New Year’s Message from the National Director, Mark Mfikoe


Mark Mfikoe, National Director, ECA(SA)

The end of every year must, of necessity, include some sort of honest evaluation and introspection. Ordinarily, the outcome would include strategies that would make the following year better.

2017 is now gone and, hopefully, it was a year in which you laid down some building blocks that will make 2018 a great year for you and yours. The ECA wishes you all that is great, as well as the strength and courage to deal with the inevitable curve balls that will be thrown your way – in your personal life and in your business.

The ECA is looking at 2018 with great enthusiasm. For the first time in the history of this organisation, we are going to have an intake of no less than 200 apprentices. These apprentices were selected from more than 1 800 applicants who responded to our announcement calling for interested candidates to apply for an electrical apprenticeship at the ECA(SA). The successful candidates will be formally taught at our training centre and undergo practical training at member firms.

The process is such that our members – the employers in this industry – will participate in the training themselves. This is hugely important because it means that, once qualified, the apprentice will immediately be commercially useful as he will be familiar with the world of work.

This project is going to be successful because of the enthusiastic involvement of our members – they are the real heroes of this project. And it’s appropriate that, this year, we will proudly introduce a new category at the Presidential Excellence Awards to honour the ‘Skills Developer of the Year’. I am looking forward to seeing the winner proudly walk up to the podium and accept this award. Indeed, it would be great if it this award could be presented by the Minister of Higher Education and Training.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the National Skills Fund (NSF) are the sponsors of this skills development project, having approved the ECA(SA)’s proposal to this end; and for that, we remain eternally humbled at being chosen to deliver on this national development imperative. We must give citizens an opportunity to be the very best that they can; and when we empower them with skills, we have a better chance at success. This country deserves it.

It is not enough to train people simply to become technicians and artisans and to be employees – we must teach them to be managers and astute business people. We must teach them to be honest business practitioners who will, someday, compete for work and employ people. For this reason, we will be teaching these apprentices critical skills relating to, amongst others, Estimating and Tendering, Project Administration, Contract Documentation, Quantity Surveying and Human Resources Management. They must know these things so as that they can be managers in the businesses where they are employed, or become effective business practitioners in the businesses that they themselves would own and manage. The future of this country demands it and all industries must do it.

It excites me that this year we will open two buildings that are owned by electrical contractors. We have new offices to be opened in the South/East Cape where we have always been tenants of some or other landlord. Members will have a new home in 2018. In Pretoria, we will also be opening a new space, which makes possible the opportunity for training and development in both technical aspects and management. We will release details in due course. Exciting times!

We remain committed to serving our members and adding value to their businesses. Please use our services to this end. We honour you as employers through whose efforts people can earn an income and support their families. May the Almighty bless all your efforts and keep you in good health.




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