by Media Xpose

Durban, KwaZulu-Natal – The Westown Foundation, in collaboration with Stefanutti Stocks Academy, today launched the 2 700m2 Westown Training Centre on the site of the new city of the west, Westown Shongweni. The Westown Foundation with a focus on skills development, education and literacy, has been set up to foster the sustainable participation of the greater Shongweni community, in the socio-economic and environmental opportunities that the development of Westown will create. The new centre was officially opened by eThekwini Mayor, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda.

Stefanutti Stocks has officially been developing and offering internal industry best-practice training since 2010 and since February 2023, with the introduction of the Stefanutti Stocks Academy, the company has been able to offer CETA-accredited Plant Operator training, an accredited Apprenticeship Programme, and cater to skills training requirements specific to the needs of the Group. The academy’s courses are presented by Stefanutti Stocks’ registered facilitators, assessors, and moderators.

Both the Westown Foundation and the Stefanutti Stocks Academy have skills development and literacy as cornerstonesthat will enable self-sufficient local communities to access opportunities, both in the immediate area and further afield, to live, work and thrive in the long term.

“The Outer-West has lagged behind many of the province’s regions in terms of development, investment and growthopportunities, and the Westown Foundation has been set up to facilitate and amplify local socio-economic opportunities that the development of Westown will create in the surrounding communities,” says Sean Bergsma, Chairperson of The Westown Foundation. 

Over the next two years, the training facility, constructed by the Stefanutti Stocks Academy, will provide development  and training opportunities for up to 15 qualifying individuals per intake, to accumulate knowledge, gain experience, increase their employability, and be CETA certified in certain specific construction skills. These include, Construction Hand Tools, Safety Awareness, Brick Work, Plaster, Painting, Basic Concrete, Reinforcing and Formwork training. A construction plant simulator, equipped with a variety of modules for Operator training and staffed by various qualified trainers, will give trainees a sense of life ‘on the job’. 

It is anticipated that over the two-year period 60-80 Operators will qualify and around 500 people will pass through the Academy equipped with the relevant skills to find work in the construction sector within the province, some of which will be at Westown.

“Where-ever and whenever possible, Stefanutti Stocks offers development opportunities to individuals from the community even if they are not directly employed on the project/s we are working on,” says Matthew Horwill, Managing Director of Stefanutti Stocks Coastal Civils Discipline.

“Our community operator training will create capacity beyond the project’s requirement, thus contributing to a provincial pool of accredited, local surface machinery operators that are able to offer an accredited skill when seeking employment on other developments and construction sites across the province.”

The launch of the Westown Training Centre, sees the roll-out of two key book-end projects for the Westown Foundation– education at the one end and job creation at the other. Working in conjunction with The Learn Project, The Westown Foundation will fund the installation of Book Corners (reading spaces) in a primary school in each of the two wards inwhich Westown is located. “Literacy is not just about the joy of being able to access a world of stories and imagination, it builds the foundation for critical thinking and problem solving that, in turn, develops empowered communities,” says Cara Reilly, Westown Place Marketing & Communication Executive.

“The launch of the Westown Training Centre is the first of many socio-economic and community development projects the Westown Foundation will be involved in over the coming years and we want to ensure that each of them has a meaningful and lasting impact. This is why we have started this journey with partners like the Stefanutti Stocks Academy and The Learn Project, which have proven track records of good planning and long-term success,” concluded Carlos Correia CEO Fundamentum Dev Co (FDC).

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