The importance of trained artisans and technical staff in the aerospace sector is one Denel Aviation does more than pay lip service to. Evidence of this commitment came this week when 235 Denel Technical Academy (DTA) students marked the successful completion of their first year’s training at the Kempton Park facility.
They now move onto apprenticeships with various companies and organisations before returning to DTA to complete their studies and qualify.
“Artisan training provided by Denel at its Ekurhuleni campus is helping to meet South African demand for skilled human resources in technical fields,” Mike Kgobe, Denel Aviation chief executive said when marking the occasion.
He maintains South African tertiary institutions must train “at least 30 000 artisans a year” to ensure a healthy economic growth rate and support expansion of strategic infrastructure.
“This is the target to be achieved by 2030 according to recommendations of the National Development Plan.”
Denel allocates in excess of R64 million a year to its “Talent Pipeline Model” that starts with maths and science programmes for high school students and continues through to bursaries for tertiary studies, internships and mentoring programmes.
Located on the eastern side of OR Tambo International Airport, the DTA has recently expanded it courses to include other engineering and technical sectors.
DTA is accredited by the SA Civil Aviation Authority and a number of training authorities. It is made up of three training sectors – apprenticeship (aviation and engineering); advanced and type training specifically for the aviation sector and a youth foundation programme.
Kgobe maintains the academy shows the State-owned defence industry conglomerate is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to achieving high levels of economic growth and addressing other challenges including poverty, unemployment and inequality.
“We must work together to invest in education, training and skills developments to achieve a skilled a capable workforce,” he said.
This is the positive side of Denel’s commitment to putting South Africans to work. On the negative side Denel Aviation’s Aero Manpower Group (AMG), whittled down to a measly 88 from 523 aircraft maintenance specialists, will be cut even further.
“Twenty-three of them have been informed their services will not be required after a month or so,” Jack Loggenberg of Solidarity said this week.