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Seifsa encourages re-industrialisation, development of artisans

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) says that while South Africa remains a dual economy with one of the highest levels of inequality in the world, part of addressing the unemployment challenge can be tackled through re-industrialisation of its economy.

Seifsa notes that re-industrialisation is one of the key initiatives with the potential to not only unlock the country’s economic growth potential but also to create much-needed jobs, particularly for young people.

“When it takes off, South Africa’s re-industrialisation will demand technical skills, such as those offered by artisans, among others,” the organisation says.

Seifsa CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba says that, therefore, it stands to reason that in order for South Africa to curb unemployment and subsequently inequality, it will need to grow the economy, which will, in turn, create jobs and subsequently address socioeconomic ills.

However, he notes that, as a country South Africa does not produce a sufficient number of artisan skills on a yearly basis, compared with the skills produced by universities, universities of technology and private colleges.

Instead, he points out that, generally, South Africans tend to place “too great an emphasis” on sending children to universities to improve their prospects of finding employment, notwithstanding the fact that every year, thousands of university graduates struggle to find jobs.

Nyatsumba says it was for these reasons, besides others, that Seifsa first introduced the Seifsa Awards for Excellence in 2015 to celebrate companies that have embarked on the continuous journey of developing a pool of artisans South Africa can count on.

This year, Seifsa will present the Decade of the Artisan Award to a company that trained the highest number of artisans between July 2018 and December 2019.

“I would, therefore, like to encourage companies who have heeded the call to act against high unemployment through skills development to take pride in the work that they do and to allow themselves to be acknowledged and honoured by industry players by submitting entries for this important Award category,” he enthuses.

The awards programme includes five other categories, including the Most Innovative Company of the Year, Most Transformed Company of the Year, Health and Safety Award of the Year, Customer Service Award of the Year and the Environmental Stewardship Award.

Nyatsumba encouraged companies operating in the metals and engineering sector to submit their entries for the seven categories before April 28.

The awards are open to all companies in the metals and engineering sector, and not only those that are members of associations affiliated to Seifsa.

Awards winners will be honoured at a ceremony in Gauteng on May 28.