With the government trying to get industry to successfully fulfil more internships, learnerships and apprentiships, a new BBBEE scorecard looks set to result in an increase in artisan training as companies move to upgrade their black empowerment ratings. This is especially the case where some companies have dropped between two to three levels with the new codes.
This is according to Sean Jones, a director of Artisan Training Institute (ATI,) a privately owned – and black empowered – artisan training companies.
“What we are finding on the ground is that more and more companies are upping their training outputs in order to get their black empowerment rating improved. The new score card encourages companies to train previously disadvantaged individuals (PDI’s) outside of their employment compliments.”
Commenting further, Jones said there is definitely an “increase in corporate companies approaching ATI to handle their training requirements to uplift PDI’s.”
SA faces a backlog in artisan training numbers and the industry at large needs to up the ante with regards to the number of artisans being trained. While it is a numbers game, it is also important to ensure that the artisan training levels result in introducing, into the market, properly trained artisans – an aspect that is often questioned by many industry players.
According to Wedekind (2013) “by the mid-1980’s 26, 000 applicants per annum did a trade test in engineering fields with about half succeeding at the test. A decade later this had dwindled to only 5 000 applicants with about 3 000 passing”.
The marketplace is divided on the actual artisan training backlog, but it appears a general consensus puts this shortage at between 28,000 - 50,000 varying in severity from trade to trade.
“It is good to bump up training numbers but not at the cost of producing quality outcomes. Failure to do this prejudices young people from gaining access to decent employment,” said Jones.
In terms of skills shortage, there is a significant shortage for riggers, boilermakers and diesel mechanics at present.