VescoPlastics was awarded the Artisan Award at the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa’s (Seifsa) Awards for Excellence in May.
The award is given to a company federated to Seifsa that has the highest activity in artisan training each year.
VescoPlastics won the award based on the number of apprentices trained as a percentage of the company’s total permanent workforce.
The company currently has 11 registered apprentices and is in the process of registering 10 more.
VescoPlastics has 48 permanent employees, which means the total number of registered apprentices or candidate apprentices represents a massive 44% of the total workforce.
Vescoplastics chairperson Jean-Patrick Leger puts this in context. “Consider that the number of employees in the South African manufacturing sector totalled 1,191,000 in December 2016. If the same training ratio we have applied in our company was applied across South Africa, half a million apprentices would be in training.”
VescoPlastics has had a long-standing commitment to training artisans that dates back many decades. Since 1994 it has trained 27 apprentices in fitting and turning, electrical skills and boiler. Sixteen of these artisans are now formally employed by the company.
Leger believes that a similar commitment to training by other firms could stimulate manufacturing, increase gross earnings and potentially boost the country’s gross domestic product, making South Africa one of the world’s leading workshops.