Gauteng’s first foundry training centre was officially launched in September last year at the Ekurhuleni East College (EEC) for further education and training in KwaThema, Springs, to create a hub for foundry-related skills training and technology transfer. The first intake of apprentices started their training in January.
The Gauteng Foundry Training Centre (GFTC) is a joint initiative between the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED), the National Foundry Technology Network (NFTN), the Department of Trade and Industry, EEC and the South African Institute of Foundrymen (SAIF). It is funded by government, with the support and input of the private sector, says NFTN project manager Steve Jardine.
The GFTC’s aim is to offer facilities and the infra- structure for theoretical and appropriate practical training, says Jardine.
After conducting a feasibility study in 2011 and consulting all the stakeholders, the partners decided to establish the training centre at the KwaThema campus. This was a strategic decision, as more than 50% of the foundries are situated in the area and the EEC is hosting a similar centre for the tooling industry.
The current learners showcased what the training centre has to offer by conducting a hands-on, practical demonstration of the simulated training facility, says SAIF president Enno Krueger.
GDED acting head of department at the time Albert Chanee said at the launch that the GFTC would promote localisation by improving the global competitiveness of the foundry industry.
“The foundry industry is important to infrastructure development, which is an important factor in economic development,” he added.
Krueger said in his address to delegates at the launch that the GFTC was an exciting prospect for the SAIF, as it tackled so many concerns of the foundry industry. “Despite a perception of being trapped in the past, South African foundries are in fact using new technologies to raise their game. However, previous training courses had become outdated and did not fulfil the current needs of the foundries.
“The GFTC will train to the latest curriculum, a curriculum which has been developed in conjunction with industry to ensure that it meets its needs,” he concluded.