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Mining for talent

There are two things one needs to understand while working with hydraulic systems. The first is that friction increases temperature which causes the second, an increase in pressure. And these are both potentially dangerous if something goes wrong.

Sparrow FET College 2016 students (in blue) and past graduates now working in permanent jobs (in red).

Hydraulic hoses are a part of everyday mining operations, and damage to the heavy duty hoses or fittings is going to cause downtime, if not serious injury. So there’s a need on most mining operations to have a competently trained person managing the repair and maintenance of these hydraulic hoses.

Sparrow FET College (which stand for Further Education and Training) is an experienced skills training provider based in Melville, Jo’burg. Like most well established organisations they’ve come to learn that skills training must be coupled with life and job-readiness skills, if it’s to be really effective.

In 2015, R500 000 was funded by the Old Mutual Foundation to provide accredited training to 20 youth in Fluid Hose Reeling, a course specialising in work with hydraulic hoses, which is a scarce skills on many mines. However, we especially requested this training for youth from Northen Cape and Mpumalanga provinces, where unemployment figures are higher than the national average.

Through experience, Sparrow FET College has learned it’s better to source youth from their home provinces, train them in Gauteng and then place them with mines back in their local environments, rather then training youth from Gauteng and expecting them to relocate into an unknown environment with no social support system.

For our #Journey2 road trip, we meet five of ‘our’ Northen Cape students in their second month of training and travel with them across Jozi to Alfagomma, a company specialising in hyraulic hoses, fittings and adaptors, who’ve generously agreed to host our visit in their industrial workshops.

The students are excited when they meet up with previous Sparrow graduates who’re now working fulltime at Alfagomma. Before we know it, their shyness disappears and they’re all clustered together talking animatedly about technical stuff. Their college workshop training is now making sense and they’re recognising various industrial equipment and machines around them. “It makes it so real. I’m excited and can’t wait to get started,” says Gomolemo Sebelegi (27) from Kuruman, NC.

Sparrow FET College says the demand for this skill on the mines is high, and these students (once graduated and qualified) can walk into jobs starting at R8000/month. For someone who’s battled to find work and been unemployed, this is an opportunity to start a new life and support their families. When I ask Tumiso Moetlo (22) from Kathu, NC how he feels, he answers, “For my future? I can see a good future in front of me.”

Sparrow FET College student, Naledi January, (21) from Kuruman, Northern Cape.


Post index:

And we’re off!
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For the love of reading
Paying it forward
In the heat of the moment
The road to Camdeboo
The light of one small candle
Investing for the future
The building blocks of business
A heart for horses
Mining for talent
My ability is greater than my disability
To be a nurse, you must be love
There’s no such thing as ‘the voiceless’
Mark my words
The place where the sun rises
Welcome to your future
Strengthening families 

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