Empowering Youth and Resolving Youth Unemployment

291 graduate Solar Installers from Labour department & EWSETA UIF funded programme

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    10 March 2016

    A special skills solar water heater installation training program aimed at enabling unemployed people to learn a set of skills to improve their job prospects has produced hundreds of new solar installers.

    The program was the brainchild of Mpumi Mnconywa, Chief Director of Labour Activation Programme at the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

    “Solar water heating is high on the Department of Energy’s agenda with over 1 million installations being targeted nationally. However, there is a shortage of competent installers, so it made sense to focus on this market,” said Mnconywa.

    Funded by the UIF and the Energy and Water Services Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA), the program was launched mid-2014 and two groups of 150 men and women were selected to undergo the training which covered basic plumbing and solar water heater installations. Female candidates accounted for 48% of the intake, a major step forward in promoting gender equality. The content was specially designed by training company, SA Solar Academy and included 3 months classroom teaching and hands-on practical workshops. Successful graduates qualified for a 9-month internship with a selected host employer. A week-long entrepreneurship introduction was also included.

    “The results are astonishing, 291 out of 300 have graduated, which is a 97% success rate.  Many are now employed full-time and four of our students started their own businesses and have secured their first contract,” commented Mnconywa.

    This initiative is part of the Labour Activation Programme that was launched by the Minister of Labour, Ms Mildred Oliphant in 2009 to curb the negative effects of the global economic crises on South African firms. The Training of the Unemployed scheme aims to provide skills to unemployed UIF beneficiaries thereby helping them to be integrated back to the labour market, or start their own businesses.

    Report by Lloyd Ramutloa first published on Department of Labour website 2016-03-10 

     Makhosonke Buthelezi

     Director: Communication and Marketing

     Unemployment Insurance Fund

     Tel: 012 337 1692

     Cell: 082 359 5584

     e-mail: Makhosonke.Buthelezi@labour.gov.za

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    Carel Ballack

    This was a nice project to be part of and i am glad to see that there seems to have been some positive results which is often not the case with these types of initiatives. SA needs more training programs that have tangible, quantifiable and transparent outcomes. 


    This is such a heart warming story in the midst of so much negative reporting on unemployment, training and good governance. Congratulations to Mpumi Mnconywa!

    May others follow this brilliant example.

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