Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges in South Africa received a major boost with the launch of an international partnership to strengthen skills development and job creation in critically important fields such as agriculture and water governance.
Stellenbosch University (SU) and Maastricht School of Management (MSM) will manage the three year project “Strengthening Skills of TVET Staff and Students for Optimizing Water Usage and Climate Smart Agriculture in South Africa”. The R27 million project is funded by the Netherlands Universities Foundation for International Cooperation (NUFFIC). The six TVET colleges involved are Vhembe College in Limpopo, Motheo College in the Free State, Nkangala College in Mpumalanga, Northern Cape Rural College in Upington, Boland College in the Western Cape, and Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute. Other partners include AgriColleges International (ACI), the Academy of Environmental Leadership, the Department of Higher Education and Training, and the Department of Water and Sanitation.
During the launch at Stellenbosch University on 27 September 2019, Prof Dipiloane Phutsisi, principal of Motheo TVET, said in her address that TVET Colleges play a key-role in solving South Africa’s unemployment problem: “Our mandate is to deliver a skilled and capable workforce, but we grapple with various challenges. Today is a step in the right direction. We need strong partnerships to change this landscape, and to ensure the employability of our graduates.”
In his welcome address, Prof Leopold van Huysteen from SU emphasised the global importance of sustainable environmental management: “If we don’t resolve our water governance issues, then we’re in serious trouble,” he said.
He also thanked the TVET Colleges present for coming on board: “In a partnership one learns from your partner, but also from the beneficiaries. TVET Colleges know what they are doing and they know their market. We urgently need skills in the control and management of water, soil and agriculture in a water scarce country such as ours.”
In conclusion, Mr Hans Nijhoff, project manager from MSM, said their role is to link the TVET Colleges to sectoral growth by optimising water usage and climate smart agricultural practices. This will be done in collaboration with SU as a key knowledge partner
“Together we hope to create jobs and ensure sustainable growth,” he concluded.
For more information about the project, contact Mr Manuel Jackson, project manager at the Stellenbosch University Water Institute, at 021 808 9561.
Stellenbosch University, media release, Thursday 3 October 2019