Earlier this week Samsung provided an update on its Engineering Academy, while also highlighting the growing need for artisans in South Africa and the world.

Samsung Engineering Academies (SEA) were established four years ago, with the aim of the programme to developing well trained and skilled artisans, electronic technicians as well as engineers.

According to Samsung the lack of artisans is not just a South African issue, it is a global challenge, with multiple industries using mechanised manufacturing processes resulting in people who work with their hands being sidelined.

What has been done to improve the quality of artisans?

The Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) established the Artisan Development Technical Task Team in an effort to improve the quality of artisan training as well as explore the main blockages facing artisan development systems.

According to the HRDC the lack of apprenticeship opportunities is one of the main obstacles facing artisan learners, which means while a young person may achieve a suitable qualification at a TVET college, they may subsequently discover that they cannot obtain the necessary work experience to enable them to take a trade test.

There is a great deal of work being done to address these challenges.

There is a current shortfall of 40 000 qualified artisans in South Africa, noted Jessie Duarte, deputy secretary general of the ANC.

“There are so many more opportunities for youth with practical skills, South Africa needs more skilled labour. One of the arenas in which skills are highly sought after is the technology and engineering sector, this is why Samsung has invested in Engineering Academies that not only offer training but also viable career paths and real jobs,” said Nithia Pillay director Customer service for Samsung South Africa in a press statement.

Increased opportunities for women

Programmes geared towards inclusivity have increased opportunities for women to enter into trades that were traditionally reserved for men, and female artisans are on the rise. Samsung says its engineering academies offer not only practical training, but also work experience and placement at their company and its value chain partners.

To ensure youth are also given an opportunity, it is imperative to change the narrative around what it means to be an artisan and ensure that this much needed skills are properly taught, and career opportunities are opened up for those who opt to become artisans, according to Samsung.

Samsung believes this can be achieved by setting up programmes such as its engineering academies, so that South Africa can better address unemployment as well as grow the economy.

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