Two women entrepreneurs are inching closer to their goals in a male-dominated industry after successfully completing the South African National Road Agency Limited’s (Sanral) enterprise development programme.
The programme, which was launched in the Eastern Cape recently, offers training to small businesses along the national roads Sanral builds, upgrades and maintains.
Small contractors are trained in routine maintenance work, with seven such small contractors already having been awarded certificates for their involvement in a maintenance work programme along the N2 in the Eastern Cape.
According to the co-owner of Nhlapo Construction (from King William’s Town), Amanda Nhlapo, the training will assist her in taking over the running of the business from her mother-in-law, a dream she could soon see realised after receiving a national certificate in construction contracting from Sanral.
Nhlapo now has the know-how to run the business and can take over.
A fellow participant in the programme, Sandra Lewis – another woman contractor from King William’s Town – also received a national certificate in construction contracting.
She says her business will never be the same again.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Lewis said: “It was not easy. The course was hard at times and also required me to be away from home a lot, but I am overjoyed.
The sacrifice has paid off.”
Lewis co-owns Damian’s Construction with her husband.
The other small construction businesses that participated in the programme include Tsitsikamma Fencing, Mosadi Business Enterprise, CDA Construction, Stark Ark
Trading and Penny Farthing Engineering.
The training programme was for the maintenance of the N2 from Nature’s Valley to Colchester just outside Port Elizabeth, and then to East London. The small contractors are mentored by experts for the project duration.
Assessments are conducted on the contractors’ development plans, and in certain cases, staff are identified to complete their adult basic education and national certificate in construction contracting training courses are accredited according to the National Qualifications Framework.
The Eastern Cape programme was run jointly with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth, Penny Farthing Engineering, which is the main contractor, and AECom/Mott McDonald PDNA Joint Venture.
Sanral prioritises 60% of small business participation on all routine road maintenance contracts in the southern region.
Mentor and trainer Dr Malcolm Figg of the NMMU says the programme had transformed mentees from survivalists to sustainable businesses.
The road agency advertises this programme in local newspapers where it will be carrying the road maintenance and upgrade works.
There is no cost involved in participating. All small businesses involved in construction are welcome to take part. The duration of the programme depends on the size of the project, ranging from three to six months.
- Go to www.nra.co.za for more information.