Diamond miner De Beers’ Venetia mine, in partnership with contracting partner BMH Africa, on April 23 launched a programme to develop skills in the construction industry and ultimately enhance the local skills base.
The programme, which is part of De Beers Group’s Socio-Economic Development strategy in Venetia mine’s host communities of Musina and Blouberg, aims to support skills development and job creation for 150 construction workers that will be employed on the mine’s accommodation projects.
The programme, which will be implemented over a period of 24 months, is targeted at three skills levels.
Level 1 is a semiskilled short course programme, which aims to increase the resource pool of semiskilled construction workers by formalising their skills through the attendance of short skills courses and a formal skills assessment.
Level 2 is a semiskilled accredited programme, which aims to assist construction workers with some form of previous training to complete the artisan trade test and qualify as an artisan in terms of South African legislation.
Level 3 is a practical training programme, which provides an opportunity for existing technical and vocational education and training (TVET) students to complete a portion of their practical training through employment at one of Venetia mine’s accommodation projects.
Some of the students may qualify to complete the artisan trade test and qualify as an artisan.
“This project we are launching today highlights our commitment to the development of our host community, with particular focus on the youth. What we recognise is the importance of working with our contractor partners to ensure that the projects we implement have scale and touch the lives of as many of our host communities as possible.
“We are proud to have partners such as BMH Africa, who share our values and is committed to walking with us in shaping a better future for our host communities. This approach is very much in line with our Building Forever Framework, which is our commitment to create a positive legacy that will endure well beyond the recovery of our last diamond,” said De Beers Group Managed Operations MD Mpumi Zikalala.
The skills development programme will also identify and train personnel in various construction skills.
This will include a literacy assessment to determine the ability of prospective learners, occupational health and safety training where learners will obtain a firm understanding on how to achieve a zero harm mindset through safe working procedures and the transfer and formalisation of construction skills.
“The good news for our people is that the construction of the accommodation project will also provide job opportunities and the development of skills to the locals. This will help our people, especially the youth, to become independent and be able to stand on their own after the project is completed,” said Musina local municipality acting mayor Jeremiah Khunwana.
Through this project, construction workers, who are mostly young people, will be equipped with skills and a verifiable record of training and employment. This will allow them to apply for future job opportunities on other projects at the Venetia mine or in other sectors.