Founded by Alain Leger, an entrepreneurial engineer, Vesconite started in response to a need for an alternative to nylon bushings, which swelled and seized in humid underground mines. Years of testing resulted in a thermopolymer that had exceptionally low friction properties and could be machined to close tolerances. Steady, controlled corporate growth led to an international enterprise that never lost its commitment to and roots in the small town of Virginia, South Africa.
As a tribute to the community that has supported it since its beginning, VescoPlastics has built the Two Friends Wing addition to the Meloding Day Care Centre, doubling its size. “With its careful design and inspirational architecture, this new building turned out more significant than I had expected,” said Dr. Jean-Patrick Leger, CEO. “It provides a model of what classrooms for preschool children can be, at a time when there is such a need for early education and attention to higher standards.” Meloding refers to an area where people of color were forced to live during the apartheid era.
Throughout its 60 years of manufacturing, VescoPlastics has been deeply committed to education at all levels. In 2017, the Steel, Engineering and Iron Federation of South Africa awarded the company first prize for the best artisan training in the country. One of the largest employers in the area, apprentices and work candidates comprise 44% of its workforce. “In 2016, the number of people in the South African manufacturing sector totaled 1.19M,” noted Leger. “If the same steps we have applied in our company were used across the country, half a million apprentices would be preparing to enter the workforce.”