Learning and development represents a strategic priority for SAFCOL. The interventions that are offered not only support Government skills development initiatives but also assist the Company with the implementation of its Corporate Strategy. Through various training programmes, employees are equipped for their role within their area of work and developed for meeting future opportunities effectively.
The training of communities, including land claimants, living adjacent to our operations contribute to alleviating poverty and unemployment, and fosters good mutual relationships. A special focus is placed on Black women and youth from previously disadvantaged communities, as well as people living with disabilities.
In addition, our learning and development offerings looks outward towards the broader Forestry and Processing industry, ensuring that skilled individuals are available to the sector and to the country as a whole. This is part of our aim to promote Forestry as a career of choice.
All learning and development programmes are managed by the Company’s Learning and Development unit (L & D), which is part of the Human Capital Management & Transformation Division. L & D manages a training centre, Platorand, located in Sabie, Mpumalanga. It is accredited by the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority, as well as the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority.
It also enjoys membership of the Forestry Industry Training Providers Association. All training-related matters are governed by the Company’s Learning & Development Policy and the Bursary Policy.
The following programmes are offered:
Learnerships are programmes that cover theoretical and practical training and result in a full qualification endorsed by the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing SETA and the Media, Information and Communication Technologies SETA. The duration of a full-time Learnership is between eight and twelve months, depending on its level and content. SAFCOL offers Learnerships in the areas of Forestry (Silviculture and Harvesting), as well as Processing, Furniture Making, Community House Building (Timber Frame Structures) and End-User Computing.
Training is offered by Platorand Training Centre and external training providers. All external Learnership candidates receive training material, applicable tools and equipment, a monthly stipend, daily lunch and personal protective clothing. In some cases, learners may also receive accommodation. Learnerships are advertised annually.
Apprenticeships are programmes that cover theoretical and practical training and result in a full qualification endorsed by the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing SETA and the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services SETA. The duration of a full-time Apprenticeship up to the point where a learner enrols for a Trade Test, is between twenty-four and thirty months, depending on the trade.
SAFCOL offers Apprenticeships in the areas of Millwright, Diesel Mechanic, Electrician, Fitter and Boilermaker. Theoretical training is offered by external training providers, while practical training is offered at SAFCOL’s Timbadola sawmill in the Levubu area of Limpopo. All external Apprenticeship candidates receive training material, applicable tools and equipment, a monthly stipend, daily lunch and personal protective clothing. In some cases, learners may also receive accommodation. Apprenticeships are advertised annually.
Internships are programmes that offer workplace experience to graduates who have successfully completed their Diplomas or Degrees and who have not entered the job market yet. Interns are placed in various Divisions of the Company in an environment that corresponds with the area of their qualification.
The duration of an Internship is twelve months. Interns are assigned to a mentor, may rotate between units within a Division and their responsibilities are determined by a Work Plan for the duration of their tenure. All Interns receive a monthly stipend and have the opportunity to attend two training courses that will aid their further development. In some cases, learners may also receive accommodation. Internships are advertised twice a year.
Bursaries are awarded for tertiary studies at accredited and recognised Institutions of Higher Learning. Applicants must comply with the entrance requirements of these universities and colleges, as well as its internal regulations for the duration of their studies.
The areas of study for which bursaries are awarded are determined by the Company’s strategic and operational needs as well as broader industry requirements. External bursaries cover registration and tuition, text books and other learning material, accommodation, meals and a stipend for each semester. On successful completion of studies, graduates are required to work back the period for which they received a bursary.
The Company’s AET programme is aimed at contributing to the eradication of illiteracy and to so contribute to the alleviation of poverty and unemployment. The duration of the AET Programme is twelve months and is offered by an external training provider.
It focuses on Literacy and Numeracy and learners write assessments of the Independent Examinations Board. Recruitment for the Programme is done annually. Learners receive classroom facilitation and all training materials and stationary.
SAFCOL recognises the need to create internal capacity in order to remain a sustainable business. As part of its succession planning and talent management initiatives, employees in critical and scarce operational positions are developed in terms of technical skills as well as management and leadership ability. There is a special focus on Black women in support of the Company’s approved Employment Equity Plan and to contribute to the transformation of the Forestry industry.
SAFCOL believes in life-long learning and endeavours to continuously equip its Management employees for their roles. At the same time, employees who show potential for Management positions are also developed to prepare them for this. Once identified and selected according to relevant criteria, these employees are given an opportunity to participate in Management and Leadership Development Programmes, and may also be awarded Bursaries.
Platorand Training Centre has a computer centre where accredited Short Skills Programmes are offered as well as a Learnership in End-User Computing. Short Skills Programmes are also offered to community learners, adjacent to SAFCOL operations, at venues in the areas where they reside (schools, community halls, etc.). This is arranged in cooperation with the relevant communities.
The duration of these Programmes are between one and five days, depending on its level and content. Learners receive all training material, stationary and a daily lunch during their training.
Platorand Training Centre offers Short Skills Programmes in the areas of Forestry, Processing, Fire Fighting, Health & Safety, Environmental Awareness and Machine Operating. It also arranges generic soft-skills programmes that are offered by externaltraining providers. The kinds of programmes are determined by employees’ Personal Development Plans and equips them for their roles within the Company.
The training centre also arranges Forestry-related and generic soft-skills programmes for community learners and land claimants adjacent to SAFCOL operations. These are offered at venues in the areas where they reside (schools, community halls, etc.) and are arranged in cooperation with the relevant communities.
The duration of these Programmes are between one and fifteen days, depending on its level and content. Learners receive all training material, stationary and a daily lunch during their training.