Skills Development boost vital for a developing SA economy – NDP

South_AfricaBy Thandisizwe Mgudlwa


Research attests that Private Sector skills development are a key for South Africa’s economic development.

With the National Development Plan (NDP) stating that improving the quality of education, skills, development and innovation will play an important role in realising this goal and that business, labour, communities and government will need to work together to achieve faster economic growth.

These are ideals supported by Paarl Media, the leading South African company in print and technology processes, through its bolstered and recently re-accredited Academy of Print training programme. The company seeks to harness the country’s future leaders of the printing industry through its academy, which offers management and leadership development, as well as technical and non-technical training.

Nico Grobbelaar, Executive Director Human Resources of the Paarl Media Group, says “South Africa has unique challenges in terms of growing an inclusive economy and becoming globally competitive. To overcome these challenges, crucial skills transfer and developing highly skilled employees should be a high priority across every sector.”

Grobbelaar says that the Paarl Media Academy of Print is based on world class in-house training programmes developed to ensure that highly skilled workers are produced. These programmes offer occupational, technical, functional, compliance driven, soft skills, leadership and management courses.

“We believe that a career in printing is so much more than putting ink on paper.  It’s about combining professionally trained individuals with the most advanced technology to bring books, magazines, marketing material, newspapers and labels to life. This is a belief that brought the Academy to life in 2011,” says Grobbelaar.

With only two years since launch, the Academy has received accreditation of the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing (FP&M) Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) and of the City and Guilds of London Institute.

“As one of the leaders in the printing industry, the company has put its money where its mouth is in its commitment to developing future leaders. Substantial investment has gone into research and the development of focused theoretical and practical training programmes as well as training materials required for the programme. The training programmes is on par with and often exceeds international training standards,” says Grobbelaar.

Additionally, the organisation is also calling on young bright minds who would like a promising career in the printing industry to enrol for the programme.

Prospective students are assessed against a test battery, which includes elements of verbal comprehension, numerical computation, visual estimation, technical understanding, mechanical comprehension, fault diagnosis and spatial recognition.

“The standards and criteria for joining and staying on the programme are quite high but we encourage candidates with a pass in Grade 12 Mathematical literacy or an equivalent qualification, good communication skills in English, to apply,” encourages Grobbelaar.

Since its establishment and formal opening in March 2011, a total of 65 Apprentices have been indentured in the various trades. These trades are all classified as critical and scarce skills occupations within the printing industry.

The Paarl Media Academy is currently finalising the recruitment of the 2013 intake where a total of 42 Apprentices will officially start with their training on 2 April 2013.

“Upon completion of the programme, students will receive a FP&M SETA certificate as well as a City and Guilds of London Institute certificate which is an international certification. Furthermore they will also receive a Paarl Media Academy certificate carrying both marks of accreditation. Successful candidates are also enabled to apply for the positions that they have qualified for within the company,” says Grobbelaar.

This year the first students trained under the programme since its launch will complete their final trade tests under the accreditations.

Although the closing date for applications for the 2014 intake is 30 November 2013, applicants are encouraged to register and apply early to improve their chance of being selected for the programme.