Anglo American’s Greenside Colliery has initiated a portable skills training programme for employees, contractors and members of the local community.

The initial skill set selected was plumbing where a total of 22 participants concluded the theoretical and practical aspect of the programme at the end of June.

Training manager, Sydwell Sibiya explained that the mine ensured that the sessions were timed to fit in with employees’ and contractors’ regular work responsibilities at Greenside.

“On the one hand, community members will soon have an accredited qualification that will significantly improve their chances of entering the job market or starting their own businesses, while contractors and employees will be equipped with the means to earn a living should they either choose to leave the industry or wish to work beyond retirement age,” he said.

Portable training provides job skills that can serve people no matter where they work or what position they hold and is actively encouraged by the Department of Mineral Resources to ensure socio-economic development beyond that of mining.

The training is also recognised by the construction industry’s Sector Education and Training Authority and was selected owing to the high level of local interest in the proposed course.

“The success of the pilot project will result in the programme’s expansion, not only in terms of the number of participants involved but the types of skills offered. Those currently under consideration include welding, bricklaying, masonry carpentry and tiling.

“You give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.”

It is expected that future courses will reach between 50 and 60 people a year.