too few skills in Steel industry

THE steel industry is lagging in skills development to drive growth, a survey released yesterday showed.

THE steel industry is lagging in skills development to drive growth, a survey released yesterday showed.

Once the economy climbed out of recession both skills and training would be needed to bolster growth, the Steel Industry Survey 2009, carried out by Landelahni Business Leaders, found.

Landelahni chief executive Sandra Burmeister said: "The economic slowdown has brought breathing space to companies employing large numbers of engineers and artisans, but scarce technical and engineering skills are still in demand.

"The skills shortage in SA will continue to be exacerbated because, although there has been a rise in engineering graduates over the past three years and a concerted effort is being made in the area of artisan training, there are still too few technical skills available," Burmeister said.

On employment equity, the steel industry lagged the all-industry average in core operational functions at all levels, from top management to skilled technical staff.

In core functions, blacks in top management accounted for 8,7percent against the all-industry average of 24,2percent. At the skilled technical level, the steel industry employed 45,1percent blacks compared with the all-industry average of 67,9percent.

Women made up 4,3percent of top management posts against the all-industry average of 17,8percent, while at the skilled technical level women represented 11,1percent against the all-industry average of 39,3percent.

University and technikon enrolments across all engineering courses from 1998 to 2007 totalled 321459, of which 41480 graduated - a pass rate of 12,9percent for degrees and diplomas.

University degree engineering enrolments over the same period totalled 103159, with 17143 graduates, a 16,6percent pass rate.

On average 1714 engineers graduated each year over the past 10 years.

The number of black metallurgical engineering graduates increased from 74 to 198 between 2003 and 2007 and those in chemical engineering from 232 to 712.

This increase in graduates indicated that efforts by the industry sector to increase bursaries and attract students had paid off. - Sapa