Eastcape Training Centre celebrates 40 years of delivering skills to business

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - OCTOBER 10, 2016

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the Eastcape Training Centre (ETC) has grown from humble beginnings to be the dynamic Further Education and Training (FET) institution that it has become. Along the way, it has equipped thousands with artisanal skills that have benefited local companies and the economy.

“The ETC was founded in 1976 during South Africa’s most turbulent apartheid years and was one of the first training institutions to break down racial barriers in the workplace,” described Mr Randall Jonas, the Chief Executive Officer at the college.

“The various stakeholders acknowledged that the skills levels required to enhance the viability of the growing local industry were virtually non-existent and ETC was established under the motto ‘ETC trains all’.

“The then-Port Elizabeth city council made land available for ETC to purchase. Initial funders were the Building industries Federation and Civil Engineering Training Board and the State. Leaders of the burgeoning manufacturing and construction industry formed the founding board governors of the ETC.”

Today, ETC provides skills in a variety of disciplines - from carpentry to catering, construction, health and safety as well as electrical and mechanical engineering, from management to service level.

Jonas said that some of the highlights over the past few years include winning the prestigious Investors in People Award along with other leading South African companies such as BMW and SAB, among others; scooping three national awards as the leading private tertiary training institution in the country and being accorded the status of a decentralised Trade Test Centre (building and construction).

A few years ago, it rebranded to ‘make it with a trade’ – a strategy that focuses on advancing artisanal skills development as key in economic and unemployment challenges. This strategy started with its Vision 2020 project, which was initiated in 2009. 

About its greatest contribution to the local economy, Jonas said: “We have consistently been the training institution of choice for individuals and organisations - equipping hundreds of thousands of individuals with the gift of skills to enhance their careers and contribute significantly to the performance of their companies (employers).

“The ETC Way is unique and, as an industry training centre with its impressive infrastructure and highly qualified staff and solid values, we offer business and the community a one- stop shop for quality training solutions to boost performance.”

While several external factors, including the slowdown in the economy, which has seen companies cutting back on skills development, and intense competition from publicly funded FET colleges, have impacted on their operations, Jonas said that in the next 40 years, the college will still be the leading private training institution and the hub of artisan skills development in the country.

There are also plans to expand the unique ETC business model throughout the major metropolitan areas.