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From lives that seemed hopeless, to providing much-needed scarce skills to industry in SA

May 22, 2018
From lives that seemed hopeless, to providing much-needed scarce skills to industry in SA

The stories of Gift Mogwasi and Lerato Dorah Modisakeng are perfect examples of how a life that seems hopeless, can be turned into one that is full of possibility. These two inspirational individuals have recently completed top qualifications through the TISO Foundation Artisanal Development Programme, offered in partnership between the TISO Foundation and the Artisan Training Institute (ATI). The aim of this programme is to provide training for disadvantaged members of our youth who otherwise would not have the opportunity for further tertiary education. “Both Gift and Lerato illustrated the key qualities and values that we search for in new learners,” enthuses Bridget Shibambu, General Manager of Programmes at TISO Foundation. “And that is professionalism and determination to succeed.”

Neither Gift, nor Lerato disappointed, as they both graduated from the programme with flying colours. Gift qualified as an electrician in August 2017. What inspired him to apply for this particular qualification, is the fact that he grew up in a village that had no electricity at all. For this reason, he wanted to learn all about it, so that he could return to his community and give them the gift of electricity.

He was determined to also create a better life for himself and those dear to him. To this end, he took every opportunity to complete as many internships as possible, to improve his knowledge and experience in the field. As a result, he is now employed as a technician by the Rand West City Local Municipality. Says Gift: “I have not only learnt so much through this programme, but it has also enriched my life. His advice? “I will advise any young person who gets such an opportunity to be willing to learn and to study hard.”

Lerato’s world was also clouded by the harsh realities of unemployment and the programme set her on a path to self-empowerment and financial freedom. Lerato was employed as an electrical assembler at Bombardier Transportation South Africa very soon after she qualified. “The TISO Artisan Development Programme prepared me very well for my career, as it enabled me to also implement my theoretical knowledge in practise,” she says. She hopes that her story will serve as a message of hope and would like to encourage other members of the youth who are unemployed to never give up but remain hungry for opportunity.

South Africa’s current economic climate, accelerated economic development and increase in infrastructure investment, calls for significantly more such trained and qualified artisans. However, the lack of appropriate training, due to legacy issues of the country, has left a substantial gap in the market which in turn has resulted in less individuals graduating from artisanal programmes. “Alleviating this issue and providing alternate forms of skills development to youth, was one of the reasons why the TISO Foundation initiated this artisan development programme,” states Shibambu. “The other key issue we aim to address is to reduce youth unemployment, and assist young people to become economically active members of society.”

The Artisan Development Programme was established in 2009. TISO Foundation chose ATI as its training provider, not only because of its broad accreditations with the SETA’s, but also because it has a sterling record of providing exceptional quality technical training in the engineering trades.

Beneficiaries of the programme are black youth who are between 18 and 34 years of age. They are selected through a strict assessment process to determine trainability and attitude. They are then directed into the trade best suited to their aptitude and capabilities.

The chosen candidates are first enrolled for six months of institutional technical training at ATI. Upon completion, they are placed in an 18-month apprenticeship with a quality employer. During this on-the-job period of their training they get to practice and hone their skills, preparing them for the final assessment - trade test. Thereafter, they return to the ATI to for revision before being trade tested to qualify as an artisan.

To date the partnership has seen a total of 300 learners’ complete qualifications in fitting and turning, boiler making, welding and the electrical trades. “What is most encouraging about it, is that many of the newly qualified artisans have almost immediately been employed by the companies where they have completed their apprenticeships,” enthuses Sean Jones, MD of the ATI. “This is very much in line with a trend that we have noticed in industry; which is that quality artisanal qualifications provide fast access to the job market, better remuneration, and promising future career prospects. For this reason, we firmly believe that the continued development of quality vocational skills, and artisan qualifications specifically, hold the potential to substantially alleviate the issue of youth unemployment in our country.”

For more information on the TISO Foundation Artisanal Development Programme or to apply for enrolment, candidates may visit  http://tisofoundation.co.za/ or contact Lanae Erasmus at the ATI on (011) 472 3443 or LErasmus@artisantraining.co.za.

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