South African sugar producer Illovo Sugar’s new technical academy located at the Eston sugar mill, in KwaZulu-Natal, will soon see large portions of the company’s agricultural, factory and management personnel attend a combination of intense in-classroom and on-the-job training to deliver Illovo-specific training and development solutions.
This is to address a deficit in critical production and engineering skills across the group to eventually sustain the producer in the future.
This academy campus, which opened in July last year, is able to facilitate up to 50 people in its academic facilities and also has accommodation for 24 delegates. Its location, about 100 m from the Eston factory, allows for alternation between technical lectures and on-the-job training, the main reason for the Eston mill being chosen for the academy.
Eston is also centrally positioned in relation to the other South African mills. It will be easy for employees to travel to other production areas in the area to study specific engineering and production problems and subsequently find solutions.
“Initially, the academy programmes will be aimed at factory foremen and area and farm managers and will be run over an estimated six-week period. Programmes will also be developed for senior supervisors and operators with the intention to introduce apprenticeships for boiler operators and pan boilers,” the company notes.
Academy programmes will not be designed to replace those offered by the South Africa Sugar Association, Sugar Milling Research Institute and the South African Sugarcane Research Institute, but will rather complement training offered by these institutions, with a focus on company- specific requirements.
The academy, which houses two lecture rooms, two work study rooms, a conference room as well as 24 single bedrooms, will also present the opportunity to extend the com- pany’s agricultural programmes to outgrowers. The academy’s facilities will be used for general management and supervisory development programmes and workshops obviating the need to use outside training facilities.
The programmes implemented at the academy are designed to broaden managers’ knowledge and understanding of the operations they manage and to help raise the conceptual knowledge and skill levels required for resolving operational problems and for identifying and implementing operational improvements.