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The Kruger National Park (KNP)’s HOD: Technical Services, Blake Schraader presented the certificates to 150 emerging contractors in Skukuza on Friday, August 19, 2011. The certificates are for the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) contractor training which ran for the first time in the Park (March-July 2011) and was funded by South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs’ social responsibility programme.
The programme is aimed at supporting small and medium-sized companies in the construction industry and forms part of the KNP’s broader strategy for economic empowerment and social responsibility programmes, which focuses on communities around the Park.
The training focused on the basics of providing skills such as occupational health and safety, first aid procedures, life skills, environmentally responsible work practice as well as technical vocational skills such as bricklaying, plastering, painting, thatching, tiling, plumbing etc.
“Training is beneficial to these contractors as they deal with issues of safety and service delivery in their daily operations; therefore it is important that they conduct their work safely and to the highest technical quality. As South African National Parks (SANParks), the focus is also on creating more employment opportunities for our local communities; with skills development and mentoring as key elements, explained Schraader.
The Southern African Wildlife College, that has over the years contributed to the career development of the staff in the park and still continue to do so, facilitated the EPWP training programme on-site at the main camps in the park. With continuous funding from the Department, the programme is set to continue in the park, in the next few years.
* Kruger National Park is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park