Eleven newly qualified artisans are helping upgrade and maintain infrastructure at South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Units.
The group, from the SANDF’s Regional Works Unit in KwaZulu-Natal, completed a three-year training course to develop their electrical and welding skills at the Desto Technical Training and Development Centre in Claremont, Pretoria.
The training formed part of the SANDF’s skills and development programme and saw trainees within the force given the opportunity to qualify in their trade.
Of the 11, six qualified as electricians and five as welders.
Sergeant Sihle Nqenqa, 52, said his electrical qualification has given him a new lease on life.
“There is no age limit to furthering your education and skills. I encourage anyone who wants to study a trade not to think twice about it,” he said.
When Private Lucia Sithunga heard about the training programme she knew immediately she had to apply.
Sithunga always wanted to study in the electrical field but a lack of funding prevented her from doing so previously.
She applied for the training programme and was elated when she was accepted. “The thing I loved most was learning about motors, especially how to find faults and fix them,” Sithunga said.
According to the campus manager of the Electrical Trade Test and Training Division, Lionel Westraadt, the aim of the course is to assist electrical and welding trainees gain skills that would help them create a better life for themselves.
Trainees were taught electrical work, plumbing, woodwork and handyman skills. They were encouraged to develop and apply their minds to the practical elements of the course.
“The qualified artisans can now enter the working world and make a difference. The knowledge gained here is the kind that they will be able to apply to the outside world,” Westraadt said.
For more information on the trainee course contact the Department of Defence on 012 355 6999.