Our people

Against the backdrop of a challenging year for our people, the asset of our people remains central to our success, which is why “unlocking people potential” remains one of our critical strategic KPIs (see here).

Scaw Metals Group recognises that skills are scarce in our industry and work hard to retain attractiveness for our existing workforce. We offer optimal working conditions and opportunities for development wherever possible. At the same time we continue to hold our employees to a high standard in order to achieve group performance and sustainability. Given that workforce morale was inevitably impacted by our restructuring programme in the year, we have embarked on a comprehensive employee engagement process under our group employee relations manager. (Read more here.)

Labour relations

We support the right of every employee to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Employees are represented by five unions – NUMSA, UASA, MEWUSA, Solidarity and SAEWA. The organisational rights of those unions are regulated by sections 11 to 22 of the Labour Relations Act. Scaw’s policy is to negotiate wages centrally and, as a result, 88,32% of employees are covered by the main agreement for the metal industry. The group engages in weekly communication with the individual employee unions and also at the monthly IR meetings. There were no incidents of labour unrest during the year.

Breakdown of workforce by region and employment type 2016

  • SA permanent: 3 769
  • SA fixed term: 521*
  • SA contractors: 531
  • Rest of Africa: 157
  • Australia: 80
  • North America: 3
* The fixed term figure includes graduates, learners, apprentices and other temporary staff. The increase in the figures for 2016 is due to an increased amount of graduates, learners and apprentices.


Breakdown of workforce by region and employment type 2015

  • SA permanent: 5 562
  • SA fixed term: 313*
  • SA contractors: 584
  • Rest of Africa: 192
  • Australia: 99
  • North America: 3
* The fixed term figure includes graduates, learners, apprentices and other temporary staff.

Skills development

Operating as we do in a skills scarce industry, Scaw places particular emphasis on training and development. Our apprenticeship, learnership and bursary programmes support the same end and at the same time are a means to realising our goal of creating social value.

During the year, the group Training division established a number of strong partnership agreements with external stakeholder funding organisations, as a result of its reputation as a consistently reliable and high-quality skills development partner. In particular, the group has been recognised by the Gauteng City Region Academy (GCRA), dti, Department of Infrastructure Development (DID), Mining Quality Authority (MQA) and merSETA as qualifying for special and additional grant funding for national priority training initiatives. These have enabled Scaw to access funding in excess of R12 million for special skills development programmes which have contributed to us achieving a very high score of above 20 points for the skills development element on the new (2013) BEE scorecard.

Scaw almost doubled our training spend year-on-year to R44,4 million spend (FY15: R20,9 million). Employees received a higher number of accredited training programmes (full qualifications and part qualifications) at 2 231 almost double the prior year (FY15: 1 247). Details on the courses conducted and attendance are set out in the table below:

Training and development courses Course outline Attendance FY15/16 Attendance FY14/15
Crane and machine operators Training of operators in overhead, pendant crane, forklift, slinging loads, hoist operator, tractors, front-end loaders, bell tractors, truck drivers and loco drivers 1 328 2 072
Production training Training of personnel in business understanding, business integrity, future forum, foundry skills, melting methods and operational requirements 388 2 103
Safety training Safety training in risk management, fatal risk standards, incident investigation, safety reps and safe operation procedures 6 188 3 792
Management training Supervisory programmes, skills programmes, competition compliance, quality programmes, SAP and computer training 899 894
Sub-total 8 803 8 861
Internal skills development programmes Apprentice training 151 114
Atrami programme/artisan apprenticeship 13 17
Welders NQF 2 18 0
Welders NQF 3 16 0
Internship P1 and P2 students 19 47
Graduate programme 94 64
NQF L2 production technology learnership 10 0
Children of employees learnership 27 0
Production learnership (PT2) 14 0
Production technology learnership L2 10 0
Supervisory learnership 37 0
Disabled learnership 105 0
Education, training and development programme 28 0
Electrical learnership 4 0
Mechanical learnership 5 0
Fitters learnership 2 0
Electrical learnership 2 0
Artisan learnership 6 0
Production school 105 0
Sub-total   666 242
Total non-accredited 8 570 8 078
Total accredited 2 231 1 247
Total employees trained 10 801 9 325


