Marthie Jansen van Rensburg, founder of Gauteng-based Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre, walked away with the Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award ® at the annual Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® Competition, held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 3 September 2014.
Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre was established in 2006 following the identification of a need for an alternative way to the traditional schooling system. Students who did not have the academic ability to finish secondary schooling are given the opportunity to equip themselves with more practical artisanal skills, thus enabling them to become artisans or potential entrepreneurs.
Jansen van Rensburg says that there is currently a great shortage of well-trained artisans in South Africa and it is vital that similar places of learning become attractive to young South Africans in order to close the gap. “Too often, young students who do not have the academic ability fall by the wayside and do not consider the prospects an artisanal career may present. In light of this, our purpose is to rebrand these once underestimated career options as an attractive choice for young South Africans.”
According to Lionel Billings, a member of the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® judging panel, whilst not a trained artisan, Marthie was able to identify a unique gap in the education sector to train and up skill young South Africans to become qualified artisans. “Having started the centre without any outside funding, Marthie, through her passion and drive, has been able to make a direct and real impact in an environment, especially the youth, where unemployment is a growing concern.
Billings adds that what makes Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre stand out, apart from the approach Marthie follows, is that artisans that graduate from the centre are employable. “The centre provides real and practical skills which also enable graduates to gain further training and accreditation.”
With a key objective to increase the number of skilled artisans added to the South African labour market, Ekurhuleni Artisans and Training Centre offers a number of courses spanning across different industrial trades from boilermaking and bricklaying to professional painting and carpentry. In addition, the training centre provides individuals with the necessary assistance in preparing for their trade test. Existing tradesmen who would like to sharpen their skills can do so with the refresher courses on offer.
Since opening its doors, Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre has successfully upskilled over 19,000 students and plans to double this number by 2020.
“We are very proud to receive this accolade for the work we have done thus far, but it definitely doesn’t stop here. While we take the time to relish in this milestone, we will continue to achieve excellence and add value to South Africa’s social development.” concludes Janse van Rensburg
For more information on Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre, please visit www.eastc.co.za.