The artisan industry seems to be in a nosedive, with apprentice intake arguably heading for a significant drop for the year as company’s cut back due to continued pressures in the mining and commodities markets.
However, some artisan training companies, such as Artisan Training Institute (ATI), are not registering dwindling numbers – and are standing steady in the face of a worrying cutback in apprentice numbers.
This is according to Sean Jones, co-founder and director of artisan training company ATI, who says: “Employers among our client base are looking for quality training and, as such, there has not been a major drop off in our sales. Although some of our clients have reduced their apprentice compliments, we have secured a number of new clients which has helped maintain our sales. Although this has been the trend, we are cautious about growth during 2016. Indications are that next year could also see a sustained drop-off in apprentice intakes.
“We have also seen an increase in spending related to companies wanting to improve their BBBEE scores on the new codes – which have become quite onerous. ATI has an established programme where they identify talented youth for training and placement in industry. We currently have a 100% placement rate,” says Jones.
Meanwhile, mining and commodity-focused companies continue to battle as operational and labour costs increase in the mining industry, and commodity prices remain in the doldrums – resulting in major headaches for commodities-focused companies.
“The real conundrum facing the artisan training industry is that we are facing a shortfall of around 30 000 artisans, yet apprentice intakes have dived considerably,” Jones says.