Citrus SuperPower programme: Unlocking skills in the industry

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The Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa’s (CGA) Citrus Academy hopes to create even more dynamic leaders in the citrus industry through the new Citrus SuperPower programme. This unique training programme aims to develop supervisors’ skills and knowledge, unlock growth and progression opportunities, and allow workers to become supervisors.

Citrus SuperPower was recently launched in Centurion, Gauteng, with a pilot Train-the-Trainer event. The full workplace training programme will be rolled out to the rest of South Africa this year. “There is a need for quality supervisor training in the citrus workplace. This programme was designed to address that and to ensure that our industry continues to have top talent to go along with our world-class citrus,” said Sam Louw, engagement manager of the Citrus Academy.

The Citrus Academy falls under the Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa group of companies. The CGA aims to export 260 million 15kg cartons of citrus by 2032. To achieve this, the industry is investing in developing the skills within the industry. Skilled supervisors are vital to the industry’s success as they ensure operational efficiency and maintain high-quality levels.

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Quality skills are key

“Often a focus is placed on infrastructure and production investment – for instance in freight transport and farm-level technology – and while these investments are indeed essential, we sometimes need to be reminded of how important the development of high-level agricultural skills are. The truth is, without quality skills, there can be no sustainable growth in agriculture,” said Jacomien de Klerk, general manager of the Citrus Academy.

Sive Silo, project coordinator at the Citrus Academy, said: “In the past, the focus has been on prioritising essential technical and production skills development programmes in the citrus industry. It is now time for us to tackle the development of effective business management, to take the industry to the next level.”

The programme has two separate components. Citrus SuperPower Workplace focusses particularly on supervisory skills, in addition to developing the communication and numeracy skills needed to progress in the workplace. This workplace component will be facilitated by certified Citrus SuperPower trainers, who will be equipped for this task through the Train-the-Trainer development programme, of which the workshop is an essential component.

Personal experiences

“This course for me has been a very enriching and transformational experience. It offered a well-organised curriculum that covered essential aspects of the workplace and each module is designed very cleverly to build upon the previous one, ensuring a good learning journey. One of the standout features of the workshop was its emphasis on practical application. The scenarios, role-plays, and group discussions were highly relevant to the challenges we face as trainers, providing us with actionable strategies and techniques to implement in our training sessions,” said Mia Brits, a participant in the first Train-the-Trainer workshop.

“This course will have a huge impact which will be profitable to the producers. It aims to deal with the root causes of challenges many producers are facing, whereas many other courses do not do this,” said Pheladi Tlomatsane, another participant and a citrus grower in Zebediela in the Limpopo province.

The Citrus SuperPower Workplace component is customised for different workplaces and typically spans several weeks, combining classroom modules with practical work. The programmes are facilitated in the local language whenever possible. Citrus SuperPower Train-the-Trainer workshops will take place later this year in Gqeberha and Cape Town. – Press release, Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa