Millions to boost skills development

Pretoria – A R129 million agreement which is expected to improve the country’s skills development was announced on Friday by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.

“I take pleasure to announce a commitment of R84-million to fund training which will be conducted by the Manufacturing and Related Sector Training Authority (Merseta). This funding through UIF [Unemployment Insurance Fund] will provide essential skills to at least 1 500 trainees over three years,” she said.

The minister was speaking at a graduation ceremony of 176 students who received training in boiler making, fitters and turners among other artisan fields.

Oliphant explained that the funding indicates government’s commitment to skills development and that it is aligned to potential jobs that can be created in the manufacturing sector.

The minister further announced that government will provide funding to the Mining Qualification Authority (MQA) to train a total 1 000 candidates over a period of three years.

“Both agreements indicate a grand total of R129 million – a huge investment in skills development,” she explained.

The funding agreements follow the successful completion of courses that the UIF beneficiaries undertook under the Training of the Unemployed Scheme, which was launched in 2009.

The investment is informed by the country’s New Growth Path’s (NGP) projections of massive job opportunities of key drivers for job creation.

“The skills you now possess will be in demand in order to achieve the objectives of the NGP,” she said. Cabinet adopted the NGP in October last year.

The minister challenged the graduates to become employment creators’ instead of just being employees.

“The country needs entrepreneurs. The skills that you possess will also enable you to be employers as well,” adding that other government departments like trade and industry have funds to assist start-up businesses.

The Training of the Unemployed Scheme was launched at the height of the economic recession which saw multitudes of South Africans losing their jobs.

The aim of the scheme was to improve the skills levels of UIF beneficiaries. The UIF beneficiaries were drawn from the UIF’s database. – BuaNews

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