Seifsa relaunches its training centre

22nd July 2022 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

Seifsa relaunches its training centre

Inside the training centre
Photo by: Creamer Media's Tasneem Bulbulia

Member organisation the Steel and Engineering Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) on July 22 officially relaunched its Seifsa Training Centre (STC) in Actonville, Benoni.

The STC has been an entrenched entity in the metals and engineering industry’s training sphere for the past 35 years.

About a year and a half ago Seifsa began a considerable structural and repositioning of the centre to position it for the future and to bolster the quality of young artisans trained to fight the country’s challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

The STC is run in partnership with Thuthukisa, a specialist advisory, consulting, project management and skills programme delivery company.

The STC has been transformed from an olden-style training centre focused mostly on apprenticeships into a Fourth Industrial Revolution- (4IR-) ready training centre.

Speaking at the relaunch, Seifsa CEO Lucio Trentini said the STC, which has always been known as a specialist apprentice training and test centre, now, in partnership with Thuthukisa, is able to offer a unique one-stop integrated multiple-benefit offering in the fields of skills development and business solutions.

The STC now offers multidisciplinary expertise in engineering, high-end artisan and technical development, human capital, strategy, project and programme management, consulting, accreditation, and entrepreneurship and small business incubation capabilities.

The new innovation hub and business incubation facilities will take newly qualified welders and boiler makers, for example, through the process of setting up their own small businesses with the support of the STC, along with access to its facilities and help with securing contracts.

The STC also offers 4IR-related skills such as robotics and three-dimensional printing to meet industry demands.

These skills will be taught using e-learning, virtual reality and e-assessments.

The centre has the capacity to train 250 people at a time and offers apprenticeships in ten trades. The training centre is a Department of Higher Education and Training and national Artisan Moderation Body-registered Trade Test centre and has trade-tested more than 400 candidates a year, since 2014.

“We are trying to take youth out of unemployment and teach them skills to become youth entrepreneurs. We will help and support them to create their own businesses,” Trentini said. 

He noted that 83% of people that graduate from the STC are readily absorbed into the industry and find work, and that this partnership with Thuthukisa and investment showcases Seifsa’s commitment to developing the workforce of tomorrow.

Thuthukisa director Preggy Chetty said the STC would remain a core technical training centre, but had expanded to become a training centre with a fresh vision that offered a more comprehensive set of organisational solutions.

This came from the realisation that technical skills alone would not allow students to enter the world of work and contribute to the economy, therefore, the focus of the STC was now to offer a more comprehensive set of skills that were integrated and holistic, Chetty explained.

Therefore, the STC has developed into a comprehensive training centre, which includes offering deep multi-business expertise, engineering capacity, and training for post-qualified artisans to give them skills relevant to the industry.

The STC is also focused on helping newly qualified trainees to set up businesses and become entrepreneurs given the sector’s ability to absorb workers has been shrinking.

Business innovation and acceleration was therefore a big focus of the STC, Chetty said.

He added that the STC’s offering had broadened, with a new area being e-learning, with Seifsa being one of only two entities in Southern Africa to have the licence for Amatrol, which provides 24/7 access to technical skill building by using interactive courses for industrial workforce training.

The revamp of the STC included the building of a new roof, with training at the centre continuing during this process.

Chetty said this new high roof provided space for mezzanine floors to be built, which bolstered the capacity of the STC to bring in more classrooms, as well as to begin height training.

This process will unfold rapidly over the next two to three years, he added.

The revamp has also included bringing in new equipment and new projects.