The maintenance and development of an adequate skills base is identified as a critical component in ensuring the sustainability of the agricultural industry. The group’s core strategic goal of continued expansion outside South Africa and across a range of crops requires an ongoing commitment to skills development. Our processes integrate selection and recruitment, training, coaching and mentoring, promotion and succession planning to meet our goals. Just under 700 staff were trained in the 2017/18 financial year.

Our farm manager development programme continues to create a talent pipeline from supervisory to farm management level. The programme is supported by internal on-the-job training, coaching and mentoring, as well as specific training courses offered by the Sugar Association of South Africa and other service providers. A similar programme is run for financial trainees.

The group has partnered with a local training and development provider to access learnerships within the construction sector for the Renishaw development. The Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) has allocated 25 learnerships to Renishaw Property Developments for the National Certificate: Building and Civils Construction, NQF level 3 for 2017/18, with the aim of developing skills in the surrounding communities. Learners have been selected from the surrounding communities in the Umdoni district bordering Renishaw.

Employment and economic mainstreaming of persons with disabilities in the agriculture sector has been a focus area in skills development over the past year. The group has partnered with Khulisani, a local organisation that focuses exclusively on training disabled persons in the agricultural sector. The group funded 10 disabled learners to complete a learnership in Plant Production NQF 1 in the 2018 year and will continue with a new learnership programme for 2019 with these learners advancing on to higher NQF level 2 in the same qualification.