11 February 2008
South Africa’s Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) is to set up a centre to develop the technical and technological skills of workers on site, while also providing a small business incubator and simulator laboratories.
To help develop the skills of thousands of workers employed within the IDZ, as well unskilled workers in the wider region, the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has announced plans to set up a training campus on the site outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.
“Preliminary projections for the IDZ show that 2 400 operations personnel will have to be recruited and trained for the commissioning of the investment projects in 2010,” CDC support and business development manager Duncan Grenfell said in a statement last week. “A further projection of 5 200 would be needed between 2011 and 2013.”
At a management meeting last week, the CDC agreed with various partners to take on the project as a way of finding a solution to the skills challenge facing the region.
“The focus will be on mid- to high-level skills, with programmes offered based on short, medium and long term basis predominantly in the engineering and production related sectors,” the CDC said.
It is envisaged that the skills centre will be a comprehensive campus for the development of human capital with the following units: SMME (small, medium and micro enterprises) incubator; science and technology centre; simulator laboratories; lecture-rooms; technical workshops; laboratories; and an assessment centre.
The Coega Human Capital Solutions (HCS) business unit will manage the centre, which can accommodate between 320 and 350 learners at any one time, with the leasing of education and training space to external investors and service providers.
It is envisaged that certain training providers will lease space to run programmes from the skills centre for the IDZ and the region.
Since 2006 the CDC has set an annual target of training close to 1 000 learners in the mechanical and electrical engineering fields, among other training initiatives.
“A centrally located skills development centre that brings together expertise in infrastructure and services that can be used collectively by employers in the IDZ will make an attractive value proposition to the IDZ,” said the CDC.
The interest that is being shown in the Coega is already a case in point. The investment value of the IDZ is shortly to reach R30-billion, while direct employment with investors is due to reach 7 000 by 2011.