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E-government MEC pushes for youth skills boost


Gauteng finance MEC and head of the Department of e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, has called on ICT companies to step up efforts to upskill youths in the province.

This comes as the e-government department, in partnership with Altron, has introduced the Soweto-leg of its socio-economic development (SED) programme and workforcemanagement institute.

In the wake of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), president Cyril Ramaphosa and his administration have dedicated attention to this next revolution and how to equip citizens with the necessary skills to thrive in a digital society.

Gauteng MEC of finance and e-government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko.

In the State of the Nation Address in February, Ramaphosa promised that over the next six years, government will provide every school child in SA with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device.

Furthermore, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, which is mandated to coordinate government's 4IR programme, has revealed it is making headway towards the target of equipping a million young people with data science and related skills by 2030.

The e-government department has been running the SED programme since 2016. Through this programme, it aims to provide opportunities to university graduates to participate in a working internship and for them to gain necessary skills to become certified workforce management solutions engineers.

According to the department, the programme has created permanent employment and upskilling opportunities for five young people in the first year, and 11 young people were placed in Gauteng provincial government departments in the second year.

MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko has encouraged ICT sector players to partner with government to help develop more initiatives like these so more youth in the province may benefit.

“I want to urge all those who would be enrolled into these programmes to take this opportunity with both hands, acquire the skills provided, make it a success to inspire Altron and other ICT companies and partners to come on board,” she says.

Nomonde Dhlamini, a beneficiary of the programme who is now responsible for ICT support at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, says the programme has been very beneficial.

“I have been given skills that will make me a better person and contribute positively to society. It is very difficult to get a job today; this is because many young people don’t have adequate skills. I really hope that more young people become part of the programme,” notes Dhlamini.

Gauteng gets ahead

Meanwhile, the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) yesterday officially unveiled another specialisation school focused on equipping learners across the province with emerging skills.

Katlehong Engineering School of Specialisation, which is located in one of Gauteng’s economic development corridors, will focus on manufacturing, aeronautics and logistics.

Over the last few years, the GDE has dedicated special attention to establish learning facilities focused on maths, science and ICT; engineering; commerce and entrepreneurship; sports and performing and creative arts.

This also forms part of the department's strategy to change the province's historical reliance on traditional sectors for job creation by changing the history of township education.

Education and youth development MEC Panyaza Lesufi says his department plans to open 35 schools of specialisation by 2022. So far, the GDE has launched eight such schools.

Turning attention to the Katlehong Engineering School of Specialisation, Lesufi explains the department’s partnership with private sector players has been fundamental in providing learners with workplace experience, learnerships, artisanships and entrepreneurial skills.

According to the GDE, the school has partnered with Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services SETA (MerSETA), Samsung Electronics, Hatfield VW and Fury Ford Group, Komatsu Mining, Austrian Education Department and Tshwane IDC.

MerSETA reveals the department will assist with the training of those learners that pass maths, tech maths and physical science to become qualified motor technicians.

In addition, Samsung will continue to take grade 10 to12 learners doing electrical technology to its academy in Midrand for additional training on a weekly basis.

Lesufi states: “We are excited about our partnership with different companies in the private sector; among others, they will also support the school with training services and material. Indeed, we would like to thank all our partners for investing in our children.

“If we fail to change the education landscape, we will never succeed in empowering our children with the necessary skills to improve our economy. It is important to invest in our children because they are our future.”



Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER

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