By Viren Sookhun, Managing Director at Oxyon
By Viren Sookhun, Managing Director at Oxyon

Resolving South Africa’s current energy crisis is paramount, and the President’s new action plan is aimed at adding Independent Power Producers (IPPs) into the mix as soon as possible. However, removing the red tape around the administrative processes is only one part of the picture when it comes to becoming a commercially viable operation. Once financial close has been reached, there is a large amount of work that needs to be done in construction and commissioning of power plants – all of which requires staffing at various levels. A specialist Temporary Employment Services (TES) provider can deliver a turnkey ‘one stop shop’ service to help IPPs get up and running as soon as possible.

Recruitment gets complicated

Part of reaching financial close includes budgeting, and a large proportion of any budget is your staff. Getting a power production plant off the ground requires employees at all levels, from unskilled and semi-skilled right through to highly specialised skills. These employees all need to be sourced, many of them from surrounding communities to meet quotas and ensure the goodwill of the community during the project.

All potential employees also need background checks, vetting of qualifications where applicable, and medical screenings to ensure they are fit to perform the required jobs. Specialised skills may be difficult to source. Wage negotiations need to take place with ward councillors and labour unions. Once employees are brought on board there need to be ongoing Human Resources (HR) and Industrial Relations (IR) processes.

Call in the experts

The entire recruitment and staffing process is hugely time consuming and can be complex, especially if this is not a core competency. Each of these elements could require a separate supplier, which makes management a nightmare. A specialised TES partner can deliver a turnkey solution, with everything available from a single supplier, along with value adds that can help IPPs to budget accurately, minimise admin and maximise the value they can give their staff, while ensuring that this single element does not hold them up when it comes to getting plants up and running.

A turnkey specialised TES provider will take care of everything around recruitment and ongoing employment and will also deliver value-added services that can make a huge difference in the lives of the employees themselves. Training and upskilling of staff on site means that skills transfer can take place, and those on the lower skills levels will have certificates and qualifications when the project is complete, making them more employable in the future.

Aside from completing entry and exit medicals, a TES partner can provide staff wellness days and employee assistance programmes, as well as funeral cover and medical insurance, all as part of a single product offering. This gives temporary staff access to benefits like those of permanent employees, adding another layer of value. Your TES provider can also assist with ensuring socio-economic development of surrounding communities in ways that will deliver long-term, sustainable positive impact and growth.

The time is now 

Staff are a significant element of ultimately getting IPPs operational, which is a priority for South Africa at present. This burgeoning industry and the plan for energy transition will require a pipeline of skills for future project managers and technical staff, as well as significant community development.

Waiting until financial close to consider this aspect can lead to budgetary challenges and unnecessary delays. From recruitment and background checks to payroll, HR, IT, training, and upskilling to soft skills development, learnerships and value-added services like medical insurance, employee assistance programs, wellness days and funeral cover, a one stop shop supplier can address these pain points and turn them into a point of competitive differentiation. Engaging with the right TES partner during the planning phase can smooth the path, improve budgeting and address a number of pain points, through a bundled offering that makes staffing and recruitment a simple solution.