The Automotive Industry Development Centre Eastern Cape (AIDC EC), in partnership with National Treasury's Job Fund is poised to inject fresh engineering skills into the Eastern Cape's strained manufacturing sector.
The AIDC EC, has groomed 44 unemployed engineers for placement into local industry where, according to the organisation, its candidates - during shopfloor training - had assisted manufacturing companies make savings in excess of R4m and identify a further R12m of savings pending implementation.
AIDC EC Department Manager, Hoosain Mahomed says many of the graduates on the AIDC EC's programme are mature, qualified engineering graduates and artisans, who for varied reasons were unemployed.
Mahomed believes the graduates on the AIDC EC Programme have been equipped with critical skills required by industry.
"Industrial production in South Africa has averaged a disappointing 1.47 percent from 2000 to 2015 with negative growth recorded over the past three quarters, skills are required to increase productivity and reduce manufacturing costs,'' Mahomed said.
"Skills that are able to extract gains by reducing costs and increasing income on the shop floor remain critical,'' he says.
While 38 unemployed graduates were employed through phase 1 of the programme, mainly into manufacturing businesses last year, the new candidates, part of Phase 2, are now available to industry.
Mahomed said small and large companies, including Mercedes Benz, Johnson Controls, Kansai Plascon and Bentler SA had employed programme graduates.
"I anticipate all of this year's graduates to be snapped up and to contribute significantly to their new employers,'' Mahomed said.
"Key to the success of the programme is the employability of the up-skilled candidates who pass through the programme'', Mahomed said.
Annually, selected, unemployed candidates are up-skilled and trained by the AIDC EC in both soft and technical skills, including Six Sigma, World Class Manufacturing, Cleaner Production and Total Productive Maintenance and exposed to industry projects for 12 months, before being made available for recruitment to industry.
Candidates are encouraged to complete their practical Six Sigma Green Belt projects within the companies at which they have been placed for shop floor training.
"This not only builds candidate experience but provides suppliers with free expert manpower," Mahomed says.