed a desire to partner with Barloworld going forward. “There is a need to focus on the development of scarce skills, and so we support this initiative,” he said.
“We as Barloworld have made one fundamental decision - we will not cut back on training and development,” said Barloworld Equipment CEO Peter Bulterman at the event.
“Skills development remains a top priority and our investment in leadership development and technical skills training is being increased this year.”
The accommodation module will house 130 trainees in 96 single rooms, eight bachelor units and eight flexible multiroomed units, while the training centre itself will be able to develop about 2 000 learners each year, some of whom Bulterman said would come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Artisans, including those employed by Barloworld Equipment, customers and other Cat dealers, will have access to a six-bay workshop, 12 practical working areas, 12 lecture rooms, office accommodation, a canteen and other amenities, while the Barloworld Equipment Operator Academy will have four dedicated lecture rooms.
Work began on the training centre in the fourth quarter of 2008, and phase one of the project is expected to be completed by mid-2009.