SA’s Gigaba Looks To Women To Fill Skills Gap

SA’s Gigaba Looks To Women To Fill Skills Gap

Women are especially needed to fill the skills gap in the South African economy, said Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba.

In an interview recorded at Transnet Engineering School and published on SABC, Gigaba explained the need and gave more information about the program.

In a partnership between Transnet and the National Skills Fund, 1,000 students are being trained in welding and other artisan skills. Very few of the 1,000 are women, however. Since 42 of the 1,000 have dropped out over complaints about the stipend, there is increased effort to fill those vacancies with women.

“Among the trainees we have, we do not have sufficient young women,” said Gigaba. “We are going to go out and recruit women from all over the country.”

Gigaba also explained how the Transnet program was initiated.

“We had said to the state-owned companies three years ago that they need to train for the national pool, not only for their own parochial needs. Some of them did not have sufficient funding to be able to do that. So we said to the National Skills Fund, we will be able to do more than what our resources allow us to do (with their help).”

Transnet will be spending $7.6 billion rand – $760 million – on training, putting money into the economy, said Gigaba, and the National Skills Fund will help it do more.

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“This is an exciting project for us because it provides us an opportunity to contribute to the national pool of skills…to fill in the skills gap in the economy but also in our state-owned companies. So we can localize our skills…Instead of importing them from abroad, we are now training them for ourselves,” he said.

Three new partnerships have also been signed with the country’s Further Education and Training Colleges, Gigaba said.

“As we implement our infrastructure rollout, we need to localize and industrialize our economy…we need to bring in more technical expertise to help address these industrialization challenges,” said Gigaba. He hopes that more of this new technical expertise will come from South African young women.