Owing to the fires that destroyed several buildings at Woodridge College and Preparatory School in the Van Stadens Gorge area, in the Eastern Cape, steel modular buildings supplier Kwikspace Modular Buildings supplied, erected and built 16 classrooms, four ablution blocks and an office for the college.
The company explains that nonlocal borders and staff had to evacuate the premises when most of the buildings at the college and preparatory school burned down. Among the destroyed buildings are the reception hall, main hall, some of the hostels, school church, junior classrooms and music school. Additionally, a number of private residences burnt down, displacing 39 teachers, members of ground staff and their families.
However, on June 21, a few days after firefighters had to surrender to the flames, Kwikspace, which is a member of the South African Institute of Steel Construction, brought the new buildings to allow classes to continue.
“Time was not on anybody’s side as the school was to reopen on July 4. As a provider of quality prefab rentals, we rose to the occasion to provide a reliable temporary solution to create a safe, clean learning and working environment for its learners and staff,” explains Kwikspace Eastern Cape regional sales manager Glen Moss.
A total of 21 units were provided, covering nearly 1 000 m2 and accommodating up to 20 students a structure. He points out that Kwikspace units are manufactured in a controlled factory environment according to strict International Standards Organisation (ISO) standards.
“It was a privilege to be in a position with the stockholding Kwikspace carries, to be able to assist Woodridge with the classrooms and ablutions they needed. Working with such a dedicated, highly motivated team was a pleasure,” he states.
College headmaster Derek Bradley adds that Woodridge College recognises the impact that these units will have on restoring order and normality, “we are very pleased with the flexibility, efficiency and professional services offered by Kwikspace”.
Kwikspace offers employees who have not completed their basic education the opportunity to enrol in an Adult Education and Training (AET) Programme, which provides training from National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 1 to Level 4, which is the equivalent of a grade 4 to 10 level of schooling.
“Through our staff training programmes, we endeavour to provide our employees with the tools they need to reach their full potential. We have been blessed with a workforce that is eager to learn and this year we are proud to have 34 employees enrolled in our adult learning programme,” comments Kwikspace human resource executive Cynthia Kubheka.
However, completing a basic education is hardly the end of the road and recent university protests have brought the economic barriers to obtaining a higher education sharply into focus. Therefore, she points out that Kwikspace employees who have achieved an NQF Level 4 or passed Grade 12 are eligible to further supplement their education by taking part in a series of learnerships including project management, business administration and business management.
“There is a high level of poverty among young people in South Africa, making it difficult for some to pursue secondary or tertiary education or training. Kwikspace’s extended adult learning programme is an attempt to remove some of the barriers to obtaining a higher education and provide real opportunities for transformation,” she says.
She points out that, despite high levels of unemployment in the country, employers still often struggle to fill jobs. According to the 2016 Manpower South Africa Talent Shortage Survey, 34% of local employers are having difficulty filling jobs, citing lack of experience, lack of hard skills and a lack of available applicants as some of the reasons. This has led to local employers, such as Kwikspace, looking for solutions within their organisations and 86% claim to be training and developing existing employees in order to fill open positions.
“The benefit of developing employees is twofold. Not only do you have a more skilled workforce but also a more engaged workforce, motivated by the prospect of upliftment and opportunities for success,” concludes Kubheka.