The Artisan Training Institute (ATI) and the South African Capital Equipment Export Council (SACEEC) have secured a partnership that cements their mutual goal of fighting unemployment in South Africa.
The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that sees them work closely together on overlapping issues, of which the most pressing is equipping South Africa’s unemployed youth with job-ready skills.
ATI is one of the biggest private engineering training providers in South Africa, while SACEEC has established itself as a major export council in the SADC region, promoting the exports of South African capital equipment, machinery, general engineering and agriculture equipment. The Council has exported to 87 countries globally, from Patagonia to Mongolia and New Zealand to Alaska.
“The partnership with ATI is a strategic fit for SACEEC,” says Eric Bruggeman, its managing director. “The growth of South Africa’s export market is intrinsically linked with the availability of South African skills to grow local manufacturing.”
SACEEC has embarked on an aggressive localisation drive, partly through its collaboration with the Gauteng Growth & Development Agency. In this capacity, the Council visits South African municipalities, supports them to buy locally-produced engineering equipment, and finds South African alternatives to global brands.
“We believe that among the municipalities alone, there is about R3-billion a year in capital equipment that could be supplied from South Africa. If you translate this figure to job creation, it is significant,” says Hugh Saunders, chief financial officer of SACEEC.
“For every R1-million South Africa spends locally, we create up to 10 jobs. R3-billion therefore equates to roughly 30 000 jobs per year,” Saunders continues. To enable local uptake in South African capital equipment and other products, municipalities require a surge in the availability of engineering skills.
This is where SACEEC’s partnership with ATI is critical. The institute trains on average 1 200 artisans per year, aiming to grow its output of skilled artisans through on-going engagement with industry, donors and government.
Through the MoU between the two parties, SACEEC will address its member organisations’ skills needs by matching it with ATI’s service offering. SACEEC will be sending over 30 learner artisans to ATI’s Roodepoort campus over the next eight to twelve months.