The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the metals sector. In the face of a steadily increasing unemployment rate across the board, the industry must focus on stimulating growth and employment opportunities.
This strategy begins with pioneering work-based learning programmes to ensure that the youth are integrated in the steel manufacturing ecosystem.
According to Neil Reddy, Business Strategy & Projects Manager at Veer Steel Mills, while skills development and training have been disrupted in 2020, it is more important than ever that the metals sector restrategise and plan for 2021 and up the ante on tangible opportunities for education and employment.
Train to employ
Acting on this key ethos, Veer Steel Mills has partnered with institutions such as the University of Johannesburg and the Katlehong Engineering School of Specialisation with a focus on manufacturing.
To date, Veer Steel Mills have had an intake of 200 trainees annually in various industries and in an array of vacancies such as apprenticeships, leadership, work readiness programmes and internships. From the learnership vacancies, they have absorbed 60 students on a permanent basis.
“Our strategy at Veer Steel Mills is simple: we train to employ,” says Neil.
The success of incorporating these training initiatives into your organisation lies in partnering with a relevant Seta, such as MerSETA (Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services). This Seta’s core mandate is to make available skills development programmes to increase the number of engineering and manufacturing professionals in South Africa.
“SETAs are here to bolster job opportunities and focus on countering unemployment. There is a demand to bridge the gap between education and training in the workplace, which can be achieved through a comprehensive portable skills programme. Through these programmes, your focus should be to absorb as many learners as possible into your organisation,” Neil states.
The key consideration is the longevity and success of the steel manufacturing industry as a whole; fundamental to this is converting young people entering the sector into future leaders and active contributors to innovation.
With proper education and training, the industry will benefit from a culture of qualified staff in an assortment of disciplines in order to elevate excellent service delivery in the sector as a whole.
Veer Steel Mills (Pty) Ltd
Tel: 011 908-9440