June 2016 2nd Edition

Operation Phakisa trains artisans

Written by Thandeka Ngobese

Youth matters

Transnet has announced that it will spend R7.7 billion on training as it drives to meet capacity requirements in line with its Market Demand Strategy (MDS). As part of this initiative, the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has selected 18 candidates from the South Durban Basin for Operation Phakisa technical training.

Students participating in Transnet School of Engineering’s three-year Millwright course. The course forms part of Transnet National Ports Authority’s Operation Phakisa technical training.The training forms part of Transnet’s MDS to train artisans for the shipbuilding and repair industry and is in line with Operation Phakisa, which aims to unlock the potential of the oceans economy.

TNPA’s Port of Durban has adopted 15 schools in the South Durban Basin and has various programmes in place aimed at developing mission critical skills within its communities from the ground up.

The Operation Phakisa technical training programme consists of two, three-year courses – Millwright and Coded Welding – run by the Transnet School of Engineering and a course on spray painting that will take place later during the year.

Being a part of TNPA’s Operation Phakisa technical training course for Vuyani Chiya (23) is more than an opportunity to further his education, it is the means through which he hopes to change both his life and that of his mother.

Chiya who has been living in the South Durban Basin while he studies towards his N4 and N5 certificate at Umlazi Computech, is now working towards qualifying as a millwright.

“To be selected for this course, is a dream come true. I will study hard to fulfil my dream. We thank Transnet for those of us who come from disadvantage backgrounds,” he said.

A millwright installs, repairs, reassembles and moves machinery in factories, power plants and construction sites. Capacity-building Manager for the KZN region at the Transnet School of Engineering Thandukwazi Magcaba said the skills training programme was a great opportunity for the students and for the country.

“Programmes such as these are incredibly important. I would say any country without properly trained artisans is lagging behind because, in some sectors, we do not have our own artisans and these individuals are imported. However, with programmes such as this in place, we can cut down on the amount of imports, harness job creation and move our unique projects forward.”

Each course is made up of three phases. In the first, the apprentices are taught basic tooling; in the second, they familiarise themselves with the equipment they will be working with/on; and in the final phase, the students work practically and are tested accordingly.

The success of the training programmes offered by the school, said Magcaba, is indicated by the increase in entrant numbers each year.

“When I first started here five years ago, we had 290 students. Now we have 539 – nearly double that number. It is very rewarding to know that we are helping to bring about positive change.”

For more information: www.transnet.net

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