JHB Expo Centre, Nasrec


9:00 to 17:00 Daily

Skills development a key focus of Machine Tools Africa

At the recent launch of Machine Tools Africa 2024, it was announced that WorldSkills South Africa will be participating at the show and is set to bring a whole new dimension to the event. It will showcase the incredible talent and skills of young professionals in the industry and host an exciting competition.

Speaking at the launch, Joanne Canossa, Machine Tool Merchants’ Association of South Africa (MTMA) Chairperson, says that “One of the key challenges facing the industry is the shortage of skilled artisans, in addition to other challenges such as high energy supply costs, energy interruption, increasing raw material costs as well as inadequate infrastructure that the industry faces on a day-to-day basis.”

“Our higher education minister confirmed last year that South Africa has a shortage of over 30,000 qualified artisans yearly which is forcing businesses to import skilled artisans from other countries,” continued Canossa.

“This shortage arises from two fundamental issues. Firstly, there is a lack of career guidance, resulting in fewer young people entering the field. And secondly, there are challenges in the training sector itself, such as the use of old-fashioned technology and machines, limited access to infrastructure and complexities in the industrial process which make it challenging to acquire anything other than an informal experience to training.”

“While this unique challenge facing the metal processing industry can be significant, it can also present unique opportunities. Investment in training, mentorship programs, and collaboration with Technical Vocational Education and Training institutions will improve both the quality and the number of metal processing skills in the country.”

“South Africa has an opportunity to transform the metal processing industry by working collaboratively to address these issues. The industry can deliver significant economic benefits, provide more job opportunities, and create a more competitive and sustainable trade,” concludes Canossa.

WorldSkills South Africa competition

An event owned by MTMA in partnership with organisers Specialised Exhibitions, both parties have been looking at opportunities to incorporate skills development at Machine Tools Africa 2024 in a professional and competitive way. The participation of WorldSkills South Africa will form a large part of this initiative.

“WorldSkills South Africa will be competing in twenty-four Skill Areas in Lyon France 2024 against eighty-five countries, with CNC Turning as one of the competition skills,” says Jowie Bopape, Acting Chief Director: National Artisan Development (INDLELA) and Official Delegate: WorldSkills South Africa, at the launch. “We are delighted that WorldSkills South Africa will be hosting an international competition here at home at Machine Tools Africa 2024 together with the Chinese arts and culture exchange student program and FoodBev Seta as sponsors.”

“Our WorldSkills South Africa CNC competitor will be competing against the Chinese Gold medallist. We have invited the Machine Tool Merchants Association of South Africa to select a competitor from industry to compete against both these competitors at Machine Tools Africa. This competitor will be selected on experience and the level of projects they have machined in the past. They will compete on CNC X.Z and Y axis with live tooling. Final details will be sent for selection.”

“The aim of the competition is to give our competitor international experience and to showcase WorldSkills South Africa to industry,” concludes Bopape.

The competitors from South Africa and China are not allowed to be older than 22 in the year of the competition. The competitor from industry can be between the age of 20 and 25. It will be an opportunity for Industry to witness the level the competitors need to be at to compete at this age.

Charlene Hefer, Portfolio Director at Specialised Exhibitions, is excited about the competition and says that the participation of WorldSkills South Africa adds a whole new dimension to the exhibition.

“The WorldSkills South Africa competition is an exciting addition to the show and, alongside our seminar theatre where industry experts will share knowledge and insights through engaging presentations and panel discussions, it will go a long way in highlighting industry skills development,” says Hefer. “Future Skills will also be one of our themed days during the show, bringing additional focus on the importance of skills development.”

Recognised as the biggest machine tools exhibition in Africa, Machine Tools Africa is a showcase of cutting-edge developments across the machine tools and related industries. The expo is designed to showcase the very latest global machine tool technology and to highlight the importance of local suppliers and their international manufacturing partners.

Machine Tools Africa will be taking place at the Expo Centre in Nasrec, Johannesburg, from 21-24 May 2024.