24 April 2014
A partnership between South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training and the Swiss Chamber of Commerce, aims to empower both students and lecturers at two technical and vocational education and training colleges (TVET) in Gauteng.
The partnership presented invaluable opportunities for both countries, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said at the launch at the Ekurhuleni West TVET College in Germiston on Wednesday.
“I am happy that our partner, the Swiss Chamber of Commerce, has proposed supporting our colleges in developing the highly skilled and qualified employees which they, and other industrialists, need.
“We really require and urge the whole private sector to follow in the footsteps of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce,” Nzimande said.
Nzimande said the partnership programme would see South African lecturers and learners placed in Swiss companies for workplace exposure, as well as industry experts from Swiss companies placed in colleges here.
The programme will also see learners gaining practical experience in the workplace, where they will undergo work-integrated learning. They will be eligible for recruitment after the training, Nzimande said.
Courses in the programme, identified by the Swiss Chamber of Commerce, include: information technology; mechanical and electrical engineering; sales and marketing; office administration and accounting and business studies.
Ekurhuleni West (Tembisa and Germiston campuses) and Westcol (Carltonville and Randfontein campuses) have been selected to participate in the programme.
Participating Swiss companies would also benefit from the programme, Nzimande said. “For example, at the end of the programme, Swiss companies will be provided with suitably qualified learners, who could be taken up for employment. Appropriately skilled employees are needed by industry. This programme will provide you with a pool to select from.”
TVET student enrolments have increased by 131% from 345 566 in 2010. The department is targeting 800 000 students for this year. The 2030 enrolment targets are 1.62-million in public universities, 2.5-million in TVET colleges, 1-million in community colleges and 500 000 in private institutions.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme budget for 2014/15 amounts to R6-billion, comprising R3.9-billion set aside for universities and R2.1-billion for TVET college bursaries and loans.
This budget has increased from R578-million in 2005 to more than R9-billion in 2014, taking into account all bursaries and loans administered by aid scheme from other government departments and entities.
Nzimande said depending on the project’s success, it may later be expanded outside Gauteng to rural and other colleges.