Nov 2021 2nd edition

Specialised artisan centre offers five in-demand trades

Written by More Matshediso

Tshwane South Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College at Pretoria West Campus is the first in South Africa to have five specialist trades for artisanal skills. Daniel Ramnarain is an apprentice mechanical fitter at the new Gandhi-Mandela Centre of Specialisation for Artisan Skills at Tshwane South TVET College.

This is according to Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Buti Manamela who recently opened the Gandhi-Mandela Centre of Specialisation for Artisan Skills at the college.

The centre offers mechanical fitting, millwright, electrical, boilermaker, and fitting and turning courses.

Deputy Minister Manamela says centres of specialisation are well positioned to prepare students for the workplace, or for self-employment, by ensuring they are taught the skills employers need. The Gandhi-Mandela  Centre of Specialisation for Artisanal Skills is one of the 30 centres that will be rolled out across the country.

The centre was named after India's civil right's leader Mahatma Gandhi and South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela.The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2018 to set up the Gandhi-Mandela Centre of Specialisation for Artisanal Skills in South Africa.

In 2018, the department announced it intended to launch 26 centres of specialisation, prioritising 13 occupational trades that are in high demand to curb the shortage of trade skills, and to reduce unemployment and poverty.

“The centres of specialisation are located at 19 TVET colleges across the country. They were provided with resources to upgrade their workshops and equipment to deliver effectively on these much-needed skills,” he says.  

Through the National Skills Fund, the department allocated R150-million to fund the initial set-up costs. The government of India injected R48-million worth of equipment and tools as part of the MOU it signed with the South Africa in 2018.

“This investment has enabled us to increase the number of centres of specialisation from the 26 initially planned, to 30,”says Minister Manamela.

World-class equipment

Daniel Ramnarain (24) is an apprentice mechanical fitter at the college and is one of the first students to use the world-class equipment.

“I have completed my phase 1 assessment. I am currently working as part of my apprenticeship, and this prepares me for the work environment, ” he says.

Ramnarain is currently working at Matimba Power Station in Lephalale Limpopo as a trainee apprentice.

He still has to complete phase 2 and 3 of the course, and pass a trade test, before he graduates.

“The centre teaches us about using machines and strategies to make production faster,” he says.

Ramnarain plans to further his studies and become a mechanical engineer. “I would like to get as much work experience as possible and open my own business,” he says.

To enrol for one of the courses at the Gandhi-Mandela Centre of Specialisation for the Artisan Skills, you need to have a Grade 12 certificate and have an N2 qualification. Applications for the 2022 academic year have not yet opened.

For more information, contact the college on 012 380 5000 or email

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