Eskom has always regarded youth development as integral part of its human resource development (HRD) strategy, and this is evidenced in the number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of education, training and development amongst young South Africans.
The thrust of the Eskom’s youth programme hinges primarily on academic and skills development programmes, such as the Eskom bursary and scholarship schemes, 18 schools support sponsorships for maths and science, the Eskom young scientist Awards, experiential training, technical and non-technical learnership programmes.
Most of these initiatives are geared towards targeting beneficiaries from previously disadvantaged communities and informed by the national skills priorities for both Eskom and the country. As it stands there are 5283 learners in the Eskom pipeline which has increased significantly over past six years and is currently targeted at maintaining the learner baseline at 12% of the complement.
In addition to this Eskom has made an additional commitment to provide skills development and experiential training opportunities to 5000 unemployed youth in collaboration with the Eskom Supplier Network as part of its contribution towards the government’s New Growth Path Initiative. The project comprises of two programmes which caters for 2 500 unemployed matriculants on trades programmes and 2 500 unemployed graduates on experiential programmes.
Bursary and In-service Training
Eskom Bursary and in-service training is committed to high-quality educational programmes that will provide the skills and expertise needed for success.
Eskom Youth Programmes
Since 2001 the initial strategy was developed to target secondary and tertiary support programmes that would serve to increase the number of learners from previously disadvantaged communities. These support programmes were aimed at assisting black learners to successfully complete their matric mathematics and science at higher grade. The intention was to increase skills pool of qualified Black and female students motivated to embark on technical tertiary education studies. Most of the beneficiaries of this scheme mainly study towards an engineering degree and are selected by virtue of academic performance.
These are students in tertiary institutions mainly studying towards an engineering degree. They are selected by virtue of their academic performance in school; preference is given to black females from rural backgrounds. Eskom pays for their education and related costs during their tenure in an institution of higher learning, most bursars are financially obligated to Eskom and have to pay back their bursaries through in house work experience.
Bursaries are contracted to spend their vacations getting work experience in the Eskom environment. Placement is dependent on the needs of a particular department as well as the needs of the particular student. The vacation programme is not just limited to Eskom bursars, but other incumbents needing experiential training are also considered. This experience gives learners the ability to understand the daily operational functions of Eskom and get a feel of what career direction they should take.
Graduate In Training:
Graduate trainees are sourced from universities, some are bursars who have come through the ranks and others are new candidates seeking experiential training opportunities to acquire a qualification.. They are given contract positions within Eskom and placed in a department that is suited to their career goals and ambitions. These roles are not permanent but given the performance of the graduate and the business needs, permanent appointments may be considered.
Learnerships, apprenticeships and registered skills programmes are longer term trades related training that culminate in the learners receiving a SAQA accredited qualification or credits towards a qualification.
Eskom Integrated Demand Side (IDM) interventions
Following past events and in an effort to curb energy demand, Eskom introduced energy savings measures as early as 2006 following the Cape Crises; however these measures only gained popularity in 2008 after the electricity crises became a national problem.
Eskom IDM department has embarked on a process to initiate a partnership with King Hintsa FET College in the Eastern Cape to develop and implement a skills development project that will produce trade skills, through the creation of Sustainable businesses (SMEs and Cooperatives).
In terms of job creation facilitation we intend to establish the energy and water resources efficiency incubator in partnerships with NYDA, SEDA and Mnquma Local Municipality to create the youth owned SMME’s and Green Co-operatives. These SMME’s and green co-opts will then be contracted by the municipality, Eskom and Amathola Water Board, thus creating sustainable employment.
Eskom New Build Programme Although energy and demand savings initiatives have been introduced, Eskom still does not have the capacity to provide electricity for future demand. Owing to this Eskom has had to commission two new power stations, namely Medupi and Kusile. The Medupi build project is currently under construction and is estimated to be four times bigger than the Gautrain Project. The Construction Trade Skills project aims to assist with meeting the construction skills requirements for these projects.