Photo taken on April 16, 2018 shows the newly built power poles factory along Yei road in Juba, capital of South Sudan. The South Sudan government on Monday launched a factory producing concrete poles that will facilitate an ambitious project done by a Chinese company to rehabilitate and expand the Power Distribution System in Juba, its capital. (Xinhua/Denis Elamu)
Photo taken on April 16, 2018 shows the newly built power poles factory along Yei road in Juba, capital of South Sudan. The South Sudan government on Monday launched a factory producing concrete poles that will facilitate an ambitious project done by a Chinese company to rehabilitate and expand the Power Distribution System in Juba, its capital. (Xinhua/Denis Elamu)

South Sudanese working at the new Chinese-built power poles plant in Juba are happy to learn new skills and working attitude from their Chinese counterparts who have been conducting on job training in technical fields like welding, electricity and operation of special machines.

Simon Okum, 33, operates feeding (mixer) machine at the plant producing concrete poles that will facilitate an ambitious project done by a Chinese company to rehabilitate and expand the power distribution system in Juba.

He said he learnt these skills on the job since getting work with the factory in 2017. Okum told Xinhua in Juba that he is more than grateful to have been taught by Chinese technicians at the plant in addition to earning money that helps his young family.

“I like the ways Chinese work because I love to work very fast like them. So I am talking to my friends to be like me,” Okum said.

“This work has helped so much. We have learnt something from them so that after they have gone back we’ll be able to continue to work,” he added.

The plant that aims to produce 13,350 poles annually for the electricity distribution in the capital and other states employs 62 local workers, three Chinese and five Kenyan technicians.

Meng Shaohua, one of the managers at Power China, the company that operates the plant, said they have so far erected over 100 poles in the Gumbo area along the Juba-Nimule road since the inauguration of the plant on April 16 by the South Sudanese government.

Meng said one of the core values at their company is to train a sizable number of South Sudanese to take over operation of the plant in future when they have ceded ownership to their South Sudan partners.

“I always tell the Chinese and Kenyans to train and transfer the skills to South Sudan workers. I tell the South Sudanese every day to keenly follow and learn from them. South Sudanese need to take up key skills to run the factory in future,”he said.

He disclosed that skilled technicians like welders and machine technicians are few and difficult to find, leaving them with no other way but to provide on job training skills.

Meng communicates these work ethics during his routine morning sessions with local workers where he communicates values and ethics on work and also rewards hard work and encourages them to be tolerant and united at work place.

“We came here not only for investment but to try and give them positive attitude and culture of work,” he disclosed.

Ceaser Ali, 20, a form three school dropout, said without this employment opportunity from China he would not be able to retrieve the ready-made poles from the machines, adding that this has also positively impacted on his attitude.

Alex Bolo, 28, a welder, has worked for two months at the plant and believes he will be able to progress and achieve some of the things he has been unable to get.

“This job is good; it helps me a lot, some months to come I will be able to buy for myself something good,” he said.

Nancy Ariye, 22, a mother of one who helps join together building materials like iron bars and cleaning machines said she was glad to have learnt a lot at her first career job.

“This is my first time to work and I have learnt making structures and operating some machines like the one for tying this structure I have never studied at any time these things,” she said.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Lemi, 25 a machine operator and also this being his first job said he is transformed into a responsible person.

“This is my first job it has helped me so much because before I was just staying at home with no work. When I got this job I have been able to take on responsibility at home,” he said.

“I have learnt from the Chinese (technicians) how to operate the machines because when I came I didn’t know anything,” he added.

The main objective of this project is to increase the supply capacity and reliability of the power distribution system in Juba.

Access to the grid will replace the use of generators by the population, allow supply of energy at more affordable price, hence contribute toward economic growth and poverty eradication in South Sudan,” said the Minister of Energy, Electricity and Dams Dhieu Mathok during the inauguration of the plant along the Yei road in Juba. Enditem

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