Thanks to more money for bursaries, more students can now improve their skills by studying at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges. This will help develop the scarce skills needed to grow our country's economy.
Government has budgeted R600 million over three years for bursaries to study at 50 colleges in all the provinces.
At the beginning of 2007, the Department of Education made R100 000 of this amount available, giving 20 000 students opportunities to study for National certificates replaced the N-programmes, which ranged from N1 to N6.
To qualify for FET programmes and bursaries, students should have passed at least Grade 9.
Students can choose from 11 programmes which offer National certificates in any of the fields highlighted below.
- Civil engineering and building construction for careers in architectural engineering, town and regional planning, road construction engineering, civil construction and building construction.
- Electrical infrastructure for jobs in electrical engineering, industrial engineering, sound technology and theatre technology.
- Engineering and related design for careers in car manufacturing, welding, tool making, motor mechanics, panel beating and mechanical engineering.
- Finance, economics and accounting for work in private and public accounting, banking, financial services, insurance services and investment brokering.
- Hospitality for jobs in the food and beverage industry, accommodation management, hotels and events companies.
- Information technology and computer science for jobs in computer programming, information technology management, data processing and computer systems engineering.
- Management for careers in office administration, public relations, production and human resource management.
- Marketing for careers in business management, promotions and advertising, market research, marketing, public relations and brand management.
- Office administration for jobs like accounting, office management and administration, book keeping, secretarial and receptionist.
- Primary agriculture for careers in farm management, forestry, horticulture, food technology and food science.
Tourism for careers in tourism development, transportation
and travel management, game ranging and safari park management.
- Ndivhuwo Khangale
For more information on bursaries and programmes, contact your local FET college, or the Department of Education on
080 020 2933, or call 1020
NEW SKILLS FOR EX COMBATANTS
The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council has taken the lead among municipalities in helping government reach the goals of AsgiSA (Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa). AsgiSA aims to grow the country's economy to six per cent and halve poverty and unemployment by 2014.
Ekurhuleni Metro says they have taken it upon themselves to help ex combatants of former antiapartheid movements. This would make them employable or help them to start their own businesses.
So far, they have registered more than 1 500 ex combatants. These include people from Apla, the former military wing of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania; members of the former Self Defence Units (SDU's); former members of Umkonto weSizwe, the African National Congress' military wing; and Amabutho hostel residents associated to the Inkatha Freedom party who were involved in running battles with members of the community in Katlehong during the apartheid era.
To help them with the development of these people's skills, the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council have entered into a partnership with ABSA. Through this partnership, the banking company offers courses like basic book-keeping, financial management and basic computer skills.
The courses will also help the excombatants with other basic life skills like how to apply for a loan at a financial institution and how to repay a loan.
The council's role is not limited to the partnership with ABSA. Apart from skills development, the council will also ensure that the ex combatants get opportunities to write learner 's license tests so that they can get their driver's licenses.
By developing ex combatants' skills, the council wants to make a contribution towards meeting the goals of the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa) as encouraged by government.
It is their aim to help ex combatants to live productive lives after completing the courses by either starting and running their own businesses or getting good jobs.
- Muzi Mkhwanazi
Government's efforts to help ex combatants of former anti-apartheid movements get new skills have received a boost
For more information, call
or call 1020
BLIND, TALENTED AND PRODUCTIVE
Ntombi Mposula is a beautiful young mother who has three children she has never seen.
One night in August 1985, Mposula went to bed. She was healthy and had no problems with her eye sight. But when she woke up the next morning she realised with a shock that she couldn't see anything. She became blind overnight. Mposula says it was only after becoming blind that she realised how talented she was.
Today, she is one of a team of 14 blind and partially blind people who make beautiful products with cane.
A group of blind and partially blind people who did not want their disabilities to stop them from leading normal lives, started Clarendon Cane Weavers in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal in 2003.
The Natal Society for the Blind trained them to make useful items from cane. These include trays, chairs, dog baskets, coffee tables, picnic baskets, flower baskets for brides and lampshades. They earn money by selling these products to shops.
The project started in Clarendon where most of the weavers live. However, from March this year, they have been renting three classrooms from Hillview Primary School which they use as a workshop, painting-room and showroom. They have the support of the Disabled People of South Africa.
Like other people
Mposula jokes and laughs about her blindness. She says she cannot understand why there are still people who want to be treated differently because of their blindness.
"In fact, once you are blind you start seeing a lot in life. I wake up every morning and come to work like any other person. I cook, do washing and iron for myself," she said. "I work for my children so that they can go to school and enjoy life like others."
We can do Anything
Zandisa Nonjongo, who became partially blind after being injured at work, is the project manager. She says apart from problems with transporting their products, the business is generally doing well.
"Our project has proved that blind people are capable of doing anything they want to," Nonjongo said.
Phila Myenda is a member of the team who became totally blind at the age of nine. Asked how he knew if he made mistakes while weaving, he said: "I'm so gifted I can feel when I am doing something wrong."
Team member Leonard Masinga says the project helps him support his two children. It also helps him to buy things for himself like a cell phone without having to ask anyone
- Ndivhuwo Khangale
To contact Clarendon Cane Weavers, call 031 262-7304
Disabled People of South Africa have representatives in every province. For more information, call 021 422-0357
GETTING INTO BUSINESS WITH HOTDOGS
Spotlessly clean Hot Dog Café carts with neatly dressed youths wearing friendly smiles have become a well-known sight at many shopping centres around the country.
These small businesses are proof that government's policies to grow the economy and speed up skills development are working.
