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Wetland contractors learn management skills

by Sharon Hammond
on 19 Oct 2010
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Emerging contractors who are helping to preserve South Africa's wetlands are being taught how to manage their businesses better.

Initiated by the government's Working for Wetlands programme, the training project focuses on Limpopo, Gauteng and North West.

"We never had training in these skills before; we were only trained in first aid and fire awareness. But now I am getting computer, marketing and financial skills. I can now run my business confidently and profitably because I have skills on how to make and save money," said contractor Nicodimus Morifi.

Morifi, a 36-year-old father of two from Ekurhuleni in Gauteng, is one of 167 contractors working for the Working for Wetlands programme.

The contractors are drawn from the community and are appointed to help rehabilitate wetlands by, for example, building gabions and other structures to stabilise marshy areas.

Working for Wetlands initiated the training project last year with support from the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) and the Expanded Public Works Programme.

The contractors were registered and graded with the CIDB, while Seda and associated provincial agencies deployed experts to assess their needs.

It was found that they needed training in financial management, effective tendering, costing and pricing, record keeping and marketing.

The project focuses on contractor development, business support, training and mentorship.

"Many emerging contractors join the Working for Wetlands rehabilitation projects with no background in running a business, therefore the programme assists them to register businesses and become legally compliant," said Working for Wetlands' social development and training manager, Conride Mhlari.

"Through these initiatives, contractors are supported to ensure that they gain necessary skills and capacity to compete in the mainstream economy and not depend on the programme," he added.

The first phase of training started in July and will be rolled-out to other provinces during the second half of the 2010/2011 financial year.

Working for Wetlands is housed within the South African National Biodiversity Institute and seeks to rehabilitate and protect wetlands in partnership with landowners, communities, civil society and the private sector. - BuaNews

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