EBDA has been selected as the preferred training provider for a project supported by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) and the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.
Piet Pistorius, Academy Manager explained the background: “The social and economic woes that beset South Africa are well-known,” said Piet. “Although the official unemployment figure is 25%, it is believed that the real figure is much higher when taking into account those citizens who have given up on prospects of a job and are no longer actively seeking employment. “This is as much a problem in our local municipality – the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality – as in other parts of the country,” Piet explained. “Ekurhuleni officials decided to address the underlying causes of these social and economic ills by conducting a survey in its area of jurisdiction.”
The results demonstrated that rates of unemployment, alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, prostitution, as well as a high pregnancy rate were prevalent, particularly among women in the 18 to 35 year age group. In an attempt to make positive changes within this environment, the municipality – together with the MQA and the DMR – came up with the women’s artisans skills project (Wasp) which, if successful, will be rolled out country-wide in areas experiencing similar problems.
To co-incide with what has come to be known as women’s month (Women’s Day is on 9 August), a briefing session held in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni on Saturday 31 August 2013 and attended by officials from the municipality, the MQA, the DMR and EBDA, Minister Susan Shabangu of the DMR was among those who addressed the women. The briefing was also attended by the women who have been selected to participate in the project. These individuals were identified from a pool of potential candidates, after assessment by EBDA. The 50 women who have been selected will be enrolled across various mining-related trades (fitting and machining, electrical, boilermaking and millwright).
EBDA has the reputation of producing quality artisans and has a 100% trade test pass rate. Said Piet: “Although EBDA has been operating for less than five years, we have already established a sound track record in the training sector. Our selection to run this programme demonstrates our credibility with the MQA and its growing corporate client base in the mining industry. EBDA’s success is a testament to the commitment and dedication of our trainers, and to the support provided by DRDGOLD which has provided funding of some R35 million to date.”
The Wasp – to be funded by the MQA – is not without its challenges.
A potential concern regarding the rollout of the programme relates to EBDA and Ergo Mining’s capacity to host the learners for their practical on-the-job training. As a result, the DMR and the MQA have undertaken to communicate with the entire levy-paying mining sector to identity mining companies that can collaborate with EBDA on the placement of learners for their practical training. Piet is pleased with this strategy as it will provide EBDA with valuable exposure within the mining industry and assist in cementing relationships between DRDGOLD’s Ergo and the DMR.
DRDGOLD CEO Niël Pretorius said the EBDA team had worked hard to establish the EBDA brand. “Although we initially founded EBDA to develop our own employees and to empower the members of our local communities, our broader vision was always to become the preferred business and skills development institution in Gauteng and possibly even in South Africa,” said Pretorius.“Strategically, EBDA’s selection to head up this project will make a huge contribution to addressing barriers to entry for women in the mining sector – an issue that is high on the agenda of the Mining Charter. The socio-economic impact on the communities from which the learners are drawn will also be positively affected,” he concluded.
The learnership agreements have been drawn up and the 50 women began their training on 1 October 2013.
EBDA was established by DRDGOLD Limited in 2009 as a training academy. The aim of the initiative was to raise education standards and provide opportunities for employees and community members to acquire additional skills.