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Skills revolution takes off in civil aviation

A skills revolution is taking place in the transport section as students in the Eastern Cape are reaching for the skies through bursaries in civil aviation.

As part of government's drive to transform the civil aviation industry, the Eastern Cape Department of Transport in partnership with Air Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS) is looking for students to be trained as air traffic controllers.

"This initiative is part of the department's transport sector skills revolution campaign, designed to produce the scarce skills required by this critical sector of the province's economy," said Transport Department spokesperson Ncedo Kumbaca on Tuesday.

Who qualifies

To qualify students need to have passed Grade 12 with the following:

Students who meet the above requirements must register at their nearest Department of Transport office. They must be able to produce certified copies of their matric certificates/results and their identity documents.

Registered students will be notified about the date and venue for briefing and assessment.

  • Mathematics (not maths literacy) Level 4/ D (HG)/ C (SG)
  • English Level 4/ D (HG)/ C (SG)
Great opportunity

Seventeen-year-old Thembelihle Ndatyana from Mdantsane outside East London, completed matric last year and was going to take a gap year as he was unable to study further due to a lack of funds.

He said the department's offer was a great opportunity for him and others who couldn't enter into tertiary education this year. "I'm really excited about this opportunity because my parents didn't have the money to send me to university. I'm on my way now to submit my documents to the department."

More than 300 young people in the Eastern Cape have already benefited from the department's bursaries. They include 134 women and 115 students who are doing their National Diploma in Civil Engineering.

Highly skilled people

This initiative is in line with government's commitment to the International Civil Aviation Organisation's 2011/12 campaign to take civil aviation to more disadvantaged communities. It is also in line with government's priority of ensuring the safety of African skies through developing and retaining highly skilled personnel in the aviation industry.

"As a province, we appreciate any partnership that seeks to reposition the transport sector in line with the development priorities of government, including the building of a skills and human resources base," said Transport MEC Thandiswa Marawu.

"We are looking forward to a day when the shortage of air traffic controllers and pilots will be a challenge of the past and to see more young Africans, especially girls, not only serving refreshments in aeroplanes, but being active participants in this industry."

As part of its contribution to the transformation of the transport sector, the Eastern Cape Department of Transport has also awarded 29 bursaries to deserving youth of the province to study Aeronautical Engineering (2), Civil Engineering (15), Mechanical Engineering (10) and Maritime Engineering (2). The value of bursaries awarded is R 65 000 per learner.

For more information, call the Eastern Cape Department of Transport on 043 604 7400