Artisan Training Institute bucks the trend

Readies for a R80 million training contract in 2013

September 17, 2012

Readies for a R80 million training contract in 2013

Black empowered Artisan Training Institute (ATI), formerly Ikhaya Fundisa Techniskills Academy (IFTA), is bucking the subdued training trend in South Africa, saying it “can’t fit in another artisan until the end of November”.

It is also preparing for one of its biggest training contracts to date – a R80 million contract that is expected to commence in early 2013.

This is according to by Mandisa Nyathikazi, a director of ATI, who said the year ended February 2013 will be the best year delivered by the training academy since it was bought by her and her partner, Sean Jones, in 2008, for R20 million.

“We have trained 30% more artisans this year when compared to the same period last year – and this is a trend we see continuing. We are in a definite upturn. Our training centres are completely full – and we cannot take on another trainee until the end of November 2012.”

The company, a BEE level 1 contributor and a Category A beneficiary, is regarded as one of only a handful of privately owned training institutions focusing on training artisans – including previously disadvantaged individuals – in the entire engineering training spectrum.

Based on the company’s revenue figures it will soon have to report “on all the codes embodied in the Black Economic Empowerment Act” in order to maintain its current BEE level 1 rating, said Nyathikazi.

ATI is focused on training artisans in a wide range of engineering-focused skills, including fitters and turners, rigging, tool jig and dye makers, electricians, millwrights, welders, boilermakers, sheet metal workers, petrol and diesel mechanics, tractor mechanics, forklift mechanics, auto electricians and earth moving equipment mechanics.

Since the R20 million acquisition management has opened two additional training centres in Port Shepstone (Kwa-Zulu Natal), and Crown Mines in Johannesburg. Nyathikazi added that a further training facility has been approved for development in Kuruman in the Northern Cape, which will be built within the next two to three years.
The company has also made increasing inroads into the corporate market and currently boasts a number of large training contracts with leading companies focused on the heavy industry and mining industries – including John Deere and Lonmin.

In one of its biggest contracts to date, ATI is due to commence a training contract with Assmang in 2013. The contract is estimated to be worth around R80 million.