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Western Cape highlights its milestones

Written by Noluthando Motswai
The province is growing its economy and connection communities

The Western Cape tourism sector continues to grow. International arrivals are up by almost 16 percent and 10 million passengers made their way through Cape Town International Airport last year.

This was revealed by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille during her State of the Province Address.

“Guided by Wesgro, we’ve generated an additional R3 billion for the economy by adding over half a million new two-way direct seats through our Cape Air Access Initiative,” Zille said

 The launch of the expanded Cape Town International Convention Centre this year will also help grow the conference industry. 

Premier Zille said the province has secured over R5.9 billion worth of investments for the Western Cape, through Wesgro, which resulted in 1 865 new jobs from 2014 to 2016.

“We have also closed 25 trade deals to the value of R8.6 billion since 2014, creating 662 new jobs.”

Red tape cut for SMMEs

Premier Zille said the provincial government must do more to decrease red tape for Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) so that growth is not stifled.

“Red tape can be especially harmful for small enterprises. Since taking office, we have refined a support system for entrepreneurs, with 35 000 small businesses supported since 2009.”

 The SMME Contract Finance Fund facilitates loans to SMMEs that require more capacity to secure larger business contracts. A total of 164 SMMEs have been assisted since 2014, with loan transactions worth almost R13 million.

The second funding vehicle is the Enterprise Development Fund, which has supported 300 SMMEs in three years.

Filling the skills gap

The Western Cape government is prioritising skills development, particularly among the youth. 

“Our answer is the Apprenticeships Game Changer, which aims to ensure that young people have the necessary skills for jobs in the sectors where demand is growing.

“We have set a target of introducing 32 500 apprentices into the labour market by 2019, to meet the needs of a growing province,” said Zille

She confirmed that between April and September 2016,
3 009 young people completed their work-based programmes, in fields linked to the tourism, oil and gas and agri-processing sectors.

The province’s priorities for the year include intensifying Maths support in its 23 technical high schools and other schools; enhancing  public awareness of the technical and vocational career path through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, engaging  employers about taking on learners for workplace-based learning programmes, such as apprenticeships; and working with sector education training authorities on  an innovative dual-system apprenticeship programme for solar PV Installers.

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