PRECISION Press has opened its own daycare facility at its Bellville South manufacturing plant – a progressive move that reassures employees that their children are in good hands during working
“We’re a nation beset with challenges in the workplace,” says Simon Ledgerwood, managing director of Precision Press. “And if we want to become globally competitive, we have to embrace those challenges and do something about fixing them to make us more productive.”
Childcare for workers coming from disadvantaged communities is a huge challenge, he says. “Often, parents have to leave home early in the morning to catch public transport and small children are left in the care of unqualified people, such as siblings or neighbours. And parents are often compelled to stay at home when children are ill or carers are unavailable.”
The daycare centre, which takes children from six months to pre-school age, aims to change that. The fenced facility within Precision Press’s property has a lawn area for playing, a sandpit, shady trees and tarred area complete with trikes and scooters. With three trained staff in attendance, the children are on a structured programme suitable for their respective ages. The classrooms are painted in bright colours and are crammed with educational toys and games. The nursery for smaller children has campcots, prams, baby gyms and play mats. And there’s an aftercare facility where youngsters up to the age of 13 can come and do their homework or simply spend their afternoons in a structured learning.playing environment.
Alphonso Julius, who’s been with Precision Press for three and a half years, has a wife who also works and two small children who had to be dropped off at his in-laws for minding - a journey of half an hour out of his way. Now Julius simply brings the children with him to work. “Knowing that our children are under the care of properly trained staff, and that we’re a step away from them if there’s a problem, really sets my mind at rest,” he says. “This is a revolutionary step and something I would encourage other companies to consider for their own staff.”
Precision Press also has an on-site training academy, and Ledgerwood says that he’d be very happy to hire a new worker who’d spent some of his or her early years in the daycare facility, successfully completed high school and then graduated from the training academy. “At Precision Press we bend metal into a host of different shapes but I believe our most satisfying achievement will be to shape young people into becoming globally competitive members of the world community,” he says.
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