City Power contributes to skills development in the country

JOHANNESBURG – Read about how City Power is doing its bit to help curb youth unemployment in the community.

City Power recently heeded the National Treasury’s call to assist unemployed youths across the country to improve their skills and work experience.

The utility recently employed 24 electrical engineering students with the end goal of producing certified engineers over the next three years.

The managing director of City Power, Sicelo Xulu said, “The response we received from the advertisement was overwhelming. Almost 200 qualified engineers came to our head office in Johannesburg to apply. It was disheartening to see how many of our young people are sitting at home with degrees, unable to find work and, unfortunately, we could only take 24 [students] this cycle.”

Xulu added that City Power needed to find a way to incorporate the remaining qualified applicants and has challenged other utilities and private sector organisations and companies to consider taking the graduates which did not make the cut.

“The provision of this on-the-job training will not only benefit students with required experience and address the issue of shortages of work-ready skills in the country, but it will also benefit them as the utility responds quicker to service disruptions, improved performance efficiency while ensuring skills transfer,” Xulu explained.

He added that the government continues to make a concerted effort to professionalise the engineering field in the country.

“The utility has partnered with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) on a special joint initiative known as Road to Recruitment. There are not enough professional engineers in the country. This initiative is not just good for City Power or ECSA, but, ultimately, it will raise the competency levels of engineers in the country. We need other energy utilities to join the cause by providing on-the-job training,” said Xulu.

Xulu stressed that the absence of professionalised engineers in the country is what drove ECSA and the National Treasury to pledge allegiance with City Power to rectify this shortfall. The programme is designed to challenge other utilities to follow suit and hire young minds to assist in elevating the sector through professionalisation.

“Employers are increasingly requiring registration with ECSA as a prerequisite for appointment to certain engineering positions. Graduates that have not registered with the professional body will find it difficult to find jobs in the engineering sector. This programme is not only a job opportunity for previously unemployed youth, but also elevates learners’ existing qualifications. The successful implementation of this programme may encourage the National Treasury to give us more funding for a larger intake next year.”

The National Treasury allocated a R7.7-million budget for the programme which will be used as remuneration for the students during the course of three years. The programme is designed for individuals who wish to be registered as professional engineers. By participating in the programme, students will become recognised as professional ECSA members.

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