NGO training support: Mama Afrika
Launched in 2004, the Clover Mama Afrika or Ukwakha Isizwe (building and nurturing our nation) social upliftment project currently has 31 “mamas” running successful care centres throughout South Africa. These care centres care for more than 10 500 children and 2 500 elderly citizens, many of whom are orphans, abused victims, homeless or infected with HIV/Aids. Clover empowers the mamas with skills such as cooking, baking, sewing, crocheting, business management and food gardening. They are then supplied with the necessary tools, equipment and infrastructure to create an income for their communities. With FoodBev SETA’s support, 10 mamas have gone through an intensive week-long course covering cake baking, -decorating and marketing the finished product.
Skilled job creation: The Delheim Wines Case Study
Initially, says Victor Sperling of Delheim Wines, eight unemployed learners were taken on and all completed their programmes successfully. However, says Victor, it was a little ambitious for a first attempt. “We realized that it would be more manageable to have fewer learners, as accommodating several new people in the cellar is a sizeable challenge.
“Also, we learnt the importance of preparing our own staff for the intake of new people to alleviate any threat they may feel. The first group of learners, being unemployed, had to integrate with our permanent staff, who are fully functional in their areas.”
In 2008, a further four learners were enrolled, this time Delheim employees identified for advancement. “At Delheim, we're committed to empowering our people through accredited training, to give them the knowledge, skills and understanding that enable them to contribute effectively to the business, whilst becoming more motivated and confident in their work,” says Victor. “Agriculture, specifically the wine industry, needs skilled and trained workers to ensure its cost effectiveness and competitiveness.”
Three of the learners are studying for an NQF 3 certificate in winemaking. The fourth learner is working towards an NQF 1 certificate in botany (viticulture). Victor stresses that the enrolment of learners is one thing, but completion of programmes is the real measure of success. Many companies in the food and beverage manufacturing sector are struggling with this aspect of skills development.
With all eight of the first learner intake having completed their programmes, Delheim has some experience in achieving this. Victor puts it down to a combination of incentives, regular follow-ups and personal involvement by management. “Our learners had to give feedback to colleagues and supervisors after each lesson. Our supervisors constantly kept an eye on the learners and they were questioned if they missed a lesson.”
Training manager Santie Basson adds: “The support of both employer and service provider plays an important role in the successful completion of qualifications. Learner support is essential. For example, our viticulture learner Sebina Prins is provided with transport to attend classes, her manager spends time with her after lectures to answer any questions, which gives her a greater understanding of the subject matter. Her workload will be taken into account once she starts studying for assessments. However, it is also the responsibility of the lecturers to ensure that the students stay motivated and focused, and understand the content fully.”
With all that's been learnt to date, Delheim is not stopping now. “We will continue to identify learners with the potential to participate in learnerships, as the process benefits all concerned,” says Victor. “Companies that are not yet involved should seriously consider learnerships. To ignore training at this level will ultimately have a negative impact on the business.”
New Venture Creation Training
The FoodBev SETA New Venture Creation initiative, aimed at equipping aspirant entrepreneurs with the essential skills to run a business and ensuring the sustainability of those businesses, has been an overwhelming success. These testimonials from learners who have set up enterprises speak for themselves:
Before FoodBev SETA offered me support, I didn't have much purpose or direction. I was not worried about updating my CV and applying for employment, as I believed business was for older people. I did not think I'd be starting a business anytime soon. When I attended the new venture creation programme at Durban University of Technology I didn't realise it would lead to job creation for me and the opportunity of a lifetime. I attended workshops on management early this year organised by FoodBev SETA. I now have a braai trolley, and a vision. I know where I am going and speak the language of business. FoodBev SETA came at the right time to mentor me and encourage me to register and run a successful business. I would like to thank FoodBev SETA for helping me to change my life. Viva FoodBev SETA, viva.
