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Oct 11, 2002

Firm gears up for learnership drive

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© Reuse this By April next year about 2 000 young South Africans will have gone through learnerships being carried out by TMS-Shezi Industrial Services to prepare them for employment in several industrial sectors.

Learnerships are structured learning programmes that combine practical work with theoretical training, which results in registered qualifications.

Registered with a sector education and training authority (Seta), they are being carried out by the industrial cleaning and manpower company, which is part of the BIDVest group and, although currently training mostly in the hospitality sector, the company's GM Janelle Gravett says training will soon begin in other service areas.

"We would like to offer learnerships in professional driving and freight handling, particularly in the Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth areas because that is where the demand for staff is," she explains.

The company is also investigating learnerships in the mining sector, metals and engineering (for training in areas such as welding, boilermaking and fitting and turning), as well as training in the marine sector, which, like professional driving and freight handling, falls under the Transport Seta.

"Call-centre training is another learnership we are looking at tackling," she says.

A learnership for domestic workers is another which the company is looking to conduct in the near future, though Gravett says it will be a major challenge to get it right because of the logistics of the training.

"The learnership is a major priority of the government and the Services Seta has received a grant of R9-million to train domestic workers," she adds.

Under this learnership, training will be provided in more than simple house cleaning, covering areas such as care of the elderly, child care, food preparation and even driving skills.

The learnerships are conducted around the country in all major centres, and Gravett indicates that the company is in the process of opening an office in Nelspruit.

The company's training and learnership programmes are part of its larger manpower division, which supplies the hospitality, transport and distribution, engineering, maintenance, construction and maritime industries with trained staff and personnel.

"Our approach to the learnership market emphasises our approach to manpower as a whole because it illustrates the high calibre of people we are sending back into the industry," says MD Mike Dreyer.

The company's approach entails supplying a wide range of industry sectors with manpower, from the retail industry to industries requiring artisans.

Dreyer adds that the fact that the manpower division is the biggest supplier to the industrial cleaning division illustrates the high quality of training. Nine out of every ten learners trained in the company's learnership programmes are employed once they are qualified and, although many are incorporated into the company's manpower division, others are employed by other companies or use the skills learnt to open companies of their own. With learnerships covering general management practices, such as generic project management (for which TMS-Shezi is currently recruiting 80 unemployed learners and 20 employed from Johannesburg and Cape Town) as well as small, medium and micro enterprise development. The company's deputy chairperson, Sipho Shezi, says the company's emphasis is on the development of people as well as interfacing government policy in terms of skills development with the latest issues and needs within South African industry in order to develop skilled workers for the future.

"TMS-Shezi is not only committed to learnerships for unemployed people, but is also committed to training and further developing its own staff in line with its equity and skills-development plan," Shezi concludes.
Edited by: vanessa vasques
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