_: Today, Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, officially launched a R5.8 million ground-breaking programme that will not only address the critical shortage of artisans in our region, but also give young, aspirant artisans the chance to become fully qualified and get a job.
In the pilot phase of the Artisan Development Programme which is taking place this year, 200 young people who have theoretical knowledge of artisanship but have not been able to find placement at a host company, will be funded to complete the in-service training they need in order to write the National Trade Test and become fully qualified.
Funding has also been made available to train coaches who have been identified within host companies so that they can deliver quality training to their interns. This year, 72 host companies have agreed to become participants in the programme by creating much needed placements for in-service training.
This programme is being run in partnership with the private sector, communities, Skills Education Training Authorities (SETAs) and FET Colleges.
The response from young people, wanting to participate has been overwhelming. Many aspirant artisans remain unemployed due to the lack of opportunities at host companies to complete the required in-service training.
Those selected for the first phase come from across the province including Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Belhar, Grabouw, Philippi, Du Noon, Atlantis and Wellington. Qualifying criteria include that the trainee must have a certain level of trade qualification and must be unemployed.
Speaking from the launch of the programme at Mac Brothers in Epping, Minister Winde said: “The lack of artisans in our region could have a devastating impact on our economy down the line as artisans play a crucial role in the delivery of services, especially in engineering trades. At present, the average age of artisans is 55 years old.
This means that within the decade, artisanship will become a really scarce skill. If we do not have enough artisans to meet the demands of business, business will go elsewhere. Through this programme, we aim to create a pipeline of qualified artisans who can play a role in growing the emerging sectors of our economy such as Oil and Gas. This programme also gives young people the opportunities they need to qualify and become gainfully employed.”
Stemmar Cornelissen, a 26-year old trainee from Kuils River, said the programme has given him an opportunity to change his life by completing his in-service training so that he can become employed: “The Artisan Development Programme has helped me to receive the practical training I need to become a qualified artisan. In five years I hope to be a star electrician and really make a name for myself,” said Cornellisen.
Cornellisen and his fellow trainee, 25-year old Babalwa Mafanya from Gugulethu, shared their experiences of the pilot programme at its official launch. Both are specialising in the electrical field. Mafanya added that learning skills such as repairing appliances would help make her more employable, increasing her prospects.
Winde added: “Hearing the stories of young people like Stemmar and Babalwa should serve as an inspiration to other youngsters. It shows us the difference these types of programmes can make in the lives of our residents. Having a job is the way out of poverty. In the Western Cape Government, our slogan is “Better Together” and I believe by working with business, other institutions and the people of this province we have found a solution to a major issue… We are creating jobs and growing our economy together.”
Minister Winde said the National Development Plan states that in many developing countries, it is activities like artisanship ‘that provide shock absorbers for extreme poverty and platforms for self-employment’. “The plan states that to grow the economy and reduce poverty, we need to produce 30 000 artisans a year. The Western Cape Government is determined to play its part in realising this national goal,” said Minister Winde.
For media queries, please contact:
Bronwynne Jooste, Spokesperson for Minister Alan Winde
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 082 454 4365