Heavy engineering group DCD has opened a new skills training facility in Cape Town, in conjunction with MCD Training Centre and Khula Nathi Empowerment (KNE).
The R4-million facility, based in the harbour precinct, would be used for training of artisans, learnerships and short skills courses. The facility, which already started training at the beginning of June, should have capacity to train 150 artisans each year, with space for 60 learners at any one time.
DCD MD Rob King said on Wednesday that a driver behind setting up the training centre was one of DCD’s key company philosophies – to maximise productivity by creating the right skills for the sector and through the development of communities in which the company operates.
“It’s our intention to get past this criteria that says our growth is restricted because we do not have the skills in the country,” he said.
King added that the company was well aware that when training an artisan there was a good chance that the person might move on to another company once trained. As a result DCD’s intention was to train more people than it needed so that sufficient skills could be developed not only for DCD, but also the sector as a whole.
“What we are going to do is, if we need ten [artisans] we are going to train 15 or 20, whatever we can create the resources to do. And we are going to try and put a pool of skills into the community and into our sector that will allow us not to just continually say ‘let’s try and steal resources from everybody else’. Let’s create more resources than we actually require, and through that, hopefully we’ll achieve a lot more than if we only did what we require,” he said.
King challenged DCD’s competitors and peers to do the same. “If we all did it we would actually have a major change in the employment conditions of our people, the skills available to us, as well as our ability to grow as a country.”
As another partner in the training facility, MCD Training Centre brought the training expertise to the initiative, with the company already having training facilities in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the North West province. The new Cape Town facility would be its first in the Western Cape and its second artisan training facility.
The company, which was accredited with a number of South Africa’s sector education and training authorities, specialised in a wide variety of training in the engineering sector. According to director Dan Sothoane, it would offer a variety of options from the Cape Town facility including fitting and turning, welding, boiler making and rigging, with further additions to the training offered being planned.
“We do have a plan to start electrical at this branch in the future, and also instrumentation, but most importantly we see the need to also enter the renewable energy market, and we are going to place ourselves for that,” said Sothoane.
The primary investor in the project was public benefit organisation KNE, which invested R3-million in the facility. DCD had to date invested R35-million in KNE, which was focused on improving the skills pool in South Africa, specifically in the engineering sector. The organisation already had another training facility in Gauteng and worked with a variety of engineering companies in addressing empowerment and skills development.