27 November 2012 - Engineering, management and specialist technical services group Aurecon believes that much of a country’s success lies in the close involvement of the private sector in their local communities.
“Because of the economic sway these enterprises hold, they are in a position to make a real difference when it comes to tackling the many challenges our country faces,” explains Ronnie Khoza, Aurecon's Head of Offices, South Africa.
Likewise, our President stated in his February 2012 State of the Nation address: “Government alone cannot solve the challenges faced by the country, but working together, solutions are possible.”
Through a contribution to the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors’ (SAFCEC) Construction Cares Fund, Aurecon recently partnered with non-profit organisation Khuthaza, which offers career and enterprise development services within the construction industry, to empower learner contractors with enhanced skills with which to grow their businesses.
Founded informally in 1995, Khuthaza has grown to offer a number of programmes and support services aimed primarily at promoting the empowerment of women within industry.
Aurecon’s financial contribution has enabled a group of 60 contractors to undergo an 8-month contractor development programme with Khuthaza. In addition, this funding has contributed towards the establishment of Khuthaza’s Construction Career and Enterprise Development Centre in Johannesburg.
“We are deeply grateful for support from the private sector, which make initiatives like ours sustainable. Working together is the key to ensuring we enable people in our industry to live up to their potential, to keep momentum in transformation and to ensure we have the businesses and professionals available to deliver the building and infrastructure our nation will need in the future,” commented Elizabeth O’Leary, Executive Director of Khuthaza.
Khuthaza’s programmes combine personal development, business skills, technical skills and industry exposure.
“Through Khuthaza, many women have been exposed to new opportunities in a traditionally male-dominated industry. We have graduates who come from various backgrounds and often have no experience in construction, yet who have gained knowledge and experience through courses, workshops, information resources, technical skills training, site visits and interaction with industry leaders,” adds O’Leary.
Earlier this month Khuthaza hosted a graduation ceremony for the contractors completing their 8-month programmes this year. Aurecon, SAFCEC, Tiber, PPC and other Khuthaza partners were recognised by graduates as a catalyst for change and enhanced socio-economic development.
“We have been incredibly impressed with the determination, dedication, resilience and longer-term vision the learner contractors in the 8-month programmes have shown this year,” comments O’Leary. She adds that Khuthaza is confident that, newly equipped with enhanced skills, the contractors will go on to enjoy even greater success in their respective careers.
Khoza concludes: “At Aurecon, we view it as vitally important to help accelerate the development of organisations through business relationships that will facilitate operational sustainability. Khuthaza has come a long way in promoting the practical development of women in the construction industry, and we are proud to be associated with them.”