eThekwini Municipality Celebrates 2023 Skills Graduation with Remarkable Success

We had the privilege of facilitating the annual skills graduation ceremony at the Durban Royal Golf Course. In collaboration with eThekwini Municipality, we welcomed learners from the Durban Automotive Cluster, Durban Chemicals Cluster, KZN Clothing and Textiles Cluster, and the eThekwini Furniture Cluster. This prestigious event celebrated the remarkable achievements of the 2023 graduates of the Cluster skills programmes. The programmes are seed-funded by the eThekwini Municipality’s Economic Development Programmes Department (EDP), which is mandated to promote economic development, job creation, economic transformation, and economic intelligence within the municipal region.

Set against the picturesque backdrop of the eThekwini Metropolitan skyline, the event radiated with the energy of over 150 graduates, along with their managers, HR personnel, and skills champions, all elegantly dressed to impress.

The ceremony commenced with a warm welcome from the head of skills development, expressing gratitude to the dedicated trainers, mentors, learners, and industry partners whose collaborative efforts made the program’s success possible.

Impactful Programs Driving Transformation

In his Keynote speech, Takalani Rathiyaya, the Head of eThekwini Municipality’s Economic Development Programmes Department, emphasised the significance of the skills programs and their impact on developing a thriving economy. “Our graduates this year have collectively saved the industry over R50 million through their practical projects and continuous improvement efforts,” Takalani remarked, “This type of problem solving supports growth and the transformation of manufacturing sectors”. He also remarked at the impact that problem solving can have for individuals outside of the work environment, where trainees have been able to better their home, family and environmental circumstances using the same principles.

Promoting Leadership and Inclusivity

A notable aspect of the ceremony was the emphasis on leadership development and gender inclusivity. Numerous graduates indicated that they had been promoted to leadership positions since completion of the training, showcasing the tangible outcomes of investing in skills development. Particularly inspiring was the increasing number of women assuming leadership roles, marking a significant step towards gender parity in the manufacturing sector.

Wins from Learner Presentations

The event showcased the achievements of learners through engaging presentations.

Amanda Mbheki, a young Laboratory Technician at Dyefin Textiles, spearheaded an efficiency optimization project, saving 20 minutes per order in her department, which had been used to search for dye recipes. Her initiative not only resulted in time saved but also demonstrated her leadership abilities in leading her team towards improved efficiency.

Vivek Singh from Bell Equipment demonstrated a remarkable increase in production output through innovative planning strategies, resulting in an estimated annual saving of over R200,000. He did this with the help of his team of over 50 employees, and inspired others listening to his presentation to work collaboratively towards a common goal through is strong emphasis on personable leadership.

Despite his initial nerves, Bulelani Mqatshi from Kansai Plascon shared a powerful testimony about team work and the impact simple solutions can make. Standing on stage with him was his team, cheering him on as he shared his project to the audience. Bulelani identified and tackled a resin leak on his line that had existed since 2015, using his new knowledge of waste reduction and 6S principles. He proudly shared that there are no more leaks and he is able to act as stand-in supervisor when his supervisor is on leave.

Kaylin Naidoo from AlcoNCP successfully enhanced the distillery’s production capacity, resulting in an 8.4% increase in capacity and reduced steam consumption. His project resulted in a return on investment period of less than three months. The remainder, delivering saving to the business for months and years to come.

Dineo Sarah Mothapo, born in a Township in Limpopo, is now a Value Chain Coordinator at Mr Price Group. Here, she took the opportunity to use the training to streamline reporting processes, reducing reporting time from 3 days to 3 hours and improving data accuracy. Her initiative demonstrated her leadership in driving process improvements with a variety of stakeholders, supporting operational efficiency within her organization.

Atmosphere of Success and Collaboration

Throughout the ceremony, the atmosphere brimmed with enthusiasm and camaraderie. Participants and attendees alike shared in the joy of celebrating collective achievements and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. The event served as a testament to the power of collaboration between industry stakeholders and the municipality in driving positive change within the manufacturing sector.

It was a joyous occasion, where representatives from the Cluster Executive Committees along with the dignitaries from eThekwini Municipality were able to present awards to the learners and shake their hands as they came up on stage. Dressed to impress, there was dancing and singing, and a joyful noise celebrating their achievements.

A Vision for the Future

In his speech, Takalani Rathiyaya reiterated the municipality’s commitment to broadening its impact and advancing the skills landscape. “Together, we’ll continue to elevate the manufacturing sector, contributing positively to our communities and the broader economy,” Takalani stated, outlining a vision for sustained prosperity and resilience.

In conclusion, the 2023 Skills Graduation Ceremony stood as a beacon of success and optimism, symbolizing the collective efforts of individuals, organizations, and the municipality in shaping a brighter future for eThekwini’s manufacturing industry.

As the event drew to a close, attendees departed with a renewed sense of purpose and determination, ready to continue their journey towards excellence and innovation in the dynamic world of manufacturing.