09 Sep 20 News Communities South Africa

Build training develops skills base and small business capacity

Some of the building team who underwent a four-month coaching and mentoring scheme funded by the local Loeriesfontein and Khobab wind farms

Construction workers and electricians have been scaling new heights to complete a new business centre for their community in South Africa’s Northern Cape, with the help of their local wind farms.

Two building firms in Loeriesfontein sought funding to upskill their local workforce for the job of converting and upgrading a former motor garage into an office hub for small enterprises.

Supported by the Loeriesfontein and Khobab wind farms’ development programme, a comprehensive training scheme was put in place for the 23-strong team, with a particular focus on safety and working-at-height procedures.

The 138 MW Loeriesfontein Wind Farm, and its sister facility, Khobab, has been powering 240,000 homes since December 2017

Critical skills specialists provided on-site coaching and supervision over a four-month period, by which time the local construction team were operating to the Masters Building Association’s Small Builders Manual.

Elton Januarie, owner of Essay General Traders, one of the business centre contractors, revealed how his workers gained new confidence from their mentors.

He said: ”After the training, the production went much faster, as most of the workers have never worked with this kind of scaffolding so less time was spent on the erecting of the scaffolding.”

Patrick Souw, Safety Representative of Essay General Traders & Elysium Projects JV, added, “In the beginning we were struggling to erect the scaffolding, but the training facilitator has been a great help and worked closely with us.

“Thanks to the practical training, I now have the skills to build the scaffold in a much safer way, for me or any of my colleagues.”

Funding for the training was provided as part of the wind farms’ Enterprise Development Programme, with the purpose of developing the local skills base while also boosting small business capacity within the Loeriesfontein community.

Vanessa Fredericks, Economic Development Manager for Loeriesfontein Wind Farm and Khobab Wind Farm, explained: “The support and development of small businesses lies at the heart of our development ethos, as it boosts local employment and local economic growth.”

  • Mainstream developed, constructed and now operates Khobab Wind Farm and its sister project, Loeriesfontein 2, for our Africa joint venture, Lekela Power. With a generation capacity of 140 megawatts each, they collectively power around 240,000 South African households.