Training Objective Number of
Number of
Accredited coaching and mentoring training for first-line managers Training line managers in effectively coaching and developing their teams, managing performance and delivering consistently high performance 38 202
Accredited assessor training for first-line managers Ensuring first-line managers are accredited and competent in the assessment process in order to support the rollout of accredited qualifications – such as production learnerships, first-line management learnerships and production, safety and quality skills programmes 45 155
Accredited moderators for trainers Ensuring the quality of our learning and teaching by training trainers in a moderating process for checking and reviewing our assessment processes 21
Problem-solving training and root cause analysis for middle and junior managers Changing the reactive maintenance cycle, improve safety, integrity and reliability and optimise the asset lifecycle to effect significant improvement in performance. Root cause analysis and problem-solving training is a critical foundational skill for achieving operational excellence 129 109
A3 training for senior managers Establishing a baseline for hazard and risk management, managers received safety risk management training. This included an introduction to risk management as well as models of work processes and management systems used to develop effective risk management strategies 22
Black female management development programme (BFMDP) Equipping black female middle managers with the skills to become effective managers and to pursue the strategic objective of their companies. The management development programme bursary also creates a pathway for development and career growth for participating candidates. This programme attempts to address the skills gaps identified in the merSETA’s sector skills plan by enhancing the availability of skilled middle management in the manufacturing and engineering sectors and specifically supports the role of black female managers 13
EE submission To train our employment equity committees on correct methodology and requirements in submitting our employment equity plans 37 n/a
Facilitate with Participlan Train our trainers in different methods of facilitation to improve training 17 n/a
Finance for non-financial managers To equip our non-financial managers with the necessary tools to assist in drawing up and maintaining budgets 41 n/a
Work profiling To equip our human resource personnel with the necessary skills and knowledge to develop work profiles and job descriptions 13 n/a
Project breakthrough Provide first-line managers and facilitators with various options on project management 7 n/a
Hydraulic training Artisan development programme 119 n/a
Crisis management To equip senior management with the necessary tools to develop a crisis plan for the crisis management team (CMT) 14 n/a
Accredited measurement and statistics Provide first-line managers with the skills necessary to apply knowledge of statistics and probability to critically interrogate and effectively communicate findings on life-related problems 9 n/a
Accredited labour relations Training line managers, foremen and potential foremen with the necessary skills to demonstrate basic understanding of the primary labour legislation that impacts a business unit 58 n/a
Accredited supervisory techniques Training line managers, foremen and potential foremen in effective supervisory techniques to assist in managing their teams, managing performance and delivering consistently high performance 76 n/a
Train the trainer Train our trainers in different methods of facilitation to improve training 18 n/a
Accredited introduction to manufacturing environment Train our line managers, foremen and potential foremen to the world of manufacturing 30 n/a
Accredited introduction to warehousing To train warehouse personnel with the necessary knowledge and skills to manage and maintain a warehouse 15 n/a
Driven machinery regulations Introduce senior manager to the change in the driven machinery regulations 13 n/a
Accredited apply quality techniques To equip first-line managers with the necessary skills to enable them to monitor and control quality control practices in a manufacturing/engineering environment 13 n/a
Accredited project management Training line managers in effective methods of managing projects and budgets associated with these projects 29 n/a
Accredited maintain and monitor SHEQ Apply safety, health, environmental and quality principles which will enable them to design, implement and maintain management programmes related to health, safety, the environment and quality 8 n/a
Accredited allocator and planner of production tasks Provide planners and expeditors with the necessary knowledge and skills to enable them to explain the planning and scheduling of tasks in a production environment 22 n/a
Accredited production process operator Train first-line managers to demonstrate an understanding of manufacturing principles, methodologies and processes and to be able to control production and resource scheduling and planning in a manufacturing environment 12 n/a
Accredited SHE business relations Train line managers, foremen, SHE personnel and potential foremen in all aspects of business related to SHE 10 n/a
Accredited computer skills Ensure employees have the correct competency levels to deliver consistent high performance 6 n/a
Accredited tool setting and troubleshooting Provide artisan and machine operators with the necessary knowledge and skills to effective setting up of machines and troubleshooting 7 n/a
Automated pneumatic system installation Read and interpret electro-pneumatic circuit diagrams and related component symbols; identify and select electro-pneumatic components; install manual electro-pneumatic circuits; construct and programme an integrated programmable logic controller (PLC) electro-pneumatic circuit 45 n/a
Accredited facilitate learning Upskill trainers in facilitating methods to ensure quality training provided for continuous improvement 21 n/a

Our apprenticeship programme

Scaw has been committed to recruiting and training apprentices for over 40 years and was recognised in FY15 for these efforts by the SEIFSA “Best Artisan Programme” award. Our programme provides technical training in a number of trades with the majority of successful candidates embarking on a long and fruitful career with the company. It further serves a social value purpose as it promotes skills development beyond the company in the broader community – we have consistently produced more well-trained artisans than we can effectively accommodate at Scaw. In FY15, 23 apprentices successfully completed their trade.

