Black economic empowerment (BEE) mobile crane hire-service provider Target Cranes has established the first mobile crane operator training school in South Africa.
As part of the company's philosophy to advance its employees and employment equity, Target Cranes established the Thuthukisa Training School, in Cape Town. The training school will produce mobile crane operators certified to national qualifications framework standards, aligned with the Transport Education and Training Authority.
"Thuthukisa's training offering is an industry first in that it presents the theoretical framework backed by practical experience through a six-month learnership under the auspices of Target Cranes' coaches. Thereafter, trainees will qualify with work-related experience from an industry leader," says Target Cranes director for Gauteng Jan Lourens.
The project, which started six months ago in Cape Town, aims to provide ongoing training of existing operators. It takes a low-level operator and develops the operator over a period of time to operate larger machines. The project also aims to provide training for the community by providing them with skills for applications in the wider industry. The training school currently has ten trainees and will be extended to the company's Johannesburg and Lephalale branches in the future.
"The company is committed to broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) through empowered investment company Sphere Holding, which has a 32,5% direct investment in Target Cranes. Further, 15% of Sphere Holdings is owned by BBBEE entities and 30% by black women," adds Lourens.
He reports that the company has achieved a level 3 BBBEE rating with procurement recognition level of 110% and black ownership of 32,5%, as confirmed by BEE verification agency Sera the highest BBBEE rating of any mobile crane hire company in South Africa. This means that it has a substantial lead over its competitors in terms of rating.
In the crane industry, Lourens reports that BBBEE is in its infancy. He attributes this to a lack of insistence from the customers that suppliers be BBBEE certified, however, there is increasing pressure to become BBBEE certified. He explains that the company's BEE deal with Sphere Holdings played a significant role in the awarding of a tender by the Petroleum, Oil & Gas Corporation of South Africa.
"Our current BBBEE level 3 rating also means that for every R1 spent with Target Cranes, our customers receive R1,10 in BBBEE procurement recognition. We are aiming to achieve a level 2 rating in 2010, providing additional benefits to our customers," he says.
Target Cranes has also worked closely with a number of mining companies such as coal miner Anglo Coal, diversified miner Xstrata, diversified miner BHP Billiton and gold miners Harmony Gold and Gold Fields.
The scope of work carried out in the mining industry includes the lifiting of existing or new installation, the relocation or transport of mining equipment and the assembly of equipment.