The President of Samsung Southern Africa, Sung Yoon, the former Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mduduzi Manana and Gert Sibande TVET College CEO and Principal, Nick Balkrishen, unveil the plaque officially declaring the Samsung Academy at the Skills Academy and Artisan Development Centre in Standerton, open
Samsung Electronics recently launched and handed over a Samsung Engineering Academy to Gert Sibande TVET College Skills Academy and Artisan Development Centre in Standerton, Mpumalanga Province.
Samsung Electronics did so as part of the company’s corporate citizenship drive. The celebratory launch and hand-over ceremony was attended by many dignitaries including the former Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mduduzi Manana, President of Samsung SA, Mr Sung Yoon and Principal and CEO Nick Balkrishen. The Gert Sibande TVET College Samsung Engineering Academy is an initiative that resulted from a partnership between Samsung Electronics South Africa, merSETA, Gert Sibande TVET College, MICT-SETA and the Department of Higher Education and Training.
This public-private alliance strives to reduce poverty and dependency by providing the youth from South Africa’s underprivileged communities with an opportunity to acquire engineering skills.
It also seeks to tackle the shortage of technical and engineering skills in the Province of Mpumalanga, and ultimately South Africa.
This partnership was formed in an attempt to provide the youth with access to teaching and learning facilities with the vision of transferring skills and creating employability for the country’s youth.
Samsung Electronics also understands that in order to create a sustainable future, it is vital to invest in education and training in South Africa. The Academy will provide the youth with an opportunity to be up-skilled in engineering sciences. This will improve their chances of employment or to start their own businesses and thereby grow their respective communities.
According to the former Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mduduzi Manana, an initiative such as this is a key component of the national strategy. It is a strategy of inter alia, ensuring that a labour force is developed to fulfil the Government’s vision of developing the manufacturing sector.
“The manufacturing sector is by its nature, labour intensive. It should provide more job opportunities for our youth, whilst at the same time, building the productive capacity of the country,” said former Deputy Minister Manana.
The former Deputy Minister was elated with the Gert Sibande TVET College Samsung project, which was the first of its kind in Mpumalanga Province. It highlighted the importance of forging closer partnerships with industry.
Forging partnerships with industry is the cornerstone of the Department’s White Paper on Post-School Education. The White Paper calls for the TVET sector to develop partnerships with industry to ensure labour market relevance.
The Academy was designed and equipped by Samsung according to international standards. Students who qualify at the academy can work at any of Samsung’s service centres world-wide.
Consequently, students from the Gert Sibande TVET College Samsung Engineering Academy will be given an opportunity to compete for employment opportunities at any one of Samsung’s various service centres across the country and internationally. In doing so, they will put the skills learned at the academy to practical use for Samsung customers. Currently, Samsung has employed over 100 graduates from academies similar to this one.
According to Samsung Electronics President for Southern Africa, Mr Sung Yoon, the programme will provide students with the necessary engineering acumen. Samsung will help give the graduates a head-start in the workplace, making them attractive recruits for Samsung, Samsung partners and other industry players.
“This initiative strives to transform communities through education and skills development. In return, it is hoped it will open up skilled, well-paying job opportunities for individuals and tap into the youth’s natural interest in electronics.
Samsung will equip underprivileged students attending government technical schools with the skills and practical experience required to make them competitive in the job market”, said Mr Yoon. College CEO and Principal, Nick Balkrishen was delighted with the Samsung initiative. In his welcome address, he emphasised the importance of the College providing training that is relevant and responsive to the needs of the labour market. He added that “We are excited about the launch of this Gert Sibande Samsung Engineering Academy as it will extend the basket of programmes offered by the Gert Sibande Skills and Artisan Development Academy.
This Academy will provide training that will feed directly into the labour market”. Principal Balkrishen indicated that partnerships such as this one with Samsung, ensures that training in scarce skills such as refrigeration and air-conditioning, repairs to house-hold appliances and cell phones, benefit the community greatly.
He concluded by saying “We remain indebted to Samsung for providing this opportunity. “As a College, we are committed to utilising the Gert Sibande TVET College Samsung Engineering Academy optimally, for the benefit of the community, especially the unemployed”.
College Council representative, Mr Marthinus Loots, delivered a message of appreciation on behalf of the College Council. “Our gratitude goes to Mr Sung Yoon and his team for the establishment of the Samsung Engineering Academy and incubation hub,” said Mr Loots. He continued, stating that the Academy will bring transformation and empowerment to the youth of the Gert Sibande Region and beyond.
By Thokozani Ndhlovu
Source TVET College Times