2016 Jobs Fund Learning Forum Award Winners

At its fourth annual Learning Forum the Jobs Fund recognised some of its partners who have made a noteworthy contribution to decreasing unemployment in South Africa through breakthrough ideas and partnerships that lead to sustainable jobs. Not only are these projects on track, or exceeding their targets they have reported timeously and shown overall good practice.

The certificates of recognition were awarded as follows:
Certificate of Recognition: Enterprise Development

Recognising the threat the forestry sector was under the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative – South Africa – Eastern Cape Development Corporation, better known as ASGISA-Eastern Cape, project sought to establish sustainable community-owned commercial forestry plantations in nine communities in the Eastern Cape. This project is helping these communities to become viable commercial entities that supply good-quality timber, and create jobs (574) and wealth.

Certificate of Recognition: Support for Work Seekers

The next recognition award went to a project that has received international recognition for its work in wildlife conservation. The Southern African Wildlife College’s Unlocking Community Benefits through Conservation project has managed to create 130 permanent jobs (field rangers) and train 137 beneficiaries in a critical sector i.e. wildlife conservation.

Certificate of Recognition: Infrastructure Development

Mercedes-Benz has built a learning academy in East London, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, which officially opened in March this year. The initiative stemmed from the lack of trained artisans to fill critical technical positions. The academy has trained 476 persons, created 180 new permanent jobs and placed 240 in vacant positions in the province’s automotive industry. Mercedes-Benz draws on artisans and interns from this learning academy into sustainable employment at its plant and also assists in satisfying the demand of other employers by making available a ready supply of appropriately skilled labour.

Certificate of Recognition: Leverage

The final award recognised a partner that has gone over and above what even they had expected. Financing for the Ashburton Guarantee Mechanism Crowd in Investors project comprises of R75 million from the Jobs Fund and R1.3 million from Ashburton Investments. The guarantee mechanism was expected to leverage a further R298.7 million of investor funds that would be invested via a fund managed by Ashburton. To date Ashburton has leveraged R 515.9 million against the R75 million guarantee, crowding in private funding for the SME sector. The project aims to create 9,635 jobs over a three-year period by providing SMEs with access to funding. Using a guarantee mechanism to partially cover investment losses, the project encourages the private sector (pension funds, corporates and other institutional investors) to invest in SMEs which are perceived as risky but have the ability to create jobs. While the Fund recognises and celebrates the achievement of its projects partners it is acutely aware of the challenges associated with catalysing additional demand for labour and therefore it actively pursues an agenda of mutually beneficial collaboration and partnerships.