Community Builder: Uzendt Peters

Principal: Ithemba Institute of Technology

Why is Uzendt a Community Builder?

For the most part, industry and education are two separate entities which never gather round a partnership table. As a teacher in a state school, Uzendt Peters knew that if skills-dependent industries wanted skilled labour, and his pupils wanted jobs, that industry had to be brought into the education field.

Which is exactly what he did. He took a run-down old school in Soweto and converted it into the Ithemba Institute of Technology – a place where big business can have a hand in enabling skills development in their particular field.

From helping with the curriculum to equipping the workshops with industry-relevant equipment, big business is making sure that skilled labour is coming out of Soweto.

The remarkable thing about this project is that companies that are usually competitors in the marketplace are now working together for the development of skills in their particular sector.

Uzendt has created an institute that teaches South Africa a very important lesson – that a private-public partnership can be used to solve the serious problem of skills in our country.

In his own words .

“The youth is the most important asset in this country. We need to invest in our youth, and that is what I hope my contribution can be.”

Fast Facts

  • Big business gets involved in school governance, upgrading workshops, developing the curriculum, and placing learners in the workplace.
  • Ithemba is divided into three educational institutions: an FET school (Grade 10 – 12); an FET college teaching technical skills to graduates of the school; and a place which offers adult education in the evenings.
  • Ithemba offers skills in welding, diesel mechanics, electrical engineering, fitting and turning, and hydraulics.
  • The Sowetan has adopted Ithemba as part of the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation’s youth and community development programmes portfolio.
  • The institute is currently establishing an IT centre.

How can I find out more?

For more information, e-mail

Story published on SAinfo on 22 August 2008.
Source: Brand South Africa