A Journey In Partnership – PROearth

PROearth is a construction and mining company with a mission to add value. We are passionate about our people, clients and communities. But we had many challenges when we started: lack of skills; we needed a BEE certificate to remain competitive, and we needed to have our employees’ wellness at heart. As a small to medium company, we didn’t have the funds to achieve this so we had to come up with other solutions.
We approached the construction SETA for accreditation because training is a big expense in the company. We achieved our accreditation to train with the Construction SETA in 2017 and extended scope to the Transport and Services SETA in 2018. We wanted to have an in-house programme that we could customize, and that would be accredited. This addressed the lack of skills, our BEE score as well as employee wellness – not only for our employees but also for the community.
Working with SETA can be challenging, and take time, but there is a reward in it. Once we earned our accreditation, we applied for funding. We were awarded funding by the Construction SETA for learnerships in construction plant operations and internships in civil engineering. These programmes are managed in-house through our own accredited training facility.
We have recruited our staff’s children and family members for the learnership and internship programme. We have also absorbed some of the learners and interns from our learnership programme in 2017-2018.
We firmly believe that people are our most important asset and investing in them, their families and their communities is the foundation on which we build success. For PROearth, this has been beneficial as it has lifted the morale of the staff as the unemployed children of the employees are given an opportunity to complete a learnership and obtain a qualification.
It also means we can build our talent pool through the absorption of some of the learners, and it contributes towards the retention strategy of the company.
Finally, the learnership and internship programme contributes to our BBBEE scoreAs well as towards meeting the project requirements of training local people in the communities within which we operate. So, through these learnerships, we ticked all three boxes and it was paid for by the government.
Social development, can and should, be done responsibly through adding value to your employees, other businesses and communities around you. The SETA’s and government offers platforms such as discretionary funding, ETI, tax rebates etc to assist companies to conduct CSR responsibly.
After our experience, we set up a company called Learn Me, which is an HR training consortium to help companies set up and do the same for themselves and have the impact on their employees and communities.