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Sandi Kwon Hoo | 22 August 2023

Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul believes that a strategy needs to be developed to attract and maintain young skilled professionals in the Province.

NORTHERN Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul believes that a strategy needs to be developed to attract and maintain young skilled professionals in the Province.

During a visit by Deputy President Paul Mashatile, on the occasion of the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), at Sol Plaatje University on August 18, Saul said graduates preferred to relocate to bigger centres.

“No young doctor or engineer wants to come here. We must develop a programme to bring them back to the Province,” said Saul.

He added that the Province would develop labour-intensive sectors to address unemployment.

He indicated that R210 million had been set aside for equipment for technical schools, youth service centres, skills programmes for unemployed youths, and learnerships and bursaries in renewable energy.

“An amount of R45.2 million will go towards skills programmes, learnerships, internships and apprenticeships for 991 beneficiaries.”

Saul added that a trade test centre would be constructed in Prieska, along with a Fourth Industrial Revolution centre and plumbing trade test centre in Upington and an engineering trade test centre in Okiep.

Saul said that R150 million that was awarded for study loans through the Northern Cape Premier’s Education Trust Fund had been written off.

“A total of 223 students benefited from this scheme to study at various institutions of higher learning.”

He stated further that 5,478 students had received assistance from the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) at technical and vocational colleges.

“Grade 9, 10 and 11 school leavers are encouraged to undertake vocational learning programmes.”

Saul also highlighted the need for information technology infrastructure, high-tech resources and tools, and more lecturers trained in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), as well as the low enrolment numbers at TVET colleges, as some of the challenges.

He added that 145 doctors are being trained, with 37 due to graduate this year through the Nelson Mandela-Fidel Castro medical collaboration programme.

Saul said that 70 students had completed nursing diplomas while 33 students graduated in general nursing and 21 in midwifery as a means of creating a pool of specialist nurses.

“He said 53 graduates were trained in the management of childhood diseases.”

He indicated that 60 percent of academic staff at Sol Plaatje University possessed doctorates in philosophy (PHDs), while 106 postgraduate students were studying degrees that were needed to grow the economy.

“There has been an improvement in teaching and research capacity, where 46 researchers supported the expansion of research relevant to the needs of the economy.”

Saul also highlighted the green hydrogen project, digital mining, the ocean economy and Boegoebaai harbour as projects that could boost the provincial economy and international trade.

Mashatile said the social pacts that were signed were aimed at creating skills needed to transform the economy and society through higher education, technical and vocational and skills training, innovation and research.

“We cannot have economic development without higher education and training, research, innovation and development.

“Most crucially, you cannot achieve any of these outcomes without quality primary education with a strong emphasis on mathematics and science education.”

Mashatile stated that with its mineral riches, the Northern Cape should become the leader in careers such as chemistry, heavy-equipment operation, environmental consulting, mine surveying and geology as well as mining, geological, electrical and project engineering.

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


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