2020: The Year We Never Stopped Developing Our People
The Coronavirus pandemic made 2020 a difficult year for many in business. Many clients in the property industry experienced the dip in the economy first-hand, and in turn relayed these pressures to service providers such as SFI.
However, for SFI this tough year had a silver lining. Our training and development programme did not stop and – given the extra free time – found that training actually accelerated. This resulted in the highest number of staff qualifying as trade tested refrigeration artisans in one year.
Our larger sites are an ideal environment for training given the exposure to a wide range of equipment under a competent site manager. In 2020, five trainees qualified and two senior and experienced staff members decided to take a refrigeration trade test to complement their qualifications and experience.
Our Skilled People, Our Best Asset
2020 was a good year for artisan training but of course our training includes Apprentices, Learnerships and Interns, and we try to ensure that all categories get a slice of the training budget.
- Yusuf Majal is one of two brothers who have both qualified at SFI. Yusuf had many years of experience but wanted to do his trade test at what he felt was the right time and 2020 was his year. Yusuf works as a mobile technician in the Cape Town CBD and is passionate about the work he does.
- Tumelo Ramaboa is based at Menlyn Shopping Centre in Pretoria. Due to it being such a demanding site, training was often delayed. However, 2020 was Tumelo’s year to qualify and he looks forward to furthering his knowledge on Gauteng sites.
- Riaan Jack is based at Mutual Head Office, one of the sites where we have partnered with a client to produce qualified artisans on a regular basis as one of our commitments to Old Mutual. Riaan joined us for workplace experience after completing a Learnership at Colleges of Cape Town and took about three years before he felt he was comfortable doing the trade test, which he accomplished on his first attempt.
- Thembalethu Mzindle is based at Gateway Theatre of Shopping, another Old Mutual site where he jokingly claimed to be a senior apprentice because of the time taken for him to qualify. Gateway, as the largest shopping centre on the African continent, provides valuable exposure to a trainee because of the variety of air-conditioning systems. However, it is also one of the most popular centres and it went through a 3-year redevelopment project, which really made it challenging for the site manager to focus on training. But 2020 was Thembalethu’s year and he now can start his new chapter in life as a qualified artisan.
- When you meet Craig Jacobs he always seems excited about his training. Perhaps it is just his natural demeanour. What I do know is that Craig was competing with his wife who was also studying and Craig was never going to be left behind. Based at Tygervalley Shopping Centre, Craig was guided through his training by our site manager, Randall Woodman, who also deserves a big thank you for his diligence with apprentices over the years.
- Toy Engelbecht has always wanted to complete his trade test but – with the pressures of running King Shaka Airport for SFI – there was simply no time to do his assessment. The lockdown provided this opportunity and, despite a personal setback in his life that coincided with his trade test, Toy was able to persevere and successfully complete his trade test.
Training to Transform the Future
Edward Hector, the Director at SFI, believes that training of artisans is more than just providing skills for the industry and for the company it is about real transformation.
“When you qualify someone who was not able to study at a university or college full time because they did not have the entry requirements or possibly the financial resources,” says Edward, “you give them hope. You start to lift people living in poor communities into the middle class and they start to see hope and a future for their children.”
Our biggest challenge as a country is inequality, and addressing this starts with giving people the opportunity to get an education and increase their income and help them develop a new vision of hope for their future and that of their families – that is what we do at SFI.