The apprenticeship programme segues into an innovative career ladder framework which provides successful candidates with a structured progress path to senior technical and management positions. It is supported by structured skills and knowledge transfer. For Scaw, the programme enables structured succession planning and talent retention. We have now expanded apprenticeship programmes to technical learnerships, where a number of our internal employees and unemployed youth are being trained in these critical skills development programmes, supporting our career pipeline requirements and promoting employability of our youth.

The following apprenticeships were offered during the year:

Apprenticeship Enrolment
Male Female Enrolment
Male Female Enrolment
Male Female
Millwrights 5 2 3 10 8 2 8 4 4
Electrical 9 5 4 19 12 7 8 7 1
Fitter 13 8 5 17 10 7 9 8 1
Fitter and
4 3 1 5 4 1 4 4 0
Turner 13 10 3            
Boilermaker 5 5 2 2 0
Tool jig and die maker 2 2
Instrumentation 4 2 2 3 2 1
Total 50 30 20 59 41 18 31 25 6

Production technology learnership NQF L2 to 4

In FY15, we launched our new production training facility in conjunction with Gauteng City Region Academy – a first for the steel industry. The facility forms part of the production technology – metals specialisation learnership offered by merSETA and is accredited by SAQA. It provides a comprehensive 12-month technical production operator course which is conducted in a ratio of 30% theory:70% on-the-job learning. The pilot programme started in FY15 with 125 learners which includes a number of children of Scaw metals employees. Scaw has also simultaneously rolled out a production technology programme for its internal employees, supporting our critical production career pipeline.

Bursary scheme and graduate intern sponsorship

Scaw offers university bursaries in engineering disciplines. In the year, bursaries worth R934 772 (FY15: R539 736) were awarded to previously disadvantaged students. A total of 57 employees (FY15: 54) benefited from study assistance in the year.

Electrical, mechanical and metallurgical engineering graduates who join the group undergo Scaw-specific training in the group’s operations. A total of 113 interns were appointed in FY16 (FY15: 77). Notably, the majority of these are women in line with our drive to empower females in the industry.

Graduate intern sponsorship by gender

Details of the graduate trainee programmes are set out below:


  • Female: 61%
  • Male: 39%


  • Female: 61%
  • Male: 39%
  FY16 FY15
Discipline Gender %
Gender %
Male Female Male Female
Metallurgical engineering 8 5 11,50 1 2 5,56
Metallurgical engineering P1 – P2 9 7 14,16 5 5 18,52
Mechanical engineering 1 2 2,65 1 3 7,41
Mechanical engineering P1 – P2 0,00 1 1,85
Electrical engineering 4 1 4,42 2 3,70
Electrical engineering P1 – P2 0,00 2 3,70
Industrial engineering 3 4 6,19 1 1,85
Industrial engineering P1 – P2 0,00 1 1,85
Chemical engineering 1 1 1,77 0,00
Chemical engineering P1 – P2 0,00 1 2 5,56
Non-destructive testing 1 1 1,77 0,00
Non-destructive testing P1 – P2 1 1 1,77 1 1 3,70
Administration 0,00 3 7 18,52
Industrial psychology 1 0,88 1 1,85
Human resource management 1 5 5,31 4 7,41
Public relations and communications 1 0,88 3 5,56
Law 0,00 1 1,85
Accountancy 1 0,88 0,00
Accounting 1 0,88 1 1,85
Information technology 8 14 19,47 1 1 3,70
Information technology P1 – P2 0,00 1 1,85
Logistics 1 1 1,77 1 1,85
Environmental sciences 0,00 1 1,85
Administration in local government 1 0,88
Analytical chemistry 1 1 1,77
Computer systems 1 1 1,77
Cost management accounting 1 0,88
Office management and technology 9 7,96
Office management and technology P1 – P2 1 1 1,77
IT systems support 1 0,88
Management assistant 3 2,65
Draughting 2 2 3,54
Finance management 1 1 1,77
Business management 1 0,88
Welder 1 0,88
Total 47 66 100,00 21 33 100,00

