Pandor opens an educational hub

2019-05-14 06:00
Enthusiastic students attending the ceremony to listen to words of wisdom from the minister of higher education and training.

Enthusiastic students attending the ceremony to listen to words of wisdom from the minister of higher education and training.

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Minister for higher education and training, Doctor Naledi Pandor, opened the Centres of Specialisation (COS) at False Bay TVET college in Khayelitsha.

The occasion was well attended and even brought together six Western Cape TVET colleges that specialise in eight of the 13 COS trades.

They are; False Bay College for Mechanical Fitting and Rigging, College of Cape Town for Auto Mechanics and Plumbing, Boland College for Welding, South Cape College for Bricklaying, Northlink College for Fitting and Turning and West Coast College for Pipefitting.

In the list of attendees, special guests included Western Cape premier Helen Zille, acting regional manager for the Department of Higher Education and Training, Cassie Kruger and spokesperson for the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (SEIFSA), Kaizer Nyatsumba.

In Pandor’s keynote address, she said that the COS was important for a number of reasons; to train artisans for trades that are in demand, to place colleges in better partnerships with employers, to build a better apprenticeship system and to lay the foundation for college differentiation.

She went on to highlight that there were many problems in the education and training sector in the country and that investing in colleges and universities was a response to such challenges.

“The aim is to offer young people a range of education and training alternatives, including universities. The idea is to create a route to better skills and technical qualifications,” she said.

“We plan to improve quality and create diverse entry points to other institutions in post-school education and training. The efforts directed at creating college and employer links are intended to ease the acquisition of work-based skills for young trainees,” she said.

She explained that the programme benefitted from a close working relationship with various industry associations, which have helped to develop relevant and responsive curricula.

“The role of Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas) in linking employers to the COS programme has ensured that all participating employers are guaranteed discretionary grants. Setas are beginning to integrate the Centres of Specialisation programme into their planning and reporting system,” she added.

She said that the collaboration broke down the barriers between educational institutions and the industry, and helped new employers to support the apprenticeship system.

She emphasised the importance of employers seeing the benefit of apprenticeships to their business and industry.

“This can’t just be about recouping the apprenticeship grant. If that’s the only motivation, then the whole initiative is doomed to failure.

“The COS programme is about helping employers to get the skills they need and to boost their productivity and helping young people fill the skill gaps in South Africa,” she said.

Karin Hendricks, acting principal for False Bay TVET college, said that they were very excited to develop the journey along with a dual system of training that blends components of the training at the institution with on-the-job work experience and application in a structured training model.

“We are dealing with a major skills shortage in our country and as we shared (today), COS are focussing on the 13 priority trades, where there are good employment prospects,” Hendricks said.

She said that this model of skills development was very critical for the country and that they needed to move away from importing skills and give the youth a fair chance to compete for jobs and become contributors to the growth of the economy.

With over 150 registered apprentices in attendance, Pandor gave special attention to them.

She told them that whilst the Centres of Specialisation programme is a pilot programme, the successful implementation of this programme is their responsibility too.

“Your success will pave the way for others to follow,” she encouraged them.

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