The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Fikile Majola says Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges should be used as a springboard to support local businesses and communities where they are located. Majola was speaking at the launch of the Specialised Industrial Facility (SIF) in Zwelitsha, Eastern Cape.

The Special Industrial Facilities are pilot centres funded by the African Development Bank and implemented by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) to support skills development for students. They also provide technology access to Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in order to improve their productivity and create job opportunities.

As the dti, we would like to thank the TVET Colleges for hosting the Special Industrial Facilities. We chose these institutions in order to ensure that there is a mind-set shift. We must not only produce employable graduates but we must also produce entrepreneurs who are ready to create jobs, said Majola.

Majola added that for the Special Industrial Facilities clients, owning a factory and becoming an industrialist will be realised through an integrated approach to financial and non-financial support provided.

The clients will become manufacturers who will graduate from the Special Industrial Facilities to industrial parks or Special Economic Zones (SEZ). As government, we have adopted the SEZ programme as a tool to create new industrial hubs in the country, focusing strongly on regions and sectors that are capable of accelerating economic growth and development, he said.

Majola extended government’s gratitude to the African Development Bank’s for supporting projects particularly the Local Economic Development and Developing Pilot Specialised Industrial Facilities.

This collaboration will enable us to carry the instruction of President Cyril Ramaphosa who has directed us to work as one government focusing on rolling out a new integrated Eastern Cape Khawuleza district-based approach to address our service delivery and local economic development challenges, he said.

The Acting Principal of Lovedale TVET College, Ms Juanita Verster said the college feels deeply honoured that the Zwelitsha Campus was selected as one of the TVET Colleges where these facilities are being placed.

The SIF project will assist the college and community of Zwelitsha to upscale their skills and support small businesses through the spray painting booth. There are many small businesses between East London and King William’s Town where spray painting and motor body repairs are being done. Some of these businesses are one or two-person businesses that deliver these services from their backyards and would greatly benefit from the specialist machinery and technology as well as support in terms of business acumen, said Verster.

She added that the brickmaking facility will also assist entrepreneurs and small businesses in the bricks making sector to access the fully resourced facility with machinery and advanced technology.

Source: Department of Trade and Industry