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Back to the Chalk Board - EBH Namibia builds on its in-house skills base as employer of choice
05 February 2014

  Ship repair company Elgin Brown & Hamer (EBH) Namibia, part of the DCD Marine cluster, has worked hard to become an employer of choice in Namibia. One of the ways the company has done this is through actively developing its employees, providing ideal opportunities in which to advance people’s careers.

Far from merely paying lip service to training and development, EBH Namibia filled its calendar in 2013 with a variety of challenging courses for its staff, and 2014 looks set to continue along the same lines.

“As a key player in the pan-African and international shipping industry, we have long placed training and career development at the top of our agenda. However, this is becoming increasingly vital in order for us to continue to compete in the global space and be able to offer a world class service,” says Hannes Uys, Chief Executive Officer at EBH Namibia.

With people development at the core of its corporate culture, EBH Namibia has invested valuable time in recent months on several training initiatives. From management to welding, leadership to rigging, finance to safety, many of the company’s personnel have been put through their paces.

“Like most other industries, the shipping industry is changing all the time. EBH Namibia is also on a growth path, particularly in the wake of the arrival of the Panamax floating dock in July last year which has substantially increased our docking capacity and cemented our reputation as a quality, capable international marine service provider,” says Uys.

In light of this, and in order to keep abreast with the latest technologies, the company recently trained its vessel managers in the new practices of dry docking. This training was facilitated by a South African engineering company specialising in coastal consulting and harbour engineering.

At the same time, four semi-skilled riggers were sent to South Africa for skills upgrading in order to become fully qualified rigging artisans. The training is being conducted over a period of six months, ending in March 2014, and is being facilitated by MCD Training Centre, a subsidiary company of the DCD Group.

Safety awareness is at the forefront of operations at EBH Namibia, and the company complies with international safety standards at all times. During November and December 2013, two of the company’s safety officers obtained study loans to attend the SAMTRAC course in Swakopmund. SAMTRAC is an internationally accredited safety course that aims at equipping candidates with the skills to plan, implement and maintain a focused SHE (Safety Health and Environment) management system.

In a further bid to up-skill and grow the careers of its employees, 21 welders were trained and tested on expiry of their codes; 17 (new and old) AA Committee members successfully completed labour-related training facilitated by the Office of the Employment Equity Commissioner; a total of 71 supervisors attended a leadership course entitled ‘Communicating for Leadership Success’ which was facilitated by Deloitte South Africa during December, and 4 candidates graduated from a Management Development Programme which took place in Windhoek during November 2013.

Yet another skills development initiative took the form of a competition in October 2013 - the DCD Skills ‘Top Gun’ competition, which provided an opportunity for top performing welders and forklift drivers to compete against each other in order to identify the ‘top gun’ within the group. EBH Namibia sent a delegation of its best welders in what is to be the first of many such competitions.

“The experience and exposure gained by our welders was rewarding, beneficial, and indeed an eye-opener for future participation. We are thankful to DCD management for the opportunity to showcase our Namibian talent and for providing this in-house initiative to develop the inter-company bond within the marine cluster.

As an employer of choice, we are committed to grow and nurture our talent pool through continuous training and development to help our people reach their full potential.

“We are now poised for another busy year of fine-tuning our skills in all aspects of the business in order to develop our capacity as the shipyard of choice on the west coast of Africa,” Uys concludes.
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