The East London Industrial Development Zone’s (IDZ) first Renewable Energy Sector Investor, Matla Solar Water Heating (SWH) employees stand to benefit from a...


The East London Industrial Development Zone’s (IDZ) first Renewable Energy Sector Investor, Matla Solar Water Heating (SWH) employees stand to benefit from a world class training programme provided by the company’s Taiwanese investors.

The company, launched in the East London IDZ, will be manufacturing solar water heating systems to meet the demand of the ever growing South African sustainable energy market.

The Train-the-Trainer programme will see local Matla SWH employees visiting Taiwan for training in the maintenance and operating of the company’s imported machines, and in the manufacturing of water tanks.

Matla SWH General Manager Andy Bin-Chin Lu says that the training provided by the Taiwanese investors was strategic as there is specific manufacturing process that is unique to the Matla products. The trainees have been identified through a one month evaluation of suitable candidates, during which the Taiwanese investors have also spend many hours with the candidates to assess their suitability.

“The skills transfer is one of the key ‘investment’ made by Funland Industrial, our Taiwanese investor, which aims to transfer key knowledge and knowhow of the industry to Matla, allowing Matla to be a true South African manufacturer that strived to have 95% of value-add at our manufacturing plant in the East London IDZ,” says Lu.

“The Trainees will return to South Africa in six months and will be able to train the other employees and future new employees on what they have learned, both on the technical side, and also on the workplace culture of the Far East.”

Turning his attention to how the company planned to roll out the training programme, Lu says: “We will be sending two employees over to Taiwan before the end of this year and another two at the beginning of next year, and will constantly evaluate suitable candidate for the programme as a on-going-process.”

A training programme that will see local youths empowered with expertise in the installing and maintenance of solar systems is planned by Matla Solar Water Heating (SWH), the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ) and accredited training service provider.

The accredited programme will come hot on the heels of the launch of the ELIDZ’s first renewable energy sector investor, Matla Solar Therma on Thursday November 25. The East London IDZ and Matla SWH are also in talks with the Eastern Cape Office of the Premier (OTP) to bring them on board the training programme.

Matla SWH General Manager Andy Chin-Bin Lu speaks glowingly about the benefits of the partnership.

“This investment will mean a lot to the solar heating industry as it will ensure quality work when it comes to the installing of solar systems. After receiving the training, the people will be able to conduct solar systems installation,” adds Lu.

Explaining the idea behind the training initiative, Lu says the company will be utilising these skills when installing their products to the domestic market.

“For the industrial and commercial markets, we will be project managing the installation of our products; but for the domestic market, we would like to empower local installers and utilise this skill for installation purposes.”

For Lu, however, the other purpose of the programme is to encourage locals to think deeply about staking a claim in the growing sustainable energy sector.

“Another aim of the training, which is very important, is to spark the entrepreneurial spirit in the local people. They can decide to work for a company that installs solar systems or start their own companies; if some can do this; then our job would have been done.”

The East London IDZ Executive Manager for Business Development Tembela Zweni concurs with Lu, saying that the programme is exciting for the zone as it endeavours to empower local people with much needed skills.

“We are exciting about the partnership with Matla and hopefully the OTP, as it will help equip our locals not only with skills to install and maintain solar systems; but also illuminate the spark of entrepreneurship amongst our youth,” says Zweni.

News editor