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EBH Namibia – empowering employees through international skills transfer
23 April 2013

Elgin Brown & Hamer (EBH) Namibia, now part of the DCD Marine Cluster, has embarked on a skills development exchange programme with leading French ship building and ship repair company Piriou Shipyard.

The initiative, part of the company’s CSI strategy, has already seen three of EBH Namibia’s welders embark on a three-month period at Piriou, where they will gain invaluable training in aluminium welding. This is with a view to the company’s growth in the Fast Support and Intervention Vessel (FSIV) repair market.

Hannes Uys, Chief Executive Officer at EBH Namibia explains: “We have identified a huge potential for growth in the FSIV market, and plan to position the company accordingly. FSIV’s are largely constructed out of aluminium. As aluminium welding is a scarce skill in Namibia, we chose three of our top welders to gain international experience and training in this sought-after skill.” The trio, Frans Hoaeb, Vilho Hangula and Vaino Junias left for France on 2 March 2013.

Piriou Shipyard, based on the southern Brittany coast, has been in the ship repair industry for more than 45 years, and is one of EBH Namibia’s valued clients. Like EBH Namibia, Piriou’s main areas of operation are medium sized vessels and offshore supply vessels.

Says Uys: “We have a very good relationship with Piriou, and they are committed to the exchange of employees for training and development purposes. The Piriou Group is renowned for the design and construction of FSI vessels, and we believe that the exposure and skill gained by this initiative will not only benefit the employees chosen, but will also facilitate the transfer of skills gained within the entire EBH workforce.”

Willie Esterhuyse, Commercial Manager at EBH Namibia, adds: “The need for skills upliftment and the personal development of our employees cannot be overstated.  We view the exchange agreement with Piriou as a phenomenal opportunity for our employees as Namibians citizens, to gain exposure from the best in the world in the ship repair industry. This will make EBH Namibia more competitive thanks to the investment in international best practice and skills.”

NAMPORT, Namibia’s National Port Authority, is the majority shareholder (53%) in EBH Namibia.  In a strategic move which has been in the pipe line since 2011, DCD Group has successfully acquired 47 % shares in EBH Namibia. The rationale behind the acquisition is to leverage EBH’s strong brand and DCD’s established marine track record to boost global competitiveness.

The company, which currently operates two floating dry docks in Walvis Bay, with a third planned for August 2013, sees its membership of the DCD Marine cluster as instrumental to its growth and development as one of the leading ship repair companies along the west coast of Africa.

“This along with an ongoing commitment to local skills development through our international exchange programmes will help to broaden our knowledge and expertise, and enhance EBH Namibia’s position as a world class service provider within the ship repair industry,” Uys concludes.
 
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