Johannesburg - Transnet Port Terminals launched its enterprise development programme in Durban yesterday in partnership with Bosch to empower female entrepreneurs in the engineering field.

The programme will upskill women in the engineering sector who in future will be able to provide engineering services, such as repairs and maintenance, supply of equipment, plumbing repairs and installation to Transnet and other companies.

The two-year Singakwenza Kwenzeke project will cost Transnet about R3 million and will assist about 20 small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME) operating in the engineering sector. The programme will be carried out in partnership with Bosch Ulwazi, an engineering academy that is a subsidiary of engineering solutions company Bosch.

Bosch Ulwazi provides services to organisations in the areas of skills development, enterprise development, socio- economic development and human resources, among others.

The first year will see the SMMEs trained in meeting standard requirements that firms look for in qualifying stages, including adherence to regulations, labour laws and safety and environmental requirements.

“This will include meeting the requirements of statutory bodies, as well as having the systems and equipment to run the business efficiently,” Transnet said.

Through different business chambers and other enterprise development programme, Transnet had conducted a search to identify these 20 women-led companies from KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.

Ntombeziningi Shezi, the procurement general manager at Transnet Port Terminals, said this project would bridge the shortage of skills in black women-owned engineering firms. “It is an extremely ambitious goal, but with dedicated purpose it is not one that is outside of reach,” she said.

Michael Gibbon, the chief executive of Bosch, said South Africa had in the past faced a challenge finding skilled engineers, especially black engineers. “Through the Bosch Ulwazi training foundation, these business leaders will come out carefully mentored and with a good foundation.”

He said Bosch had over 400 qualified in-house engineers who could impart their knowledge to smaller businesses. - Business Report