On Monday, the Johannesburg-based electricity service provider, City Power, said this move is in response to a call from National Treasury, which appealed to the power industry to create programmes that will close the current gap of unemployed engineers.
The company’s managing director, Sicelo Xulu, said, “The response we received from the advertisement was overwhelming. Almost 200 qualified engineers came to our Head Office in Johannesburg to apply.”
Xulu added: “It was disheartening to see how many of our young people are sitting at home with degrees, unable to find work and unfortunately we could only take 24 learners this cycle.
“We need to find a way to incorporate the remaining qualified applicants and we challenge other utilities and private sector to consider taking graduates which we could not employ.”
City Power – set to transfer skills
City Power noted that the training will not only benefit students with required experience but will also benefit them as the utility responds quicker to service disruption, improved performance efficiencies while ensuring skills transfer.
Government has allocated a ZAR7.7 million ($5 million) budget for the programme, which will be used as remuneration for the learners during the course of three years.
The utility is stated to have partnered with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) on a special joint initiative known as ‘Road to Recruitment’ to drive this initiative.
“There are not enough professional engineers in the country, this initiative is not just good for City Power or ECSA, ultimately it will raise the competency levels of engineers in the country. We need other energy utilities to join the cause by providing on the job training,” Xulu said.
The absence of professionalised engineers in the country is what drove ECSA and National Treasury to pledge allegiance with City Power to rectifying this shortfall, the power utility stated.
The programme is designed to challenge other utilities to follow suit and hire young minds to assist in elevating the sector through professionalisation.
[quote]Xulu explained: “Employers are increasingly requiring registration with ECSA as a prerequisite for appointment to certain engineering positions. Graduates that have not registered with the professional body will find it difficult to find jobs in the engineering sector.”
“This programme is not only a job opportunity for previously unemployed youth but also elevates learners existing qualifications. The successful implementation of this programme may encourage national treasury to give us more funding for a larger intake next year,” he concluded.
Featured image: Bangula CC