Calvin AugustineThe world has changed over the last few months, as developed nations edge closer towards recession and world growth prospects begin to fade. But this reversal in world fortunes is in one sense a positive for Africa, and particularly South Africa, in the area of skills development and retention.People tend to follow opportunities, says Bobby Godsell, former head of mining multinational AngloGold Ashanti. He believes South Africa has a wealth of opportunities ready for the picking, and the country will not have a problem in attracting the scarce skills it needs.Godsell is an adviser to the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa), the body created to tackle the country’s skills shortage. He says emerging markets such as South Africa will be on world investor’s list of choice destinations, as this is where growth is expected over the next five to 10 years.Through his interactions with international companies, particularly those in the West, Godsell notes that their sentiment towards Africa has never been more positive. “We’ve got massive infrastructure development underway, corporate governance is improving,” he says. “I’ve never seen sentiment as positive as this. I think we’re going to see a return of engineers.”South Africa’s Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka echoes this, saying that the opportunities in South Africa for people to advance are “quite attractive”. Speaking at the release of the Jipsa annual report in April, Mlambo-Ngcuka said that the government and the private sector are actively engaging in various initiatives to attract skills.Better working conditions and remuneration packages are critical in retaining and attracting highly skilled professionals for South Africa, she says. Jipsa is looking into these retention areas and the government would also continue to improve the conditions of service.Chief economist in the Office of the Presidency Alan Hirsch says that Jipsa’s interactions with town and regional planners, a scarce skill highly demanded by South African municipalities as they expand, have revealed that it is not that the country is not producing enough planners, but that people did not stay in the profession due to the poor conditions of service.To remedy this, professional standards have been designed for the town planning profession, the South African Council for Planners has now been strengthened and the registration of planners is being promoted to enhance the profession.Urgent attention has also been given to foreign skills recruitment. The government, through the Department of Home Affairs, is facilitating the easier importation of skills with a quota of work permits. The quotas enable foreign professionals in specific categories to apply for work permits without having already found jobs in the country.In addition, in the two years since the inception of Jipsa, great strides have been made in training up South Africans as engineers, artisans, technicians and educators.According to the Jipsa report, the 2007/08 service levels agreements – signed between the various sector education and training authorities and the labour department – a total of 18 879 artisans have been registered. An additional 20 000 will be registered for 2008/2009 and a total of 50 000 is expected to be achieved by 2010. Jipsa overshot its engineering training targets with its target of graduating 1 000 engineers a year being topped by 500 last year; the body hopes to increase this to 2 000 a year by 2010.But Mlambo-Ncguka says South Africa will still need to improve skills development if the country wants to keep abreast with the rest of the world.“It is important to highlight that in the area of skills, since we started the world has changed,” she says. “The scale of the problem is bigger; it’s now time to up our game.”While the brain drain remains a concern, one solution is for South Africa to produce more skills than it requires. Another is the Jipsa Work Placement Programme, which fast-tracks deployment and improves productivity of qualified young people with scarce skills.This programme includes the placement of unemployed graduates both locally and internationally. Both local and international companies have responded to the call, with more than 20 000 offers received for graduates and about 15 000 already being placed. Eskom, Transnet, Microsoft, Shoprite, Old Mutual and Xstrata have taken several hundred, as well as the American Chamber of Commerce.Jipsa records that a few companies have recruited matriculants so far, but will in future focus more on these new entrants to the work force as well as semi-skilled people with potential for training. Foreign missions in South Africa have embraced the programme, with China, Canada, the US, UK, Cuba, Brazil, Singapore and Malaysia so far committed to the programme.The mandate period for the Jipsa secretariat has been extended by another 18 months. In its second phase of operation, the body will focus more on research and evaluation.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email [email protected]
What do you think of my Top 10? Why do you love working in HR?To read the original post on Blogging4Jobs, please click here. Someone asked me recently how I ended up in HR and why do I like it. I’ll save that story for another time — but its no secret that HR choose me, not the other way around. It really gave me pause this week to think about what is it about HR that keeps me excited and engaged. And with Valentine’s day is coming up (and I love it!) I thought it was a perfect (albeit, cheesy) opportunity to come up with my top 10 of why I LOVE about being an HR Professional.10 reasons I love being an hr professional 10. Variety – There’s lots of different facets to HRThere are a lot of different things to do and see with HR as a profession and career. My career has allowed me to see different parts of the world and meet a ton of new people/cultures — and I’ve got to touch different areas of HR along the way.9. Never a Dull DayIt may not always be the day that I had planned when I went into the office, but I love the “x” factor of not knowing exactly what my day will bring and all the surprises (both good and bad, and most times its the former) that come my way. I thrive in that ambiguity — and I know that many of you do!8. Continuous ImprovementThe spirit of HR pros is always about improvement and how to make things better — whether we’re talking about development, recruiting talent, developing benefit plans, looking at new HR tech.tools or making HR processes more efficient, its