Mutshinya Phindulo is one of the beneficiaries of the new state-of-the-art R28m Thyssenkrupp technical training academy.
The academy in Edenvale, east of Johannesburg, was officially opened today by minister of higher education and training Naledi Pandor.
Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions South Arica is a company which is part of the construction sector education and training authority.
It offers apprentices training in boiler making, mechanical fitting and welding.
Phindulo, 22, from Tembisa, is doing a three-year apprenticeship with the academy.
“I joined the academy in September and I have already learnt a lot of things I did not do in college. I am getting training in the practical side of mechanical engineering. After three years I will be a qualified artisan and I will then do my diploma in mechanical engineering,” Phindulo said.
Pandor said the partnership between technical training and vocational education (TVET) colleges and Thyssenkrupp is most encouraging.
“Recently the department launched an initiative that focuses on the teaching of 13 trade occupations at 26 TVET colleges. This initiative known as the centres of specialisation programme is designed to address the growing demand for the skills needed in our current state infrastructure build. The list of priority trades that have been identified include those for bricklayers, electricians, boilermakers, plumbers, welders, fitters and turners, and riggers,” Pandor said.
She said she hoped the academy would be part of this initiative because of the trades it offers.
“The status and profile of artisans is being elevated through this campaign. The department will continue learning from academies like Thyssenkrupp and encourage employers to open up their workplaces as training places.
“You have already indicated to me that at Thyssenkrupp you are familiar with the challenges that South Africa faces, particularly in manufacturing and skills development,” Pandor said.
Pandor said there was a need to create jobs for young people through not only providing workplace-based learning opportunities but also by exposing them to new digital skills.
“Economic growth in South Africa has slowed down. Mining and formal manufacturing have been particularly hard hit by the slowdown of the past years. We have identified policies to incentivise growth in the agriculture, mining and manufacturing sectors,” Pandor said.
In return the academy said it would not compromise on quality and would deliver the accredited best in class training programmes to rigorously screened students.