— Sizwe Alpha Sabela
When FoodBev SETA approached me late last year, I had no business and no money to start one. I was on the food and beverage project conducted by Jobworx in Durban in 2007. We were advised by the training provider to register our businesses, and prepare our company profiles and business plans. It was difficult at first because I did not know where to start. Then Khotso (Ndjwili-Potele) from FoodBev SETA visited us early this year and promised to assist with mentoring, support, business plans, marketing, financial management and linkages to financial institutions such as Umsobomvu Youth Fund and Seda for assistance. Workshops were organised by FoodBev SETA for us as young entrepreneurs to sharpen our skills and our knowledge of running a small business. I registered my business, Tobycee Trading Enterprise cc, in March 2009 with the help of FoodBev SETA. I am now operating two businesses – one is a salon and the other one is a franchise selling braaied chicken. Thanks to the SETA, I am financially secure and very happy. Keep up the good work.
— Nontobeko Chili
I attended new venture creation classes in Middelburg, one of the poorest areas in the country. My interest was catering and I learnt many things about operating a small business. FoodBev SETA organised workshops for us for business registration and financial management, and helped set up linkages with financial institutions. I would like to thank Foodbev SETA for this opportunity for upliftment in our poor community. My company is called Thandolwethu and Lihle's Catering. I can proudly call myself a businesswoman and I see myself going somewhere. Thanks a million FoodBev SETA.
— Winnie Mahlangu
The annual Intervarsity Brewing event is the only competition of its kind in the world. Its origins date back to 2003 following SAB Prospecton’s brewery sponsorship of a micro-brewery at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pietermaritzburg campus. Since then the brewer has gone on to sponsor nine other micro-breweries at universities around the country.
Besides being great fun and giving participants a chance to apply existing skills, it aims to create and interest in brewing among university students. It is also an example of how the brewing industry, accredited qualifications bodies and universities work together to promote the development of skills.
Additional support for the contest comes from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) and FoodBev SETA who award bursaries to the winning students to further their brewing science and technology careers.
Small businesses benefiting from skills development: The Fruits du Sud Case Study
Fruits du Sud was founded in 2002 in the rural community of Bloemsmond in Northern Cape, the heart of the finest raisin producing area in the Orange River region of southern Africa. Having identified a gap in the export market, the company's founders, Eric Mills and Riël Gresse, realised that matching their expertise in the industry with constant training and development of employees, more than 80% of whom have not completed secondary education, was the key to its success.
As a Haccp certificated company, it is committed to ongoing training of staff in hygiene and safety procedures and systems. It has a 'student' enrolled on the FoodBev leadership and management development programme (LMDP). During 2008/09, no fewer than 60 training interventions were
conducted, encompassing a wide range of skills, from cleaning and sanitation to intake of raw materials. That's not a bad record for a company that is operational for 10 months of the year, employs only 23 permanent employees and whose entire focus is on one core, or pip, business – raisins: golden sultana, Thompson and Orange River.
At the heart of the skills upliftment effort is a training and development committee, which coordinates with management and the internal skills development facilitator (SDF) the training interventions needed each year. Says production and training manager Amos Boltman: “Apart from the skills interventions in terms of our Haccp accreditation, the committee monitors the production process, and quality and management systems to identify short- and longterm needs for new systems, job positions or interventions for current job descriptions well in advance. “Ultimately, the success of the training is evaluated by what the individual brings to his department or job position that leads to the greater success of the company.” To limit the barriers to successful training, management ensures that trainees are driven to all courses delivered offsite. Feedback sessions are held with each learner post-training and evaluation sessions are conducted, including written tests, verbal assessments or on-the-job evaluations.
In 2009, 79 seasonal staff were trained in basic communication, conflict resolution, HIV/Aids awareness and substance abuse. Although these skills have been taught on an ad hoc basis in the past, they are now an integral part of the company's induction programme, which covers also production, technical and quality aspects and Haccp training. In addition to a jam-packed training schedule, Fruits du Sud is working towards becoming a FoodBev accredited provider and hopes to achieve this within two years. “Our aim is to become a benchmark company in the raisin industry and our focus will remain on furthering knowledge and skills on goal setting and performance measurement, and on enhancing our performance for increased profits.” In keeping with this philosophy of continuous improvement, Fruits du Sud has taken heed of the assessment it received from the Department of Labour in the department's judging of the good practice awards winners of 2008, has improved its performance where it could and has subsequently walked away with the 2009 award.
Page Created: Tuesday, March 16, 2010