The Training Division of Plastics SA is one of the Associations within the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector to be awarded a discretionary grant by merSETA to train and upskill retrenched workers from the plastics industry.
“Recent events this past year such as the COVID-19 pandemic, riots and the economic downturn had a devastating impact on companies around the country. Unfortunately, the plastics manufacturing industry was not spared. Many factories were forced to close their doors or scale down their operations, which left many staff members unemployed and without an income. Our focus with the Retrenchment Assistance Programme (RAP) is to make these workers more employable and attractive to future employers by enrolling them in learnerships and skills programmes,” says Kirtida Bhana, Training Executive at Plastics SA.
According to a Memorandum of Agreement signed between Plastics SA and merSETA, 156 learners will be funded to enrol for Learnerships and 84 learners to enrol for Skills Programmes that will be offered at Plastics SA’s regional training offices in Midrand (Gauteng), Maitland (Western Cape) and Pinetown (KwaZulu-Natal). Learners will be equipped with in-demand technical manufacturing skills while they earn stipends for the duration of their training.
“We have already enrolled our first group of learners and the feedback received from them has been fantastic. Most of them have years of workplace experience, but were lacking the academic qualification and certification they needed to advance their careers.
Apart from enjoying being back in circulation and part of the industry again, they are hugely appreciative of the opportunity to gain exposure to new techniques and skills that enhance their resumés and employment prospects,” Kirtida says. All regular learning and assessment processes and procedures are followed to ensure the high quality of training is maintained, although the in-class instruction period has been slightly condensed to allow the learners to re-enter the job market as soon as possible.
“More than ever before, it is imperative that our industry remains competitive in order to ensure its long-term survival. Good technical skills are scarce and people with the correct backgrounds are not easy to find. For this reason, we want to help create a work-force that is well trained, possesses the necessary practical experience and theoretical grounding and has a positive, professional work ethic,” Kirtida stresses.
Enrolment will be on-going over the next three years. Companies interested in registering their retrenched workers, or who are willing to make their workplace available as a training space for learners to gain workplace experience, are encouraged to get in touch with Plastics SA’s Training Division as soon as possible.