A Word from MIC’s CEO, Mary Bomela
Our reason for being is to make possible some of the key benefits of membership to the National Union of Mineworkers, with the drive to help South Africans reach a better life. Primarily, we have achieved this through various programmes that touch not only the lives of the members but their families too. Which is why this year, 2020, we are proud to be celebrating with the Elijah Barayi Memorial Training Centre (EBMTC) on their 25th anniversary.
The EBMTC is an important institution for members, their families and South Africa. The institution, whose mandate was training shop stewards, is now aiming to become a fully-fledged FET college. In addition to shop steward capacity building, members and their families will have access to a broad range of viable vocational training programmes that will help create new career opportunities, and advance existing careers for a better life.
Why vocational skills? And why now? In 2015, 20 years into our existence as the investing arm of the NUM, we reviewed our various beneficiary programmes against the progression of our country and the economy. We know that education, financial inclusion, healthcare and housing are key development pillars for society – addressing inequalities in those areas helps society get closer to a better life. We looked at education, and our country and after much engagement, realised the opportunity for growth.
The country had come a long way from our recent chequered history with notable leaps in social and economic development. Education institutions that had guaranteed artisans had evolved into academic institutions, leaving a worrying gap in vocational skills development. The real need to bridge that gap lay in reviving FET colleges. For NUM, these would arm members and their families with skills that guaranteed employment in an economy that has an oversupply of academic graduates and a lessening repository of vocational expertise. Meeting this need in our members’ lives meets the need in the economy too. Our country is desperate for practical skills that would contribute to industry and help carry our economy forward .
This is where the evolution of the EBMTC came in. MIC helped establish a dedicated new academy within the training centre. We committed R30 million to the development of the unit where NUM membership and their families are able to access a suite of viable vocational skills programmes. This evolution aligns seamlessly with the training centre’s objective, which is to help people reach their full potential through relevant skills development programmes.
This academy emboldens the education benefit that NUM members and their families are entitled to. While the NUM will continue to ensure that members are heard, and their grievances are handled in their workplaces; as the investing arm of NUM, we are ensuring that the membership and their families have effective means of upward mobility to reach a better life. And therein is the power of investing – together, we are focusing on making the present better and ensuring that the future of our families, communities and our country is in the capable hands of skilled, economically active South Africans.
As the Elijah Barayi Memorial Training Centre celebrates 25 years, and the country celebrates 26 years of democracy, we continue to toil, and make inroads to support efforts for self-determination, and a better life for all.