At the heart of the Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC) is the mandate to help the working class reach a better life. Primarily, this mandate has been met through the various beneficiary programmes that have been developed by the Mineworkers Investment Trust (MIT) with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members and their families in mind.
After our 20th anniversary, we asked the question – what would the next 20 years’ legacy be? Much had changed in our beneficiaries’ lives and it was important that our interventions met that change head-on. We believe that key to meeting these changes is training to facilitate skills development. People need skills to start and build lasting careers that will sustain them and their families. The skills that the economy needs to grow and carry our country forward are hard skills, artisanal in nature with a very clear link to industry. This is where the evolution of the Elijah Barayi Memorial Training Centre (EBMTC) came in, extending its mandate to becoming a fully-fledged FET College.
MIC facilitated the establishment of the dedicated new artisan training academy within the EBMTC. We committed R30 million to the development of the unit where our members and the public will be able to access a suite of viable vocational skills development programmes that render them employable or able to start their own businesses. This aligns seamlessly with the training centre’s edict, which is to help people reach their full potential through quality education and relevant skills development programmes.
The vocational qualification is a crucial part of ensuring solid careers that can sustain families and support them into a financially secure future. These viable skills are what the economy needs to address the mismatch between the supply and demand of practical skills in our country. This skills scarcity has been due to various reasons such as the vast reduction in well resourced, active vocational training institutions as our country’s policies focused more on academic education. As a result, where these institutions have been available, there has been a notable absence in the profiling of their offering, resulting in little interest from young people to enroll. Through this academy, we are proactively meeting those gaps head-on, and we are managing to avail the option of a vocational trade as an effective means of upward mobility, and a better life for the broader NUM beneficiary base.
As the Elijah Barayi Memorial Training Centre celebrates 25 years, this evolution that extends the training centre’s empowerment mandate is the right direction. It bolsters the union’s suite of benefits, and helps ensure that the membership and their families continue to be supported in their efforts for self-determination, and a better life.