Manpower group to facilitate labour sourcing

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Africa has been attracting a lot of attention of late. Despite obvious problems in many countries and some instability issues, it continues to be seen as a market for future growth by many industries.

The energy sector has been in Africa for many years already but as energy requirements in Africa and around the world increase and with new fossil fuels being discovered around the continent there is an increased move of companies into the continent.

South Africa, along with Nigeria, are viewed as doorways into the rest of the continent and as the "powerhouse of Africa?, South Africa sees many companies opening their business here with the aim to further expand into the continent.As one of the world leading recruitment agencies, Manpower.

South Africa has seen vast fluctuations in the local employment sector effect labour and managed services to various businesses setting up operations in South Africa.

The most recent of these being Haldor Topsoe from Denmark which set up their regional office in Cape Town. The relocation is a part of the establishment of a subsidiary in Africa and an important strategic step in the process of getting close to the African market for Haldor Topsoe.

Successful operation in African countries requires local knowledge and dedicated involvement in local communities.

"It?s not sufficient to have the best product in the market. In Africa you build your success on relations, mutual understanding and investments in the community,' says Managing Director - Helge Rosenberg.Since the 1990?s Topsøe has delivered process technology and catalyst for industrial plants to South Africa. Now, as part of corporate strategy to expand its activities in Africa, Haldor Topsøe is planning also to focus on the emerging markets in West and East Africa.

"Cape Town is currently developing a higher degree of Oil and Gas and petrochemical employment opportunities, spurred on predominantly by two catalysts. Firstly, the development of the South Coast offshore infrastructure starting in the late 1980s led to the establishment significant South African capacity to fabricate and provide a variety of technical services to the industry.

Many of the global service companies also established South African operations to service these developments. Secondly, the explosive growth of the West African oilfields has attracted many local firms into the market and South Africa is now a significant supplier of services and equipment to West Africa,' says Lyndy Van Den Barselaar - Managing Director for Manpower Group South Africa.

"Most recently, we?ve also had the development and expansion of the Saldhana port, to support the energy and Oil and Gas industry.

This project alone is set to create an estimated 12 thousand jobs over the first 2 phases. We expect to see movement on this project from Q4 2012 into Q1 2013. South Africa remains a largely unexplored region in which there have been only modest, mainly gas, discoveries to date.

Nevertheless, current upstream interest is high and we anticipate a significant increase in the amount of upstream activity over the next few years. We are seeing positions opening up for Engineers that come out of petrochemical environments, plant design engineers, risk engineers and engineers with capability and experience in marketing.

There is also a great need for welders, riggers, boilermakers, pipefitters and other high-demand trade skills,' continues Barselaar. Some of the problems being faced however are finding the right equity candidates with the right skills, which are aligned with global standards.

A critical training issue for South African industry is the conflict between local qualification standards and the global training standards used by the Oil and Gas industry.

The Skills Programme has an important role to play in helping local companies understand the global industry qualification requirements and working with South African education institutions and qualification authorities to harmonize curricula.

"Artisans continue to be of huge short supply, South Africa does not have enough qualified and experienced candidates to fill the positions opening up in Cape Town. There is a huge focus by the South African Oil and Gas Alliance (SAOGA) on skills development.

The focus areas are artisan training, up-skilling, adoption of global standards and development of a cluster training facility. In the case of the Saldhana Port Development, it was noted in the feasibility study, that in the construction phase, many skills would most likely be imported globally, with an intention to use this platform to transfer skills, as part of the up-skilling program.

"Were seeing many of the global companies come to Manpower in search of specific requirements. Manpower has an excellent fill rate in the petrochemical industry, we have an excellent track record in sourcing and finding the right type of candidates - although they are scarce, we have excellent sourcing strategies. Manpower adopts a sophisticated search and select sourcing strategy, and we use our network of influence.

Our clients require a global partner who understands their business. It is also many companies like Haldor Topsoe?s objective to expand into Africa, and Manpower are aligned with this objective.'

Haldor Topsoe?s current scope is for start-up positions and then to grow their labour base from there. The move is a strategic one for the company and is a part of the establishment of a subsidiary in Africa and an important strategic step in the process of getting close to the African market.

Successful operation in African countries requires local knowledge and dedicated involvement in local communities.

Cape Town also provides good port and Oil and Gas industry support, especially for the Ivory Coast."As more global businesses start moving into Africa through South Africa we will find that sourcing the correct skills that are aligned to the global standards and equity candidates will become increasingly difficult.

It is vital that South Africa have programs and a solid skills development programs for the industry in order to take advantage of the employment opportunities this will present,' concludes Barselaar.

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