10 November, 2014:Sustainable skills development and subsequent community upliftment remains a top priority for Sub-Saharan gas market leader Afrox, which has invested substantially in training initiatives within the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) in the Eastern Cape.
The Coega IDZ is managed by the Coega Development Corporation (CDC), which operates a training centre that facilitates a variety of training and development initiatives, with a particular focus on mechanical and construction trades related skills development through learnerships, internships and apprenticeships.
Afrox is a substantial role player in the Coega IDZ, having invested R300-million in the region on a state-of-the-art air separation unit (ASU), which is the first of its kind in Africa. It will support the development and growth of the local economy, which will in turn lead to much needed job creation.
As a socially responsible corporate citizen, Afrox has taken its commitment to local community upliftment beyond operational business, and will be sponsoring R1-million worth of welding and gases equipment and providing in-depth expertise for the welding courses that are hosted for learners taking part in the Eastern Cape Schools and Tertiary Welding Programme.
Afrox has been an important associate to the CDC training centre over the past three years. It was appointed as a preferred provider for the installation of the reticulation systems for Oxygen, Acetylene, and Shielding gases, and the supplier of gases to the Centre for the next five years.
In order to ensure that the skills development initiative is as far-reaching as possible, Afrox has identified a number of technical high schools in the region, which the company will support by funding extensive teacher training in the field of welding in mechanical technology.
Afrox Eastern Cape regional manager Rene Naidu explains that teachers from four pre-selected schools in the region have been identified to attend an accredited 40-hour training programme scheduled over a period of ten weeks. “The identified teachers are required to attend all sessions at the CDC training centre in order to receive an accredited certificate in the field of welding.”
This forms part of a national Afrox initiative to support economic development and alleviate the impact of poverty in South Africa by empowering, skilling and developing young people across the Eastern Cape, Free State and Gauteng to realise their potential and providing them employment opportunities across various portfolios within the Afrox Group.
Naidu adds: “Welding is a critical and scarce skill in South Africa, and it has gotten to the point that we have to import welders from Thailand to fill the gap. By reintroducing welding to the national curriculum and fully equipping teachers with all the support and resources that they require, we are confident of creating and nurturing careers in this field on an industry-wide basis.”
Afrox’s long-term objective is to offer bursaries to matriculants, by entering into partnerships with technical colleges in the Eastern Cape. “By creating awareness among school pupils at a young age, Afrox’s aim is to encourage and promote a career in welding at grassroots level.”
According to Naidu, this welding training initiative will add substantial value to the automotive reliant Eastern Cape market. “At the moment, there is a strong manufacturing presence but a severe lack in skills. By bridging this gap through training, we can ensure that local jobs are created for newly-skilled local residents, thereby ensuring long-term socio-economic prosperity,” she concludes.
Notes to the Editor
There are numerous photographs specific to this press release. Please visit http://media.ngage.co.za and click the Afrox link.
African Oxygen Limited (Afrox) is sub-Saharan Africa’s market leader in gases and welding products. Afrox was founded in 1927, listed on the JSE in 1963, and has prospered by constantly meeting the needs of customers and developing solutions that add value to customer applications. Afrox operates in South Africa and in ten other African countries. It also manages operations in five additional countries on behalf of its parent company, The Linde Group - a global gases, engineering and technology company.