The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms Lilianne Ploumen, and a Dutch Trade Delegation visited Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) on Tuesday, July 8th 2014. The goal was to get an impression of the way South African and Dutch companies and entrepreneurs are working together. In addition, the newly qualified pupils from DSCT’s in-house Apprentice Training Centre received their certificates from the minister. All qualified artisans, as they now are, are offered a job at Damen’s South African shipyard.
Minister Ploumen and the other guests were welcomed by Damen Shipyards Cape Town staff, including board members Mr Sam Montsi, Mr Friso Visser and Mrs Sefale Montsi-Zuma. The proceedings started with a tour of the DSCT yard which included a viewing of the ATD 2909 which is currently under construction for the South African Navy, a look at the impressive FCS 5009 Patrol Vessel and a viewing of Shed 6 which is currently being constructed and is due to be completed in September 2014. The addition of Shed 6 to DSCT’s collection of production halls will add 1280m? of invaluable production floor space to DSCT’s production portfolio.
VIP guests and staff gathered in the boardroom for a certificate ceremony that honoured 20 apprentices from the Damen Shipyards Cape Town Apprenticeship Training Centre, who have recently completed and passed their welding or boiler making trade tests. DSCT’s Apprenticeship Training Centre is accredited by MerSETA (Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority) for both the Welding and Boilermaking trades. The Apprenticeship Training Centre invigorates the DSCT yard with new generations of practitioners of up to 15 new apprentices each year. In total there are 39 employees who have benefited from the Apprenticeship Training Centre, some of which have been apprentices and some are yet to qualify.
DSCT aims to be a learning organisation which attracts, trains and retains the best in the field. The company invites and encourages employees to improve their skills to get the maximum benefit from shared knowledge, competencies and talents. Training does not stop at artisan level and therefore the company offers its employees training in budgeting, safety, first aid, firefighting, scaffolding, crane driving and more. “We believe in constant self-improvement for a healthy and competitive company, and so various training courses are offered at all levels within the organisation”, says HR manager Heather Dukas. These initiatives benefit the company’s employees as individuals and the shipyard as a whole.
Damen’s policy of building of vessels on stock also contributes to DSCT’s Apprenticeship programme in that a constant workflow is maintained, which translates to constant levels of local employment and shipyard productivity.