Artisans proud of skills

2017-10-11 06:02
Sello Mkomezulu (left) receiving awards as the best artisan student in bricklaying and the best overall artisan. It was presented by Sipho Puwane, chairperson of the Itumeleng Community Trust.

Sello Mkomezulu (left) receiving awards as the best artisan student in bricklaying and the best overall artisan. It was presented by Sipho Puwane, chairperson of the Itumeleng Community Trust.

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A group of 32 graduate artisans from Jagersfontein and Fauresmith are now seeking employment to utilise their skills.

Candidates successfully completed the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 3 and 4 in bricklaying and plastering, painting, plumbing and carpentry.

The graduates, male and female, are aged from 18 to 36 years.

Training was co-funded by Jagersfontein Developments, the diamond plant, and the Itumeleng Community Trust (ICT), a non-profit community organisation based in Jagersfontein.

Gillian Vermaak, manager and trustee of ICT, said Jagersfontein Developments funded monthly stipends to the amount of R505 000, while the ICT provided R1,6 million, including the costs for training premi­ses and a support structure for the 32 graduates.

Vermaak said the trust had committed R2 105 000 in addition.

“Training got them out of the misery of being unskilled. This is the second group of successful graduates who completed their training,” Vermaak said.

Although delighted that they are armed with much-needed skills, some graduates lamented the lack of employment.

“While some of us are fortunate to get employment to acquire the necessary experience in the job market, most of us are wandering aimlessly.

“Employment prospects exist locally in infrastructure development and the maintenance of municipality infrastructure. Sadly there’s no interest whatsoever among those with power,” said one of the graduates, who asked not to be identified.

Sello Mkomezulu, who received the award as the best artisan student in bricklaying and the award as the best overall artisan, regards himself as being very lucky that he got temporary employment in the Northern Cape.

“Construction is my passion and I’m grateful to the trust for making it possible for me to get a necessary qualification,” he said.

The National Development Plan highlighted that South Africa will require 30 000 artisans by 2030 to meet development goals. The Annual Man Power Talent Shortage Survey also shows that trade skills are the most needed in South Africa.

According to a report by the Department of Higher Education and Training and the Swiss-South African Cooperation Initiative, 28 302 registrations for artisanal programmes took place in 2014-’15, with 14 270 completions.

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