Youth must be equipped with skills says McCormick MD – World Youth Skills Day 15 July 2021

Society is constantly faced with new challenges and the past two years bears eyewitness to the fact.

In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared 15 July as World Youth Skills Day in the hope of creating a day that provides an opportunity for dialogue between young people, technical and vocational education and training institutions, firms, employers and workers’ organisations, policy makers and skills development institutions.

This year World Youth Skills Day will celebrate the resilience and creativity of young people throughout the Corona-19 pandemic with the theme: Reimagining youth skills post the pandemic world.  In Africa, the focus will particularly be on the unemployment crisis facing the youth.

According to a Statistics South Africa labour force survey, the unemployment rate rose to a new high of 32.6% in the first quarter of 2021, with the rate among youth standing at a staggering 46.3%. This mostly affect the 15-34 years age group.

“Equipping young people with skills for employment and entrepreneurship remains one of the strategic challenges facing society.   We cannot ignore the plight of young people, not only in South Africa, but also across the African continent and indeed, the globe in this regard. If we want to see our society progress, we must all play our part in creating a society that creates opportunities for young people to gain access to the economic sector,” says Godfried Heydenrych, managing director of Argo Industrial in South Africa.

The struggles of the youth are many and young people have been severely affected by the COVID-19 situation.  Globally, youth employment fell by 8,7 % in 2020, compared with 3,7 % for adults.

“We strongly believe that recovery after the pandemic should revolve around young people. The education and training of young people are, therefore, high on the priority list and part of McCormick’s long-term strategic vision.  On the one hand it is important to provide skills and hope to young people as our future lies their hands but is also equally important for us as a company to leverage their fresh and bold outlook on challenges and the future,” Heydenrych stresses.

“In a world significantly affected by the pandemic, we need to develop skills in the agricultural machinery and electronics sector. In future, there will be a demand for professionally trained and up-to-date technicians to serve the agricultural sector due to the growing use of technologies related to precision farming. Applied education and training will be fundamental. At McCormick we wish to provide hands-on training and is committed to support our dealerships in our rural areas to forge meaningful and significant partnerships with training facilities and schools in their areas,” he adds.


“One of the programmes I would like to highlight, is in the Eastern Cape.  The Landmeg dealership with branches in Humansdorp and Cradock, has been involved in training programmes at the Nico Malan Highschool in Humansdorp and in Cradock at the Hoër Landbouskool Marlow. The training allows students to gain an understanding of mechanical and production processes the direct interaction with company employees bring theory back to practical use in the field. Training our young people is essential if we wish to be ready and able to tackle the new dynamics and technologies available in the agricultural sector that is constantly evolving.”


At Nico Malan Highschool, the dealership is actively involved in supporting school activities by exhibiting tractors and implements, as well as giving educational talks to expose the learners to agriculture.  A tractor operator’s course will be hosted in August and will also involve farm workers and farmers from the farming community. The course will focus on safety, daily maintenance and best practises when driving a tractor.  All participants will also received certificates to indicate that they have completed this course.


Marlow Agricultural School focus on agricultural subjects and training and the dealership tries to be involved in as many of the activities as possible.  These include exhibitions, educational talks and training as well as pupil sponsorships to enable young people to attend the school.  The school has always strived to equip the learners for the highly competitive agricultural sector outside of school and are inter alia exposed to organising farmers days and encouraged to attend the short courses hosted by the dealership.  Aspects such as the calibration of spraying equipment, as well as tractor and implement maintenance are covered in the training.  After the successful completion of this course, the learners also receive a certificate. Another course is planned for September 2021.


According to Heynenrych the company is also consistently investing in and committed to the training of staff and dealers. “Our staff and our dealer-partners are strategic assets that enable us to be competitive at a global level. Training is one of our corporate values that guide our mission,” he emphasises.



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