The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says that successes achieved by Abagold Way aqua enterprise in increasing its employee workforce even during tough economic times is testimony that there is an existing abundance of job growth opportunities in the aqua-culture and processing industry. Davies was speaking in Hermanus during the “Taking the dti to the factories” campaign that was embarked upon by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in partnership with Productivity SA to witness Abagold Ways’ successes since its uptake of the Workplace Challenge Programme. Abagold Way cultivates, produces and markets natural abalone.
“We need to unearth more of these opportunities and we need to move this work further forward. We look forward to strengthening this partnership and to helping Abagold become the gold standard in the global abalone farming industry,” said Davies.
Minister Davies highlighted that the programme is trying to bring up improvements in competitiveness based on productivity.
“The Programme we’re celebrating here today is something called the workplace challenge. It’s a programme supported by the national economic labour council. The national productivity institute is part of that. Over the years they have supported 250 enterprises with about 500 000 people. What happens is that there is a small contribution from the enterprise itself and a larger portion comes from the dti through the skills for the economy programme. That is how we come into the picture as the dti. Abalone farming is a high value industry which we have identified as part of our oceans economy strategy,” added Minister Davies.
Abagold Way Managing Director, Mr Tim Hedges stated that the Workplace Challenge Programme has made a big difference in the company.
“It was through the implementation of the Workplace Challenge programme that the company was able to successfully increase its employee workforce from 323 in 2012 to 463 in 2016. As an organisation we have been blessed in that we recently received the Exporter of the Year Award from the Cape Chamber of Commerce in recognition of our efforts. A lot of the accolades we have received from the industry have been a great motivator,” said Hedges.
In 2015, the dti renewed the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Productivity SA as a programme management entity for the Workplace Challenge Programme.
The Programme aims to improve the productivity and competitiveness of enterprises through collaboration between employers and employees on issues such as developing common goals, implementing improvements that lead to a world class competitiveness and best operating practices.
The Chief Executive Officer for Productivity SA, Mr Mothunye Mothiba said that the Workplace Challenge Programme is about building a culture of dialogue between management and employees in an organisation.
“And I have seen the fruits of that today. If you listen to employees at this facility you get a sense of what worker involvement is about,” said Mothiba.
Mothiba added that the Workplace Challenge Programme starts with small things.
“At the heart of productivity is the elimination of obstacles. Over and above you can see that since Abagold joined the WPC Programme their turnover has since increased, their productivity has increased and the number of workers they employ has also increased. What we want as Productivity SA is to have the culture of productivity and competitiveness by focussing on enhancing the productive capacity and operational efficiency of enterprises across the value chain,” he said.
In conclusion, Mothiba said that they had finished implementing the programme at Abagold.
“Going forward we will be establishing productivity champions in each of these beneficiary companies to an extent that we create a community of practitioners that will work with our teams so that they continue working and maintaining the momentum,” said Mothiba.
Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.