When President Mbeki urged the various Government Departments to initialise skills development programmes for the youth of the country, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in partnership with the CSIR responded by instituting the Youth Skills Development Programme. As a result of the large capital assets that the SANDF owns in the form of training establishments it was decided to recruit large numbers of young people into the SANDF.

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A new recruit reporting to his instructor as smartly as is expected of him.
(Photo: Seaman M Venter)

These young adults will receive a 1-year contract. During the first year they will receive basic foundation or finishing training. Due to the large number of people that are trained, it is envisaged that the majority of them will be sent back into the civilian sector after their training. Thus the employer in the civilian sector can recruit young and fit people who have had one years of work experience in a disciplined environment, who are themselves disciplined and have a work ethic.

The aim of this new training is not to provide the youth of the country with military skills, but rather to teach them basic life skills that are required in a work environment, the military environment are just used as a platform to instill discipline, routine and work ethic. The Naval Youth Development Programme provides a sound foundation of learning with practical application to several skills.

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"Dressing by the left, quick march!" Properly dressed off and ready to move.
(Photo: Seaman M Venter)

The approach that we at SAS Saldanha have applied towards training is to create an environment that is conducive to learning. This is done by encouraging learners to participate in the classes. The spirit in which our unit conducts Youth Development Programme (NGP) training is to create a system that will allow a group of young and fit men and women, who will be selected to either follow a career in the SA Navy, 

or have skills (further to those offered via secondary education) that will make them more competitive in the private sector. 

SAS Saldanha is responsible for the delivery of 3 phases of the MSD programme, namely:

  • Induction to the work environment (2 weeks);

  • Basic Training: Orientation, life skills and work environment platform training (12 weeks); and

  • Development training (35 weeks)

During Induction

The learners are introduced to a work environment:

  • The necessary administration is completed,

  • Medical Evaluations are done, and

  • The learners are introduced to routine, the importance of neatness and discipline.

  • All learners are evaluated for academic and social ability.

During Basic Training

Learners are introduced to subjects such as organisational customs and traditions, Communication, Respect for Rank Structure, Branch Functions, etc. · Discipline, neatness and routine are constantly practised and reinforced.

The Youth Development Programme

Members complete the First Aid Level 1 (accredited) qualification as well as Fire Fighting and - Prevention (accredited). This course also includes the NBCD course, which teaches the learners how to react in crisis situations. The learners are exposed to fires and floods environment, and must then save themselves. The process reinforces teamwork and enables the learners to cope with crisis situations in their work and community environment.

Sail Training.
The Sail Training curriculum is accredited with SA Sailing and the members receive a Deck Hand qualification (accredited) at the end of the course. In this course the members have to do plenty of sailing onboard Laser's, Dinghies and Protons. They must also know how to rig these vessels and focus on safety onboard the vessels. This course enhances teamwork amongst the members.

Enablement Training.
This course is five weeks long and is presented at SAS Saldanha . This course aims to teach every learner the basic computer skills required to function within the modern work environment. Subjects include Basic Microsoft Word, Typing and various PLATO courses. Plato is a computer based training software package and the subjects taken include Mathematics, Reading and Language Arts. Some of the more proficient learners are given the opportunity to learn extra programs such as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint, which are all accepted in the private sector.

Environmental Warden's Certificate.
This program is one week long and is presented in the Nature Reserve of SAS Saldanha . This course aims to imprint on the learners the importance of the Environment upon our everyday tasks and also on how to practise conservation. Learners are taught in the veld how to reduce and prevent the effects of erosion and pollution. The course is of course linked to seamanship; with special emphasis placed on oil pollution and oil spill contingency plans. This course is accredited to the Department of Nature Conservation and the certificates are countersigned by the Cape Nature Conservation Board.

Driver Training.
This course consists of a three-week theory phase and a two-week practical phase and is conducted at SAS Saldanha. Learners are introduced to the basic functioning of a car, taught to drive the car and also how to maintain a log/ trip sheet. At the end of the course they are examined and provided with a drivers licence.

Personal Financial Education.
In this weeklong course the learners are taught the importance of managing their income, drawing up budgets and the pitfalls that exist within the modern investment sectors. They are taught how to plan ahead financially and not to fall into debt traps.

Swim Training.
A large percentage of the group are unable to swim on arrival, but with rigorous training, every member is provided the opportunity to become a competent swimmer by the time he/she completes the yearlong training.

Project Management Training.
The objective of this course is to create an awareness of PPM as a necessary management approach in order to manage a portfolio of projects as a dynamic integrated process looking at the strategic context in which the organisation operates, finding out how to identify, generate, evaluate, select and prioritise projects and to see what the impact of the final portfolio of projects will have on the organisation and external environment in the medium to long-term. It is important to note that the above activities of PPM are structured within a PPM process, in which the relationship between top management, project portfolio management and The following sequence of topics will be presented during the course: · 

  • Course introduction and administration

  • Review of project management

  • "An alternative approach to project portfolio management"

  • Baseline theory and baseline format.

  • Life cycle planning and costing

  • Gate control and the decision-making process

  • Decision-making techniques

  • Project portfolio impact analysis

  • Financial Calculations

  • Skills requirement

  • Practical walkthrough

  • Skills assessment

  • Course closure

  • Examination

SAS Saldanha: Procurement Training.
Procurement Training for the built environment professionals undergoing training at SAS Saldanha was conducted over a period of four (4) days.

