News24

Defence dept on skills drive

2010-03-30 19:06

Cape Town - The defence force's Military Skills Development Programme (MSDS) is injecting new blood into the SANDF and playing a valuable role in addressing the skills shortage in the country, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Tuesday.

"We would want to absorb many young unemployed graduates into the defence force for a two-year basic training," Sisulu told a meeting at the Saldanha Navy Academy.

"When they have mastered different skills in the SANDF (SA National Defence Force), we can release them to different sectors of the society, we have the ability and the institutions to train many people in different fields but we need more partners to absorb them after the training."

Sisulu said MSDS, which takes more than 5 000 young people every year, "will be enhanced with the aim of offering rare skills and various training opportunities for young people".

The MSDS had shown over the past year that the SANDF could contribute to addressing skills shortages in the country in creating jobs.

"Last year we took over 5 000 young people into the SANDF, we are training them into rare skills, and at the same time we pay them to support themselves and their families" she said.

Sisulu said military training, which includes drills, physical fitness, swimming, diving, sailing, military law and basic life skills, was central to prepare young people for a positive leadership role in their community, government and the business world.

More young women can be taken into different services of the SANDF, such as the SA Air Force, SA Medical Health Services and the SA Army to specialise in scarce skills like navigation, pilots and engineering, diving and sailing.

"It is now a proven fact that women do better than men and the performance of women in the navy and other sectors of the SANDF demonstrates that by investing in women and young people, we are building a nation," she said.