Durban – The Westown Foundation and the Stefanutti Stocks Academy launched the Westown Training Centre, in Shongweni, Durban, on Wednesday.
The aim is to empower residents in the outer west region of Durban.
The 2700m² square metre centre will focus on skills development, education and literacy, and was set up to foster the sustainable participation of the greater Shongweni community in the socio-economic and environmental opportunities that will be created.
The academy’s courses are presented by Stefanutti Stocks’ registered facilitators, assessors, and moderators.
Sean Bergsma, chairperson of the Westown Foundation, said the outer west region of eThekwini Municipality lagged behind many of the province’s regions in terms of development, investment and growth opportunities.
Bergsma said that over the next two years, the training facility, constructed by the Stefanutti Stocks Academy, would provide development and training opportunities for up to 15 qualifying individuals per intake. The aim was for them to accumulate knowledge, gain experience, increase their employability, and get Construction Education and Training Authority (Ceta) certification in specific construction skills.
These include construction hand tools, safety awareness, brick work, plaster, painting, basic concrete, reinforcing and form work training.
A construction plant simulator, equipped with a variety of modules for operator training and staffed by qualified trainers, will give trainees an on-the-job training experience.
It is anticipated that over two years, 60 – 80 operators will qualify and around 500 people will pass through the academy, equipped with the relevant skills to find work in the construction sector within the province, including at Westown.
The managing director of Stefanutti Stocks Coastal Civils Discipline, Matthew Horwill, said Stefanutti Stocks offered development opportunities to people from the community even if they were not directly employed in one of the company’s projects.
The launch of the training centre sees the roll-out of two key book-end projects for the Westown Foundation – education at one end and job creation at the other.
Westown marketing and communication executive Cara Reilly said: “Literacy is not just about the joy of being able to access a world of stories and imagination, it builds the foundation for critical thinking and problem solving that, in turn, develops empowered communities.”
eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, who officially opened the centre on Wednesday, viewed this initiative as a perfect response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s jobs summit call for stakeholders to address unemployment challenges.
“The public and private sector must take concrete steps to bridge the gap between skills and the labour market, including the implementation of mass apprenticeship opportunities for the youth,” Kaunda said.
Kaunda said if businesses and people continued to work together as social partners, the country could address the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality that plagued our society.
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