Technical, vocational education and training (TVET) colleges have received a major boost with the recent launch of a R27 million international partnership project to strengthen local skills development and job creation in agriculture and water governance.
In terms of a partnership between South Africa and the Netherlands, the Stellenbosch University Water Institute and the Maastricht School of Management, a three-year project titled Strengthening Skills of TVET Staff and Students for Optimising Water Usage and Climate-Smart Agriculture in South Africa will be managed.
Funding from the Netherlands Universities Foundation for International Cooperation has led to six TVET colleges benefiting: Vhembe in Limpopo, Motheo in the Free State, Nkangala in Mpumalanga, Northern Cape Rural College in Upington, Boland College in the Western Cape and the Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute.
Other partners include Agri Colleges International, the Academy of Environmental Leadership, the department of higher education and training and the department of water and sanitation.
In her address at the launch, professor Dipiloane Phutsisi, principal of Motheo TVET, said these colleges played a key role in solving the unemployment problem.
“Our mandate is to deliver a skilled and capable workforce, but we grapple with various challenges.
“Today we have taken a step in the right direction.
“We need strong partnerships to change this landscape and to ensure the employability of our graduates.”
Professor Leopold van Huysteen, from the Maastricht School of Management, said: “If we don’t resolve our water governance issues, then we’re in serious trouble.
“In a partnership, one does not just learn from a 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.”