Local training academy scoops silver at national awards

2017-04-05 06:03
Maritime regulatory training courses are amongst those offered by Siyaloba’s broad range of skills development programmes.Photo:SUPPLIED

Maritime regulatory training courses are amongst those offered by Siyaloba’s broad range of skills development programmes.Photo:SUPPLIED

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PORT Elizabeth harbour-based Siyaloba Training Academy has been awarded Silver in the Best Community Project category at the prestigious National Skills Development (NSD) Awards, held recently in Pretoria as part of a two-day National Skills Conference.

The awards celebrate excellence by recognising best skills development practices. They are presented by the National Skills Authority (NSA), advisor to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The category was won by Bidvest Protea Coin, while Kolomela Iron Core took Bronze.

Siyaloba director Karen Reid said the accolade was a celebration of a successful NGO SETA collaboration in place since 2006.

“The projects entered were funded through Transport SETA Maritime Chamber discretionary grant funding in line with the SETA mandate to implement NSD strategy and the SETA Sector Skills Plan. An added benefit is the support to Operation Phakisa oceans economy, which benefits fishers and fishing communities,” she said.

Organisations were judged based on their 2014 to 2016 performance on criteria such as: track record of placement and appointments, retention and throughput, number of learners employed, and the profile of learners. During this period, 855 learners were successfully put through their paces at Siyaloba, in its Adult literacy programmes (AET), Project Management learnerships, New Venture Creation learnerships, and Maritime regulatory training programmes.

Malcolm Alexander, Maritime Chamber Education Training and Development Practitioner for Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA), said the long-established partnership with Siyaloba enables TETA to develop traditionally marginalised fishing communities.

“Skills development is not a two-day short course. Development happens over years and in this partnership with Siyaloba we have been able to change many lives,” Alexander commented.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Reid said Siyaloba was proud to be associated with the NSA and the standards that it embodies.

“This award is a solid reflection of Siyaloba’s professional capacity to deliver on our passion and our promise: to improve lives through quality, relevant, accredited training for all,” said Reid. “We are immensely proud of our team, which continues to deliver on our commitment to skills excellence and to the upliftment of coastal communities in the Eastern Cape through strategic skills development.”

Siyaloba project coordinator Nozipho Ntsini said she had begun to carve a career through her qualifications with the harbour training academy.

“I’m grateful to Siyaloba, and also to the National Skills Authority and the Transport SETA, for the opportunities that have been created through my experience and learnership with the academy,” Ntsini said.

The NSD awards also recognise work placement opportunities created through learning programmes, such as artisan development and FET graduate placement. “More than half of all the active youth in South Africa are unemployed - the highest youth unemployment rate in sub-Saharan Africa. Low literacy levels, in particular, keep families trapped in poverty, which is why we are so determined to help break this cycle,” said Reid.

Established in 1999 as a sustainable non-profit organisation by social entrepreneur Betsy Ings, Siyaloba is accredited as a professional training centre with Transport SETA, Services SETA and South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Headquartered in the Port Elizabeth harbour, Siyaloba serves communities in the area between East London and Mossel Bay, while portable training is taken to remote areas in which poverty is most rampant.

Over the past two decades Siyaloba has established a reputation for delivering quality training to the private sector and through funded initiatives. Profits are channelling those profits to skills development projects that address social impact within vulnerable communities.

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