The 'Decade of the Artisan' is an initiative of South Africa's Department of Higher Education and Training, co-sponsored by the National Skills Fund (NSF) and implemented by the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA).
Some 250 unemployed young people are being trained as electrical and construction engineers, diesel mechanics, boilermakers and fitter and turners on the programme.
After a stringent recruitment process involving over 700 applicants, the learners began their theoretical training at the Northern Cape Rural TVET College in Okiep in May this year. After three months at the college, learners were ready to undergo three months of practical training before returning to college in January 2017.
For many underprivileged young people, further education is a luxury they cannot afford. Vocational training will bridge the gap between skilled and unskilled labour and will help people with better employment opportunities. BMM is fully supportive of the 'Decade of the Artisan' initiative youth and has joined the initiative to provide these aspiring artisans with practical learning opportunities and work experience.
Brian Ontong, Training Manager at BMM said: "We are pleased to host these young learners in their various disciplines at our facility. Our artisans are providing mentorship and training to comply with the highest standards. Vedanta Zinc International is committed to the development and skills training of unemployed youth in the province."
After undergoing rigorous medical testing, 25 learners ̶ one woman and 24 men from the Khai-Ma and Namakwa districts ̶ started their training at BMM at the end of September.
"We hope that this will be a fulfilling and enriching experience for every learner, and that each one will go on to qualify as a competent artisan," said Brian Ontong.