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The TDM Powered Industry

Manufacturing is the cornerstone of the South African economy and provide consumers with virtually all products that they use in everyday life – from cellphones and pacemakers to motorcars. South Africa is currently experiencing a critical shortage of technically skilled people in the Tooling Manufacturing Industry and has now taken dedicated steps to address the problem.

The tooling manufacturing industry uses advanced computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering programmes and machines, as well as milling and tooling equipment, lathes and other sophisticated technology to create the necessary tools for the manufacturing industry to produce the goods that we use every day. These machines are operated by skilled artisans, such as engineers, designers, machinists and tool, die and mould makers. The tooling manufacturing industry supports almost all manufacturing sectors, including  the aerospace, automotive, chemical, electronics, leisure, marine, medical, mining, military, packaging and rail sectors. The manufacturing industry as a whole is thus very dependent on the availability of a good tool, die and mould making industry

In South Africa the direct tooling industry represents a R15 billion market. The local tooling industry is, however, facing serious challenges as it has, to a large extent, failed to adopt the necessary technology and production efficiencies of its developed counterparts. Due to technology stagnation, a loss of capacity and competitiveness, a lack of transformation and increased imports,  the South African  Tool, Die and Mouldmaking or TDM industry has lost its global competitiveness and has declined over 20 years from a position of 80% local supply to less than 20% currently.

The Toolmaking Association of South Africa or TASA was established in 2004 as a national representative body for the South African Tool, Die and Mouldmaking industry.  TASA, in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) initiated the Intsimbi-National Tooling Initiative to enable the government and industry to co-operate in large-scale interventions to re-vitalise the local industry. The turn-around process is guided by a two-pronged strategic approach focusing on skills and enterprise development. The Intsimbi-National Tooling Initiative, a multi-stakeholder initiative, has therefore devised and implemented two defined programmes, namely the Intsimbi TDM Powered Skills Development Programme and the TDM Enterprise Development and Support Programme.

To address the TDM sector’s need to fast track the development of a sector specific skills development solution a new competency based TDM Powered apprenticeship system, aligned to industry needs and standards was developed by the National Tooling Initiative in collaboration with international partners and the local TDM industry and skills development stakeholders. The task execution is done as a series of projects that are combined into a programme. The entity implementing the TDM Skills Development and Enterprise Development and Support Programmes is the National Tooling Initiative Programme or NTIP.

  • The key purpose of the TDM Powered Skills Development Programme is the incubation of a new technical skills training capacity in South Africa. The Programme aims to build capacity from the level of colleges for further education and training or FET colleges to universities of technology in support of the Department of Higher Education and Training’s new Qualification and Quality Council for Trades and Occupations and new National Qualifications Framework.