Engine, filtration, and genset manufacturer Cummins Africa Middle East, in conjunction with earthmoving, mining, construction, and utility equipment supplier and aftermarket provider Komatsu Africa Holdings have inaugurated a new Technical Education for Communities programme at the Sedibeng TVET College, Sebokeng Campus in Southern Gauteng.
Through the partnership, Cummins and Komatsu will enhance the standard education platform to help develop a market-relevant curriculum, teacher training and career guidance, and also provide much-needed practical experience for students.
The Technical Education for Communities programme forms part of a global initiative that targets the technical skills gap in South Africa through local vocational education programmes. It is the realisation of an agreement signed by Gino Butera, Vice President and Managing Director, Cummins Africa Middle East, and Mike Blom, Managing Director, Komatsu Africa Holdings in October 2017.
The latest Technical Education for Communities programme was launched on 21 May during a ceremony hosted at the Sedibeng TVET College, during which Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor delivered the keynote address. She was accompanied by members of the Department of Higher Education and Training and merSETA.
Minister Pandor lauded both companies for taking the initiative to boost vocational skills development in South Africa, by focusing on delivering technical training related directly to the needs of local industry which, in turn, will promote economic development and entrepreneurship on the continent.
“This initiative falls exactly within the government’s domain of focusing on uplifting the youth through training. It is therefore a very important initiative, and both Cummins and Komatsu are to be commended. We as South Africa need many more such initiatives to give young people access to training so that they can become employable, and thereby play a meaningful role in both their communities and the future of the country,” Minister Pandor said.
Butera noted in his address that the Technical Education for Communities programme launch was testament to Cummins’ commitment to sustainable solutions for the communities in which it worked and lived, in partnership with Komatsu. “Together we will provide comprehensive tools to improve job skills. We are proud to bring this global programme to South Africa for the first time, and welcome the first group of learners. We look forward to the results, and trust that the leaners will maximise the opportunities made available to them.”
He pointed out that, globally, employers are experiencing critical shortages of skilled technical workers, with around 10 million manufacturing jobs worldwide unfilled owing to a shortage in technical capabilities and soft skills. The TEC programme seeks to plug this gap by providing schools in South Africa with the necessary tools to equip learners with market-relevant skills that prepare them for the world of work throughout the course of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0.
Blom highlighted in his address that the TEC programme was a sterling example of the private and public sector coming together to uplift local communities. “While our industry is dependent on technology and innovation, everything begins with people, which means that human resource development is critical. I am absolutely convinced that, with the support of all stakeholders, we will succeed in this initiative.”
Since the global launch of the TEC initiative in 2012, 19 schools in 11 countries, two of which are in Morocco and Nigeria, have been established, with the Sedibeng TVET College becoming the twentieth school to fall under the auspices of the programme.
The latest addition to the TEC programme in South Africa builds off a global corporate responsibility agreement signed by Cummins and Komatsu in June 2016. The global agreement established general guidelines and a framework for Komatsu and Cummins to form, co-develop, and implement late secondary or post-secondary vocational education programmes at global sites.