an area where we are always looking at raising the bar and taking people or processes to the next level.7. Ever-changingOur profession is not static– where dealing largely with people or systems/programs that will impact people. And people are dynamic. Whether we’re talking about new legislation, change in corporate direction, a company re-org, taking on new HR vendors, or expanding into new regions or locations there is a element of taking what we know and applying it to another situation or scenario.6. HR Tech!Need I say more? I love this stuff! I could evaluate and implement new tools and systems all day (and sometimes I get to)! Its a bit of the science geek in me.5. I learn something new (most) every day related to HRIt sounds cliche I know — but its so true. I actually thought back over the last 2-3 weeks and I do think that holds true, even for a seasoned HR pro like myself. Whether it about myself, a new facet of HR, something that is unique to my company, a project that I’m working on, or working through something with an employee or co-worker– even some of the work that I do for my local SHRM chapter, I find that the “learner” and “input” in me is always satisfied.4. Making an impact back to the companyI’m the kind of person that needs to understand that what I’m doing is something that fits into the bigger picture. Its one of the things that I find rewarding in my work. I not be making or closing the sales calls, but I can see how work that we do as HR professionals enables employees and the overall company to reach company objectives.3. Helping othersKind of goes without saying — we all get this one right? In HR, there are tons of ways of doing it too!2. InnovationSome of you wonder why this is on the list and why its number two. Innovation isn’t something that many people connect with HR — but I do. Innovation to me is like “out of the box thinking” kicked up a bit. So much of the people, process, and tool strategy that we put in place an implement as HR professionals is not only innovative, but also creative. When working on a project or initiative, think about all the requirements, stakeholders, budget/time constraints etc that you have to consider to have a successful implementation that process, program, or project. Can’t speak for you, but in my worlds (yes I know its plural ;)) I’ve had to come up with some solutions that will meet all those needs and requirements — its generally not something that I can get “off the shelf” — and that’s where the innovation comes in. I love coming up with new solutions to problems.1. Other HR professionalsI heard something once years ago — basically, HR people like to hang out with other HR people. There is probably some ring of truth to that because many of my friends (at least ones that I met after college) work in HR.Aside from the friendships that I have formed — I find that I am constantly inspired by other people in the space — whether they are thought leaders or colleagues I enjoy the people that I working and collaborating with other HR folks.
Ailing smartphone company Sony will launch its mid-range Xperia M4 Aqua smartphone in India on May 26. This will mark the global launch of the M4 Aqua which was until now a Japan-exclusive handset. The information comes via Mumbai seller, Mahesh Telecom who has shared the same on his Twitter handle. Coming soon.This monsoon. #Sony #XperiaM4 Aqua with superior low light Photography,2GB RAM ,16 Gb inbuilt #WaterProof pic.twitter.com/1pXjKNtJ1t Manish Khatri (@MAHESHTELECOM) May 21, 2015Meanwhile, Sony is in the process of sending out media invites for a launch event to take place in New Delhi. The media invite leaves little to the imagination with its water-based theme and tagline that states “Give your phone a splash this summer” suggesting that the Xperia M4 Aqua will be the device to be launched.More importantly, rumors suggest that the company may launch a second handset at the same event. The event is said to mark the global launch of the Xperia Z4 flagship handset as well, but that’s just speculation for now.The Xperia M4 Aqua, as the name suggests is dust and water proof up to 1.5 meter and 30 minutes and comes with IP68 certification.The device comes with a 5-inch HD IPS display with a 720 x 1280 pixels resolution. It is powered by a 1.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm MSM8939 Snapdragon 615 SoC coupled with 2GB RAM. It comes with 8GB of internal memory expandable up to 32GB via micro-SD.The device runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out-of-the-box. It sports a 13MP rear camera with autofocus and LED flash. There’s also a 5MP front-facing camera.advertisementThe 4G LTE capable handset is backed by a 2,400 mAh battery.
zoom Following a sharp decline in crude tanker freight rates seen during 2017, the rates are set to further drop in 2018 amid an expected slowdown in China’s crude stocking activity, shipping consultancy Drewry said.Although tonnage supply growth in the crude tanker market is expected to come down to 3.2% in 2018 after surging by close to 6% each year in 2016 and 2017, this will not be enough to push tonnage utilisation rates higher as demand growth is expected to be sluggish.The rates will continue to drop next year on account of a slowdown in crude oil trade growth as global oil demand growth is set to fall to 1.4 mbpd in 2018 from 1.6 mbpd in 2017. In addition to this, a likely slowdown in China’s stocking activity poses a big risk to tonnage demand in the crude tanker market.China’s stocking activity, which remained one of the leading factors behind the strong growth in the crude oil trade over the last two years, may fall significantly in 2018.According to the IEA’s data on China’s implied stock changes, the country should have accumulated close to 520 million barrels since 2015, well above the total special petroleum reserve (SPR) capacity that was supposed to fully come online by 2020. A sharp decline in stocking activity in the third quarter of this year to 0.5 mbpd from 1.2 mbpd in the second quarter suggests that a significant decrease in the inventory build-up by China could be witnessed in 2018.“We expect China’s stocking activity to decline to 0.25 mbpd in 2018 from an average 0.75 mbpd in 2017, curbing global trade growth,” Rajesh Verma, Drewry’s lead analyst for tanker shipping, said.The anticipated decline, added to a slowdown in worldwide oil demand, “will keep global crude oil trade growth modest in 2018, which in turn will keep rates under pressure despite some slowdown in fleet growth,” Verma added.