Johannesburg, 17 March 2019 – Unemployment – in particular youth unemployment – is without doubt one of the most pressing challenges currently facing South Africa’s young democracy, and is reported to have reached all-time highs of about 27% when using the narrow definition.
South Africa has identified re-industrialisation as one of the key initiatives with considerable potential not to only unlock the country’s economic growth possibilities, 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.
“South Africa, however, does not produce a sufficient number of artisanal skills on an annual basis, compared to the skills produced by universities, universities of technology and private colleges. Chief among the reasons for this is that South Africans generally associate ‘good jobs’ with university qualifications, with skills produced by Technical and Vacational Education and Training (TVET) colleges often regarded as inferior,” Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) Chief Executive Officer Kaizer Nyatsumba said today.
“Generally, as South Africans, we tend to place too great an emphasis on sending children to universities to improve their chances of getting employed, notwithstanding the fact that every year thousands of university graduates struggle to find employment. We need to start taking TVET colleges more seriously. Artisanal skills produced by TVET colleges are often in demand but, as a country, we aren’t producing enough of them. Therefore, we need to start seeing TVET colleges as significant contributors of skills required by the economy,” Mr Nyatsumba said.
He said that it was for this reason, among others, that SEIFSA introduced the SEIFSA Awards for Excellence in 2015 to celebrate companies that have embarked on the continuous journey of developing a pool of artisans that South Africa can count on.
Mr Nyatsumba said that SEIFSA will present the Artisan Award to a company that trained the highest number of artisans between July 2017 and December 2018.
Mr Nyatsumba said although there were no entries and, therefore, no winner for the Artisan Award last year, there is no doubt that there is a lot of companies out there – including SEIFSA members – which are doing their best as far as the training of artisans is concerned.
“I would, therefore, like to encourage companies which 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,” My Nyatsumba said.
Other awards that form the seven categories of the SEIFSA Awards for Excellence are:
- The Most Innovative Company of the Year, which will be awarded to a company that showed the best level of innovation in research and development or production between July 2017 and December 2018;
- The Most Transformed Company of the Year Award will be received by a company that showed the highest transformation level in its ownership and the composition of its Board of Directors, Executive Management and Managerial Team between July 2017 and December 2018. This award category pits companies employing fewer than 100 people against those of similar size, and companies employing more than 100 people against others of similar size.
- The Health and Safety Award of the Year will be offered to a company with the best legal compliance record in Health and Safety or the lowest Lost-Time Injury Frequency rate between July 2017 and December 2018;
- The company rated the highest in customer service performance between July 2017 and December 2018 will receive the Customer Service Award of the Year;
- The Environmental Stewardship Award will go to a company that has successfully implemented greening initiatives in its day-to-day business operations between July 2017 and December 2018.
Mr Nyatsumba encouraged companies operating in the metals and engineering sector to submit their entries for the seven categories before the deadline date of 26 April 2019. Participants can enter by visiting the SEIFSA Awards website (www.seifsaawards.co.za).
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 that will take place at the IDC Conference Centre in Sandton on 23 May 2019.