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Partnerships are key to growth

There is no denying that the world is very different now than it was two years ago.

The impacts of the Covid pandemic will be felt for many years.

Some argue that the green economy poses key opportunities to “build back better”, creating livelihoods that are considerate to the environment and the finite resources we are so reliant on.

The Atlantis SEZ shares this opinion and is accordingly driving green skills development to support community members. This includes a range of training programmes, some that have recently been completed in technical fields such as waste management and water treatment. Other technical training has included short courses in basic welding, mechanical fitting and boilermaker. These may not seem like green skills at first glance, but are very much required in the manufacture of green technologies, which the Atlantis SEZ has been designated as. Funding support for these short courses was made available by the City of Cape Town, a key shareholder of the Atlantis SEZ.

This support is aligned to the City’s focus of driving resilience in its communities, not only environmental, but also mitigating the impacts of unemployment and poverty.

“We will continue to invest in skills and training to ensure that high growth sectors have the skills pipelines they need to thrive and to create employment opportunities for our residents,” Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, said. “For our city to compete globally and achieve inclusive socio-economic growth, we know we must provide the needed support for the sectors that are poised for substantial growth.”

Another programme made possible through the collaborative efforts of various partners is the training of 30 Atlantis locals in Renewable Energy Workshop Assistant. This training programme is a collaboration between the National Business Initiative (NBI), South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC), West Coast College (WCC) and Atlantis SEZ.

This course will equip learners with practical skills to mount PV installations, skills that are growing in demand with the increase of roof-top solar installations. “This collaboration supports the overall objective of greening TVETs, whilst growing local capabilities aligned to the green transition,” according to Anthony Gewer, Programme Manager, Social Transformation of the National Business Initiative.

Judging by the students’ enthusiasm and dedication to the course they share a similar sentiment that this course can unlock future-proof career opportunities for them, within an economic climate that provides little hope. “As a member of the PV mounting course I am grateful for the opportunity as it is something completely different to what I am use to the renewable energy industry is a great industry with multiple opportunities as a student with the correct mindset this can become a career and not just a job and that is what I myself am aiming to do.

“Yes there is some concerns with regards to will I have the opportunity to be permanently employed or further the course to become fully equipped to be an installer. I am just hoping that all will be a success,” according to Lee-Andre Maquire, a student on the programme.

Growing regional economies forms part of the ASEZ’s mandate as prescribed in the SEZ Act.

This can only be done if local communities are enabled to tap into increased opportunities with suitable and relevant skills that investors will require. “Ensuring we match the demand from investors with suitably equipped local skills will mean investors have no need to look for employees elsewhere than in Atlantis,” shared Ellen Fischat, the Integrated Ecosystem Executive for the Atlantis SEZ. “We will continue to roll out industry relevant training and welcome applications as well as feedback along the way.”

Contact the ASEZ skills team on skills@atlantissez.co.za

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