Illovo Aims High With New Technical Training Academy
"THE inaugural Illovo Academy Agricultural programme got off to a fun-filled start at Ubombo in March "
IMAGE (Above): HEAD OFFICE personnel and delegates gather for the first Illovo Academy agricultural programme, which was held at Ubombo.
THE Illovo Board has approved a project to establish a Technical Training Academy on vacant land adjacent to the Eston administration block. Eston is centrally based in relation to Noodsberg, Umzimkulu and Sezela sugar mills and this will make it possible, where necessary, for aspects of the curriculum to be delivered at these other South African mills.
The academy plans provide for a fully-integrated campus comprising lecture and break-away rooms and accommodation for 24 delegates at any one time.
The proximity of the academy site to the factory was a key aspect in deciding on the location of the academy. It is important that delegates have quick and easy access between the classroom and operations.
The academy programmes will initially be directed at factory process and maintenance foremen and farm managers and area managers but will be expanded to include operator training for key skills such as pan boiling and boiler operator.
The building completion date is set for May 2015. In the interim, aspects of the Agricultural Academy curriculum are being rolled out, starting at Ubombo.
Ubombo Kicks it off with the Agrics
THE inaugural Illovo Academy Agricultural programme got off to a fun-filled start at Ubombo in March as delegates and visitors from head office were put to the test by having to don all the necessary protective clothing and equipment usually used by herbicide operators, and then having to demonstrate their (in)ability to operate a knapsack applicator! Fortunately no experienced herbicide operators were present to witness this spectacle (PICTURED).
Then it was to the serious stuff. Delegates were formally welcomed to Ubombo (the venue for the first programme) by the Managing Director of Ubombo, Oswald Magwenzi, and the programme was officially opened by Geoff Trott, the group agricultural performance manager.
The Agricultural Development programme, one of the core programmes of the Illovo Academy, is aimed at area and farm managers across the group. The curriculum comprises seven sugar cane husbandry modules, namely planting, irrigation, harvesting and cane quality, mechanisation, pest and disease management, sugar cane nutrition and weed control. There is a module on CanePro and farm planning as well as modules on managing work teams and on-the-job training, safety, health and environmental practices and budget and cost control.
The programme is presented in two three-week sessions with a balance between in-classroom lectures and group exercises, and in-field observation and case studies. Because of the practical nature of the curriculum, the number of delegates on each programme is limited to 12. Delegates are required to meet stringent assessment criteria which include written tests and the completion of on-the-job practical assignments.
The intention is to run three programmes per season. The second programme will be run at Nakambala, commencing on 3rd August.
IMAGE (Above): HOW to operate a knapsack herbicide applicator got proceedings off to a warm start.