South Africa has the third highest unemployment rate in Africa – experts say specialist skills training is what people need to find, and keep, jobs.
Inadequate skills development is one of the biggest problems facing the South African economy already hampered by service-delivery protests, power outages and high levels of unemployment.
Yet youngsters continue to upskill in industries where they are less needed, leaving the engineering, nursing, trade and built environment sectors with big skills shortages.
In 2014, statistician-general for Statistics South Africa, Pali Lehohla said the country’s skills development does not match the demands of employers across the private and public sectors. He said the demand for skilled workers would grow and that there was a need for relevant skills development programmes.
“Specialist skills training is not only important for individuals, but for their companies as well,” said Desiree Lang, manager of Afroteq, a professional training academy offering specialist services to the built environment sector since 2000.
The company is recognised as an industry leader in facilities management, an unrecognised sector for many years.
Afroteq’s flagship course, Introduction to Facilities Management begins in March 2015 and Lang said it provides medium and senior managers with an introduction to facilities management and how it can benefit any company or business.
She said many company executives are unaware of the difference proper facilities management can make to the day-to-day running of a business.
“For a long time there was no training or recognition for facilities managers as key managers and there was no concept of making it part of the business strategy. Now people are beginning to realise that facilities management is actually essential and crucial to making a company run more efficiently and cost-effectively,” Lang said.
Afroteq is a division of Arcus Facilities Management Solutions (Pty) Ltd and over the past 15 years has trained many facilities managers, building managers, supervisors, as well as interior designers and project managers.
While there are many training institutes and schools offering skills training across South Africa, not all are accredited or affiliated with appropriate industry bodies.
Lang said Afroteq has distinguished itself from the rest by being a SETA accredited training provider, an integral part of the industry body SAFMA and is in in the process of registering with the Department of Education. Participants also earn CPD points from SAFMA when attending any of these courses.
“Yes, people need skills. But we are not talking any skills. People need qualifications and recognised skills training from accredited institutes. In this way they can plough back what they have learnt directly into the workplace; for the benefit of the employee, the company and the SA economy,” Lang said.