“It is so good to be able to report some very positive and exciting news for members of the ECA(SA)” said National ECA (SA) Director Chris Greager.
On 16 October 2012 a formal function was held at the offices of the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) at which the ECA(SA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the CETA, and entered into a contract in which it will finance three of four Special Projects we submitted to it to the value of R4 050 500.
- To pay the training and trade testing costs of 100 apprentices to undertake Modules 0 – 3 and 4 – 6 at CETA accredited or recognised training centres – R3 330 500;
- To pay the training costs of 25 Electrical Construction Operator 2 ( Elconop 2) and 25 Electrical Construction Operator 3 (Elconop 3) learners to attend CETA accredited or recognised training centres to undertake the necessary modular training to enable them to qualify and be promoted to the higher level – R600 000; and
- To purchase and take ownership of the Electrician (Construction) Training Manuals developed by experts on behalf of the ECA(SA) so that the standard and quality of training provided to apprentices will become standardised throughout the country – R120 000.
This contract was the culmination of a press conference held in March this year at which the ECA(SA) was very critical about the non-performance of both the Construction SETA and the Energy & Water SETA under which we previously fell. There was wide publicity about this “scandal”, and our Attorneys also communicated with the Minister of Higher Education and Training threatening legal action if nothing was done to address the lack of training taking place in the Industry.
The criticism was taken very seriously by the CETA and led to numerous meetings taking place to address the problems we had raised. These included outstanding trade test certificates for apprentices who had successfully passed their final trade tests; apprenticeship contracts which were awaiting formal registration; outstanding grants to employers; and the lack of financial incentives to employers to encourage them to indenture and train apprentices and upgrade their Elconop employees. Most of these issues have been successfully resolved, and the few outstanding issues are being addressed with the promise that they will be resolved shortly.
The function commenced with the Acting CEO, Ms Sonja Pilusa, stating that we were there because of the persistence of the ECA(SA) in fighting for what it believed was right, and that was access to funds to allow its members to provide much needed training in the Industry. She said that the CETA was empowered to authorise further projects in the future, and he hoped that this would be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.
In response, the President of the ECA (SA), Mark Mfikoe, thanked the CETA for fulfilling its promises which had been given following the press conference, but hoped that the projects which had been approved were just the start, and that future contracts would be even bigger. He requested that the projects be monitored from both sides as both the CETA and the ECA(SA) had to fulfil their contractual obligations contained in the contract.
Chris Greager said that it was unfortunate about the lengths the ECA (SA) had had to go to achieve our objective of getting training going in the Industry once more, but it was possibly one of the strategically wisest things we had done because it had resulted in all concerned sitting up and noticing the dysfunctionality we had been facing for a long time.
The Administrator, Mr Themba Mhambi, agreed that because of our earlier conflict a shared agenda had been developed which was for the good of the Industry as well as the CETA. He then took everyone present by total surprise and announced that in view of the confidence he had in the ECA(SA) fulfilling its contractual obligations, he was immediately INCREASING THE VALUE OF THE CONTRACT TO R10 MILLION. This he did in terms of the powers vested in him by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, and because he felt that the number of persons to be trained was far greater than had been provided for in the contract.
Following this unexpected and welcome announcement, it was agreed that we should proceed with the signing of the contract as presented, but that the ECA(SA) will submit amendments to the projects to cover the additional R5 949 500. They would then be added to the contract as an addendum.
Although the CETA conceded that there are certain difficulties insofar as the Electrical Contracting Industry is concerned, we were requested to try and achieve the allocations stipulated by the CETA, which are that 40% of the learners for the projects be female, and 2% people with disabilities.
It is hoped that all members will welcome this development, and will participate in the training of apprentices and elconops. Should we fulfil our contractual obligations, which I am confident we will, we will be able to access further funds in the future to ensure that all of our skills needs never reach critical levels again.
Those members who now wish to indenture apprentices, or upgrade their Elconop 1 and 2 employees, must contact their Regional Director who will provide the necessary information, application forms etc. We anticipate many coming forward, so please act quickly to ensure that the projects are not oversubscribed.
More Info: http://www.ecasa.co.za
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ECA (SA) President, Mark Mfikoe Photographer: ECA (SA)