Damen Shipyards Cape Town receives award for vocationally qualified apprentices

Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) has received an award from the Northlink College higher education and training institution in recognition of DSCT’s role in undertaking to train some of the first ‘trades qualification’ apprentices under this which was then a new program launched by DHET (Department of Higher Education and Training) in January 2019.

Northlink commended DSCT for participating in the program from the start, when its future was still uncertain and its success yet to be demonstrated, DSCT said in a press release. He added that DSCT was one of the first companies in South Africa to adopt this new learning program, the COS (Centres of Specialization) program, at a time when this concept had not yet been proven. . Only recently has it become mainstream. Working in partnership with Northlink College, the first Damen apprentices successfully qualified in the COS Fitting & Turning program, the first of its kind in South Africa.

Each participant participates in a three- to four-year program that ensures that, upon completion, they are proficient in their craft. 50% of their time is spent in college and 50% in the workplace on a rotational basis. 36 people are currently in the program, across eight professions. In addition to fitting and turning, trades available include pipework, welding, boilermaking, plumbing, electrical, rigging and mechanical fitting. Over 90% of trainees choose to accept full-time employment with DSCT upon completion of their training.

“The college teaches the theoretical side of the roles and basic training in the underlying skills,” explained Abdullah Galant, technical training manager at DSCT, “while DSCT provides hands-on exposure to the application of those skills. in the workplace as well as basic training in safety, firefighting and other essential procedures. New skills such as carpentry are likely to be added over time. We are now working with four colleges in total and many trainers are former DSCT employees.

With the COS program now available to companies across South Africa, DSCT looks forward to training many more apprentices for vocational qualifications in partnership with Northlink College Cape Town and other apprenticeship centres, DSCT said.

Providing information on its training processes, DSCT said it identified a skills gap within the South African maritime industry in 2010, and so launched a training center for apprentices to be trained on building ships to standards. Lady, for Lady.

“The training center has served as a platform for DSCT to create employment opportunities for South Africans and has played an important role in transforming what was traditionally considered a male-dominated industry,” added the society.

Since its launch, the Training Center has trained 127 skilled artisans through apprenticeships, internships and Artisans Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) programs, of which 24 artisans are women. Currently, the Training Center welcomes 36 apprentices and offers trades in Boilermaking, Welding, Mechanical Assembly, Electrical, Assembly and Turning, Plumbing and Rigging.

Internship at DSCT is offered to students of FET colleges who need hands-on experience to receive their qualifications. Various SETA and FET colleges served as sources for apprentices.

Damen Shipyards Cape Town is currently building the two remaining multi-mission coastal patrol vessels that the South African Navy is acquiring under Project Biro.

Michael A. Bynum