The SEIFSA apprentice bursaries were offered to 10 young men and women to undergo a 26-week, merSeta-accredited institutional training at the SEIFSA Training Centre (STC) in Benoni, followed by on-the-job training at SEIFSA member companies for 18 months.

SEIFSA Human Capital and Skills Development Executive Mustak Ally said the South African manufacturing sector has been facing considerable competitive pressure to become more productive and compete successfully in export markets, and the existing skills shortage – especially in technical trades – has not helped matters.

“It is against this backdrop that SEIFSA continues to drive the skills development agenda within the metals and engineering sector,” Mr Ally said.

The trades offered to the apprentices include electrician, boilermaker, welder, as well as fitter and turner, among others. In order to be eligible for a SEIFSA apprentice bursary, applicants must be South African citizens between the ages of 18 and 28 and have passed with at least 50% four N3-level subjects aligned to the chosen trade.

In addition to the 10 apprentice bursaries, SEIFSA has also offered 10 tertiary education bursaries to first-year students studying towards electrical, civil, industrial, mechanical and metallurgical engineering qualifications in Universities and Universities of Technology across South Africa.

Every year SEIFSA awards apprentice bursaries as well as tertiary education bursaries to individuals pursuing studies in the engineering sciences in the steel and engineering environment.

In addition to funding students fees, SEIFSA also places the students with SEIFSA member companies upon completion of their studies.

“It is only when we all work together that we will really succeed in eradicating not only the current skills gap, but also unemployment and ultimately poverty,” Mr Ally concluded.

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