The aim of the training was to create an understanding amongst students regarding: the policy environment within which procurement takes place in the National Department of Public Works (NDPW; · the policy imperatives of the South African Government; and · technical requirements and demands of procurement in the Public Sector with special reference to the NDPW

To this affect the training course consisted of the following components:

  • Current procurement policy;

  • Content and implications of current delegations;

  • Content and implications of procurement directives; and

  • Standard operating procedure relating to procurement within the NPDW.

Components were presented to the students over the 4-day period and include:

  • Interactive lectures;

  • Discussion of case studies pertaining to the lectures in break away groups;

  • Review and summary by students of all procurement related legislation and regulations;

  • Assignments which include a group project to develop Terms of Reference for a case study;

  • Group assignment which required the students to develop a tender document in response to the Terms of Reference; and

  • Group work that included the setting up of adjudication structures and adjudicating the tender submitted by the various syndicate groups.

An 82-slide summary of all the topics covered was also provided to the students as well as copies of all relevant legislation.

Contractor Development Course.
The Contractor Development Course was structured to provide an understanding of the contractor development environment by looking at the roles of various project role players such as project managers, principal agents and, most importantly, the contractor, contractor challenges and how these can be addressed.

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The "2004 Youth Foundation" Students.
(Photo: AB M.J. Pietbooi)

The case studies focussed on major failures experienced by contractors on public sector projects. The students were introduced to the principles of the South African Construction Excellence Model (SACEM) and how the model works, particularly the assessment process using the SACEM questionnaire.

Mentorship was also discussed as a critical intervention in the contractor development programmes. Through presentations and facilitated group discussion the students were shown how the model as well as properly structured mentorship addresses a number of problems that faces small and medium-sized contractors.

An additional module on general business planning was presented to share understanding of the strategic thinking framework of entrepreneurs. Training materials distributed comprised of a document on SME-contractor challenges and the way forward, SACEM assessment report, case studies and 3 presentations.

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Seaman B.D. Roman's family are happy to take him home after a long year of basic training.
(Photo: AB M.J. Pietbooi)

On the last day the questionnaire was completed by students as an appraisal for both the presenter as the course content and presentation. Judging from this response, the course was well received by the students and they learned a lot about contractor development and the various aspects related to procurement of construction projects using SME-contractors in the public sector.

Due to intensiveness of group discussions everyone's confidence also improved.

Information Technology In Construction.
Information Technology (IT) has become a fundamental instrument for effective and efficient management of all enterprise functions. In the built environment, IT also supports daily activities of the built environment professional, be it in project management, feasibility studies, cost estimating, design, or day-to-day communication. Apart from this, IT also fundamentally influences the way in which buildings are erected and operated. A foundational knowledge of IT is therefore crucial to the built environment practitioner.

The general objective with this course is to emphasise understanding rather than memorising, in order to stimulate creative thinking and the development of innovative skills amongst students in the field of IT. The emphasis is on equipping the student with the ability to initiate innovative solutions by means of IT, and not so much on being able to implement solutions in detail. A problem-driven approach to learning is followed. Student-centered and co-operative learning and teaching methods are applied. The following sequence of topics will be presented during the course:

  • Computers: Tools for an information age

  • The Internet

  • Construction IT application

  • Implementing IT systems for business

  • Introduction to virtual reality in construction

  • E-business in construction

  • Construction integrated environments

Construction Management For Small Contractors. Many small contractors are not trained and/or experienced in cost estimating or the management of building contracts. This lack of experience very often leads to clients being exposed to serious cost and time overruns. The objective of this course is to expose the student to basic cost and management principles, as well as various contracting models that are being used in the building and construction industry.

The following topics are presented during the course:

  • Various forms of contracts

  • Payment guarantees and payment certificates

  • Completion certificates

  • Contract price adjustments

  • The role of the NHBRC

  • Plant hire

  • Costing of buildings

  • Project scheduling and resource balancing

  • Professional institutions and associations


On completion of the Youth Development Programme, the Learners will receive certificates for the following:

  • Plato FASTTRACK English Language Art.

  • Plato FASTTRACK English Reading.

  • Plato FASTTRACK Mathematics.

  • Basic MS Word Skills. · Environmental Maritime Level 1 Certificate.

  • Financial management and Career management course Certificate.

  • First Aid Level 1.

  • Fire Prevention and Fire fighting.

  • NBCD Part 1 Course (Crisis Management).

  • A valid driver's license.

  • Introduction to Project Management.

  • Procurement and Supply Chain Management.

  • Contractor Development.

  • Information Technology for Construction.

  • Contracts management for small contractors.

Composition of the Naval Gymnasium Programme (NGP) Group

The composition of the learner group adheres to the Government imperatives for representivity and equity and comprises of roughly the following: 60% African, 23% Whites, 15% Coloured and 2% Indian and as a total of which must be 25% female is to be recruited.

Future of the Military Skills Development (MSD) Training

From 2005 onwards, the number of learners that are expected for the NGP (MSD) programme will be in the region of 650, although there is a strong possibility that this figure will increase. It must be emphasised that the concept of NGP (MSD) training in the SANDF is new, and much of the future planning will only be finalised as we approach the end of this year's course and apply the lessons that were learnt.

The facilities at SAS Saldanha include modern mess decks (that can accommodate in excess of 800 learners), adequate classroom space, an Olympic size swimming pool, a shooting range, sport facilities for 25 different sporting disciplines, a well equipped sick bay, a Jetty area and a 900ha Nature Reserve for practical training in the veld. A computer centre with 300 workstations is currently under construction and should be completed towards the end of the year. The well-qualified personnel from the Navy employed at SAS Saldanha are a further asset and contribute to the high level of training that is produced at the unit.




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revision date: Thursday, January 11, 2018
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