KwaMpumuza Skills Development Center to Create Job Opportunities

The KwaMpumuza Skills Development Center in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, is set to create around 175 job opportunities to help reduce unemployment facing the country.

The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, presided over the groundbreaking marking the construction of Phase 1 of the center at a ceremony held on Friday.

The R105 million project is the first intra-SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) collaborative infrastructure project undertaken by the Construction Education & Training Authority (CETA) and the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&RSETA) .

The project will benefit the community of Vulindlela and rural communities in the surrounding areas, especially the youth.

Speaking at the ceremony, Nzimande said the construction of the KwaMpumuza Skills Development Center proves that the government is committed to skills and infrastructure development, with a particular focus on young people.

He said that with the construction of the center he sees many possibilities, including the value chain from agriculture to retail.

“This project will stimulate and become an anchor for this rural community development in different facets,” Nzimande said.

The center will have administration, hospitality and retail hubs; two CETA-related workshops; conference rooms; a slaughterhouse and a sentry box.

Skills development courses to be offered include agribusiness (meat processing and feedstock management); laying of bricks; air conditioning and refrigeration; electric; painting and decorating.

It will also offer plumbing; heat pump; carpentry and carpentry; property maintenance; installation of geysers; road maintenance and trades related to the retail trade,

The center will also offer hairdressing services; restaurant management; spa/massage parlor and beauty management course.

Nzimande said the department, thanks to the work of the SETAs and all the stakeholders involved, marks another gain in achieving the National Skills Development Plan (NSDP).

He said the National Skills Development Plan aims to support the growth of the public college system as one of the key solutions to the country’s skills challenges.

Likewise, the minister said, the aim of the NSDP is to provide access to critical skills to as many people as possible.

“This construction of this center will greatly benefit the work of our Decade of the Craftsman program, which is led by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, whose goal is to produce 30 000 artisans per year by 2030.

“The program is in line with the objective of the government’s National Development Plan, which recognized the importance of investing in artisanal programs to develop our economy,” Nzimande said.

The Minister said the Skills Development Centers are a bridge between the main post-school learning opportunity campuses, which are currently located in major cities.

“Skills Development Centers are located in predominantly rural and township communities, expanding access to skills, learning and training opportunities, especially for our unemployed youth.

“It is also important that these facilities are used optimally to benefit the greatest number of people; hence the importance that CET (Community Education and Training) programs are also carried out in this center.

“CET colleges are important in tackling high youth unemployment, which has become a ticking time bomb if not urgently addressed,” Nzimande said.

It’s cool to be a craftsman

Nzimande also used the occasion to encourage young people to enroll in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, reiterating that “it’s cool to be an artisan”.

Nzimande highlighted some of the benefits of enrolling in TVET colleges, including practical skills to prepare students for the world of work and empower them to create jobs.

“You will graduate with academic and practical skills that will prepare you for the world of work. You will leave college with skills that employers are looking for. TVET colleges produce highly employable graduates, as research has shown.

“There are many employment opportunities for artisans, and above all, to create your own jobs,” Nzimande said.

(With contributions from the South African government press release)