Last month I wrote about how the world is not going to wait for South Africa to ‘get ready’ for the new technology wave. Rather, it’s a matter of South Africa being prepared or being replaced by other African countries that have made themselves ready.
This month, I’m writing about contributions to our Skills Fund, which will enable contributors to obtain optimal B-BBEE points, while at the same time creating the possibility for industry to negotiate with education and training providers to supply ‘products’ (skilled young people) who can join our industry properly equipped to tackle the jobs at hand. In this regard, the SAIMC has initiated plans to empower those who are interested and willing to prepare themselves for the future and this will be done via an integrated Education and Training Plan.
As part of addressing the severe skills shortage in the South African automation industry, the SAIMC plans to provide bursaries to students in fields of study related to automation and manufacturing, as of January 2021, with preference for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Society plans to implement this bursary programme, a first of its kind, to advance our efforts to launch the Qualification in Mechatronics at institutions of higher learning, to enhance the vision to develop our industry. Furthermore, through this programme, the Society will ensure the bursary spend of members is effectively channelled into creating a talent pool of graduates that meet the industry’s requirement for skills.
The programme will provide financial and social support, mentorship, coaching and other related upskilling interventions to young people with the aim of increasing their access to skills development and lowering drop-out rates. Included in the programme will be an entrepreneurial option for candidates who show business acumen.
As SAIMC members, your financial support is required for this industry transformation vision. Members are encouraged to contribute their skills development budget into the SAIMC Education Trust. The allocation of funds will be aligned to the members’ B-BBEE, Skills Development requirements. The bursary programme administration will include the skills development scorecard determination, allocation of funds in line with scorecard EAP targets and collection and filing of all verification documentation. Additional services to members include scorecard determination, advice and monthly reporting. Each SAIMC member will receive bespoke services to meet their B-BBEE requirements, which will be billed in line with the scope of work.
Further effort to develop the industry will be through sponsorship for the FIRST Technology Challenge and other similar initiatives, as well as career guidance for identified high schools. These opportunities will serve as a recruitment platform for the bursary programme. The recommendation is for organisations to make available their socio-economic development budget to fund this process.
SAIMC members and other sponsors may donate their skills development funds into the SAIMC Education Trust. The skills development and socio-economic development donations made to the Trust will be recognised by the B-BBEE Verification Agency as recognised expenditure for the listed elements. The programme will be expanded to upskill certain beneficiaries with entrepreneurship skills through enterprise and supplier development.
The SAIMC will source additional funding from other entities as follows: engineering automotive industry donations, DHET, SETA discretionary funds, NSF, other state skills development funding initiatives, National Treasury Jobs Fund, SEDA and donations through private industry.
Yours in automation, Johan Maartens.
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