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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Youth training to build a better South Africa

As youth continue to experience high unemployment rates, with others focusing on other opportunities to help them develop or advance their careers, Barloworld Equipment has taken on this responsibility earnestly. The company is dedicated to a systematic approach to youth training, exemplified through the Peter J. Bulterman Learning Academy.

Founded in 2004 to offer a range of in-depth training programmes and re-certification courses for operators across several industries, the academy is a training hub for young people who aspire to embark on their career paths as operators and technicians.

Situated in Isando, east of Johannesburg, the PJB Learning Academy is open to Barloworld Equipment employees as well as the industry at large, enabling learners to qualify as earthmoving technicians, electricians, machinists, or technology specialists.

The academy is accredited with merSETA for all applicable trades, and with the Qualifications Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) for Earthmoving Equipment.

In addition to apprenticeship programmes, advanced and expert-level training is provided through Caterpillar’s Technician Career Development Programmes (TCDPs).

Furthermore, Caterpillar has accredited the academy to offer training to qualified technicians on both advanced and expert levels in line with Caterpillar’s international curriculum and standards.

As a specialist in the heavy-equipment sector, the academy has also been chosen to prepare learners from TVET colleges for the annual World Skills Competition, where young people from around the world come together to develop their skills through competitions, industry engagements and further training.

Another platform for creating youth opportunities has been the Barloworld Education Trust, a bursary scheme that helps fund tertiary studies for students in fields related to the core Barloworld business areas of engineering, IT, Sales and Marketing.

“At Barloworld Equipment, we have a healthy absorption rate for young people entering the talent pipeline through the PJB Learning Academy,” says Dumisani Kala, Head of Learning and Development at the Academy. “We also have formal training agreements with the customers we serve in the mining, construction, and power industries. We are immensely proud of our ongoing, long-term training relationships.”

Kala says the academy’s recertification programmes ensure that young people can update their skills, keep pace with the technological evolution, and build sustainable careers that will benefit them and the country at large.

At the academy, technical specialist trainers use artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) to train and coach technicians in person and via remote training. Training in predictive intelligence and AI enables students to quickly make decisions and identify risks and opportunities.

It also has a Technology School of Excellence, which offers training in the latest operator technology, including remote operation of machinery.

The partnership with the University of Johannesburg School of Engineering and Technology was embarked upon to offer technology and operations management training for instructors, artisans, and technicians on IoT and the fundamentals of Industry 4.0.

All training is geared to empowering young people with knowledge of the latest techniques and technology. That knowledge, in turn, is what will build the kind of South Africa that lives up to the dreams and aspirations of its young people.

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