In line with its commitment to develop skills and create jobs, State-owned power utility Eskom’s Contractor Academy saw 58 participants drawn from Mpumalanga, Limpopo, the North West and Gauteng graduate in March this year.
The graduation ceremony celebrated the upskilling of another group of small business owners while marking another year of reinforcing Eskom’s commitment to skills development, job creation and poverty alleviation.
Present at the ceremony, Eskom group CEO Brian Molefe said the development and support of small and medium-sized enterprises is a key catalyst of economic growth in South Africa and Eskom would continue to make a meaningful contribution through the academy to various sectors.
“It is a well-known fact that many small businesses fail within a short period of being established. This is owing to various factors, including a lack of basic business skills for the owners. Through the contractor academy, we aim to encourage entrepreneurship and to empower our local small business owners to realise their potential, become sustainable and create much-needed jobs for others,” he said.
As one of Eskom Development Foundation’s flagship programmes, the academy forms an integral part of the organisation’s commitment to enhancing the quality of life for as many South Africans as possible.
Engineering News reported in March that some 1 000 emerging contractors had, to date, graduated from the Eskom Contractor Academy, which was established in 2009.
The academy is financed by the Eskom Development Foundation, but is supported academically by the University of Limpopo and operated by Edupark, a nonprofit company linked to the university.
The programme consists of eight modules, with students attending a study school for one week a month over an eight-month period. The objective is to equip emerging contractors and suppliers with the entrepreneurial, legislative, management, leadership and technical skills needed to run a business successfully.
The programme has already received domestic recognition from the American Chamber of Commerce and the Oliver Tambo Empowerment Award and has been nominated for the International Education Partnership Network awards, due to take place in Oslo, Norway, in September.
According to top achiever in Mpumalanga, Sebaraboyi Karabo Malele, the training programme not only enhances skills but also equips students to know how to respond to tender opportunities should they arise.
“The programme allows us to directly apply what we have been taught in the classroom. It has been beneficial in that it now increases our chances of being awarded tenders, owing to the fact that we have the knowledge to follow, implement and produce the correct measures of application,” emphasised Malele.
Further, he mentions that completing the programme is only as beneficial as every individual makes it, adding that it is important to make use of the skills obtained instead of returning to one’s circumstances prior to the programme.
Malele concludes that Eskom has been helpful in providing opportunities and, therefore, as a graduate, he encourages other individuals to get involved in the programme and be registered on the database.