Hot Dog Café is part of a public-private partnership which is helping to reduce unemployment among the youth. This is in line with government's target of developing skills and reducing the number of young people who don't have jobs.
Hot Dog Café together with the Small Enterprise Development Agency and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund not only help youth to start their own businesses, but also offer business courses. The courses give business skills training and support students with starting a business.
Twenty unemployed youth under the age of 35 are currently doing a six-month training course at Hot Dog Café's training centre in Centurion, Gauteng.
Students who perform very well stand a chance to win R50 000. This is meant to help the student open his or her own Hot Dog Café. Other students will be offered loans and Hot Dog Café carts to help them start up their businesses.
Students who have been accepted for the course receive a daily fee that covers transport and food costs. The fee, which amounts to R2 500 a month, is meant to ensure that students attend classes daily. Students who do not turn up for classes will not be paid.
The success of a Hot Dog Café business depends on whether a site is available where people would buy hot dogs. Managing director of Hot Dog Café, Derek Smith, said the business community could help the project by offering the students suitable sites. This will ensure that after completing the course they can start trading.
Students are not left to fend for themselves after they have started their businesses. They are checked to ensure that their businesses follow the strict instructions of the franchise like cleanliness and business rules. This helps to protect Hot Dog Café's brand and to ensure that the students' businesses will be successful in the long run.
The courses offered include cash control, customer care, food hygiene (cleanliness) in the workplace, life skills, managing personal and business finances, marketing, safety and security in the workplace, ordering systems and Hot Dog Café uniforms, regulations, standards and operations.
- Muzi Mkhwanazi
In line with government's target of developing skills, Hot Dog Café is training young people and helping them to start their own businesses
For more, call Hot Dog Café and speak to Jacquie at 012 664-7213, or Small Enterprise Development Agency at 0860103703 or Umsobomvu Youth Fund at
UNITED AGAINST POVERTY AND HUNGER
Women in rural areas all over the world who are facing poverty daily, are looking for ways to improve their own and their families' lives.
Rural women from South Afri-ca and the rest of the world met in Durban in April for the 4th World Congress of Rural Women. The main theme for the congress was "Women uniting in the fight against poverty and hunger."
The World Congress of Rural Women takes place every four years in a different country. Its aim is to talk about problems that face rural women. This includes gender equality, food security and access to land, water, finance, new technologies, transport and roads, housing, women's health and the effect of government programmes on rural women.
Representatives from governments, non-government organisations, women's organisations and community-based organisations also attended the congress.
The representatives agreed that to improve their lives they needed to talk to their governments about creating economic opportunities.
These include employment and special programmes to fight poverty. They also called on business to help create projects that would help them fight poverty.
But the women do not only want to rely on help from their governments and businesses. They came up with suggestions on what they could do to help fight poverty like starting small businesses and farming projects.
They talked about the need to get to resources like farming machines and seeds, loans and information about markets where they could sell their products. Another important topic was education and training for rural women. It included getting help to improve the knowledge and skills of rural women and to get rid of discrimination against women in education and training.
This can be done through things like scholarships for female students, as well as non-formal education and literacy programmes in rural areas. Such programmes must include women with disabilities and young girls.
South African women said they believed that with help from both government and the business sector they would be able to play a meaningful role in helping reach the country's goals of halving poverty and unemployment by 2014.
They also said by gaining skills through government's Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa) they could help the country with the skills shortage, especially in the farming sector.
Talking at the congress, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said it was important for rural women to organise themselves.
"Shout from the roof tops when your rights are being trampled and pressure your governments to act on your behalf, not for self interest, but to make the lives of rural women less burdensome," he said.
- Muzi Mkhwanazi
"Organise yourselves . . . pressure your governments to act on your behalf, not for self interest, but to make the lives of rural women less burdensome."
LEARNER POLICE HELP FIGHT CRIME
At the age of 16, Samson Zitha is already fighting crime as a learner police officer. This Grade-10 learner at Tinhlonhla High School in Jeppes Reef village is a Learner Police Station Commissioner in Schoemansdal, Mpumalanga.
Zitha is the first learner to participate in the Learner Cop project started by the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga.
As a learner police officer, Zitha does not carry a firearm or chase criminals like real policemen. He gives talks to other pupils and community members on how to fight crime. The project has 34 other young volunteer police officers from both primary and high schools in Schoemansdal who help Zitha spread the message.
The Learner Cop project was an idea that started with local police station commissioner, Superintendent Dorah Xaba. She realised that a lot of crimes in the area involved school children and thought it would be a good idea if they could participate in crime prevention projects. She believed this would encourage them to fight crime and teach them about careers in the police.
"Our area is known for crimes ranging from rape, house breaking and gangsterism," said Zitha, who wants to join the South African Police Service when he finishes school. "I encourage the youth to be part of community policing forums. I tell people how crime can destroy our communities and our future," he said. The learner cops also warn the youth about the dangers of using alcohol and drugs like dagga.
Asked how he manages to do his schoolwork and fight crime as well, Zitha said the project encouraged him to study because he was an example to others.
Mpumalanga Provincial Police Commissioner, Africa Khumalo, said the project was part of a plan introduced in 2005.
"We believe that crime prevention does not only involve the police, but every member of the community," he said.
The Learner Cop project is one of the many projects started under a bigger programme called Community in Blue. "We get people to participate in police forums and other crime-prevention initiatives we have started," Khumalo said.
Police stations across the province have been instructed to start Learner Cop projects.
To become learner cops, pupils have to write essays about crime and what they can do to fight it.
- Ndivhuwo Khangale
For more information, contact Sibongile Nkosi: 082 556 5574 or 013 249 1111 or call 1020.