The regular maintenance of machinery and tools, especially in the rural areas that surround SEKEM, has always been a major challenge in Egypt. Often, the necessary technical skills for maintenance and repair do not exist with local farmers. At the same time, many machinery is of inferior quality making frequent maintenance and repair a necessity. SEKEM has long tried to create better conditions and has now succeeding in inaugurating a new machinery workshop.
After SEKEMs agricultural machinery had always been taken care of in an external, local workshop, SEKEM co-worker Johannes Valentien in January 2014 began with planning for a new, SEKEM-owned workshop. Construction began in winter 2014 and the new workshop could just recently be inaugurated by its staff at the Vocational Training Centre (VTC). The project was supported by the Foundation for Development Cooperation in Baden-Württemberg (SEZ) and the German SEKEM Friends Association, who are working together since years with a great commitment.
When the construction of the building itself was completed and the new equipment and tools had been stored and sorted, another lucky arrival made the rapid completion of the entire project possible. Nabil, a former apprentice of the VTC in the field of metal processing, who had already worked as an assistant for the former chief engineer Wolfgang Schulz for five years at ISIS Organic but had meanwhile left SEKEM, expressed a desire to return. Nabil and Johannes are now working together as a team. Nabil brings good professional understanding to the jobs and speaks English. The two complement each other well: the cooperation makes it, among others easier for Johannes to pass on instructions to Egyptian staff, for instance the tractor drivers.
All Clean and Tidy
When setting up the new workshop, special emphasis was placed on cleanliness and system. With the new equipment, the workshop staff will now not only be able to carry out repairs but will also oversee maintenance schedules of all agricultural machinery and ensure timely compliance with them. Even preventive check-ups can now be planned, carried out, and accurately documented.
In early September, when the VTC opened again after the summer break, all its 30 apprentices received a basic introduction to the new, exemplary work environment. In addition, afternoon classes shall be offered for people from the surrounding region, who wish to practice the proper handling of agricultural machinery of all kinds.
Angela Hofmann, Bijan Kafi
SEKEM Friends Association Germany
The Beginnings of Vocational Training at SEKEM
Certificates for the First Group of Welders at SEKEMs VTC