The group has the following training accreditations:

Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Seta (merSETA) MerSETA skills programmes
  • National certificate: GETC – manufacturing, engineering and related services NQF level 1 (23253)
  • National certificate: production technology NQF level 2 (58781)
  • National certificate: production technology NQF level 3 (64189)
  • National certificate: production technology NQF level 4 (66449)
  • National certificate: manufacturing and assembly operations NQF level 4 (48915)
  • National certificate: GETC foundry production NQF level 1
  • National certificate: GETC foundry production NQF level 2
  • National certificate: GETC foundry production NQF level 3
  • Introduction to the manufacturing environment
  • Life skills – understand and deal with HIV/Aids
  • SHE business relations
  • Post-production finishing operations
  • Production process operations
  • Apply quality assurance techniques
  • Supervisory techniques
  • Labour relations in the workplace
  • Measurements and statistics within quality control
  • Post-production finishing operations
  • Maintain and monitor SHEQ systems and procedures
  • Optimising production
  • Tool setting and troubleshooting
Transport, Education Training Authority Seta (TETA) Media, Information and Communication Technologies Seta (MICT SETA)
  • Operating cranes
  • Operating lift trucks
  • National certificate: information technology; end-user computing
CESA Education, training and development programme (ETDP) accreditation
  • Accredited programme: steel wire rope technical training course
  • National higher certificate 50334 occupationally directed education training and development practices
  • National diploma 50333 occupationally directed education training and development practices

Case study

Skills development – producing excellence

Scaw has taken the lead in professionalising production to become an attractive career option for shop-floor employees, particularly in the steel manufacturing and engineering sectors.

During the year, we established a school of production excellence programme and launched a pilot production professional development programme with the intention of developing fit-for-purpose production skills.

The programme supports government’s strategy for industrialisation and localisation by offering skills development and work opportunities for unemployed youth. Candidates will be trained to become highly skilled production professionals who can progress from the shop floor to production operation managers, ensuring that not only Scaw but the sector as a whole has a steady, skilled talent pool. Further, the country’s manufacturing sector will benefit by becoming globally competitive.

A vibrant manufacturing sector is critical to the economy. It retains revenues inland, creates employment and boosts the social fabric of the country (SEIFSA June 2015: 16). Over the past 25 years, there has been a steady decline in the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the South African economy and a major driver has been the lack of professional production skills. Traditionally, shop-floor production employees are employed off the street with no prior training. By equipping the labour force with suitable skills we hope to address this.

Similar development programmes, supported by heavy funding, exist for artisans. However, this programme is a first in developing production employees with potential to create sustainable employment for unemployed youth. The ratio of production workers to artisans in manufacturing is 10:1.

The programme is based on a combination of 12 to 15 months’ theoretical and practical training and assessments in the production school, combined with workplace experiential learning and assessments. The learners will then be certified as competent to be appointed into permanent production positions.

Significant effort has been made designing and developing a career path for the production professional in Scaw. The pathway has multiple entry and exit points and is built on knowledge progression.

We are monitoring the pilot programme and will use the lessons learnt to shape and improve rollout in the future. Going forward, we anticipate that the programme can be replicated by other companies and industries as a model for technical skills training, with the key output being well-prepared, work-ready learners.

The lessons we have already learnt to date can also be applied to our existing apprenticeship training programmes and include:

  • Using a problem-based approach in delivering the curriculum, ensuring practical classroom interaction
  • Providing a learner-centred delivery model
  • Going beyond traditional “chalk and talk approach”
  • Using innovative technology-based blended learning
  • Using an interactive e-learning platform
  • Rigorous upfront assessment and matching regime to ensure the most appropriate candidates for the programme in terms of ability and career interest
  • Introducing a work readiness and personal leadership mastery programme including real life simulations of the workplace

Production Training School Programme Strategy

Production School:
Knowledge/theory in classroom

Production School:
Practical on training machines

Production on-the-job training:
Work experience

On-the-job assessment

    National certificate

  • Production Technology NQF level 2 to 4
  • SAQA and merSETA accredited