The National Tooling Initiative Programme (NTIP) celebrated the milestone of handing over the first red-seal toolmaker occupational certificates to 12 graduates last month at the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, in Pretoria.
NTIP is a project management entity under the mandate of multistakeholder initiative Intsimbi National Tooling Initiative.
NTIP initiated the Tool, Die and Mouldmaking- (TDM-) Powered Skills Development Programme to counter skills erosion and job losses hampering the TDM industry. The programme forms part of Intsimbi’s mission, following its establishment in 2009 under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Toolmaking Association of South Africa (Tasa), to implement a turnaround strategy for South Africa’s distressed tooling industry.
DTI director Bonginkosi Mamba said at the event that this intervention was based on the foundation of a new “competency-based system” developed by industry in collaboration with international partners and local skills development stakeholders.
He pointed out that these interventions were aligned to industry needs and standards, thereby providing a completely integrated solution to close the skills gap, from artisan- to engineering-level qualifications, in the TDM sector.
“Training people to be skilled for the tooling industry is of critical importance, as manufacturing is one of the cornerstones of the South African economy, which is facing serious growth challenges,” NTIP CEO Dirk van Dyk said at the event, adding that South Africa had to build its tooling manufacturing capacity to become more competitive globally if the country wanted to create more jobs.
He mentioned that the TDM programme played a pivotal role in providing sufficiently skilled people for the aerospace, automotive, chemicals, electronics, leisure, marine, medical, mining and packaging industries.
Van Dyk added that the programme was a “strategic growth stimulator for manufacturing and technical skills development”, emphasising that it was “a complement to the South African government’s commitment to eradicate poverty and unemployment”.
The 12 candidates who received their Occupational Certificates for Toolmaking would contribute towards adding better workmanship, techniques and high standards of knowledge to the “somewhat stale and old-fashioned” manufacturing industry, he said.
“Our candidates are innovative and can operate independently.”