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Motheo TVET To Champion Climate Smart Agric

  • R27m project to strengthen skills development

Motheo Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in the Free State is part of a multi-million project sponsored by the Netherlands Universities for International Co-operation to optimise water usage and climate smart agriculture in the country.

The R27million project involves five other TVET colleges in the country, including Vhembe in Limpopo, Nkangala in Mpumalanga, Northern Cape in Upington, and the Boland College the Western Cape.

Also part of the programme is the Agri-Colleges International (ACI), the Academy of Environmental Leadership, the Department of Higher Education and Training, and the Department of Water and Sanitation

The initiative which is aimed at strengthening skills development and job creation in critically important fields such as agriculture and water governance has been described as a major boost for SA.

The project will be managed for three years by the Stellenbosch University (SU) and Maastricht School of Management (MSM).

Motheo TVET College principal Prof Dipiloane Phutsisi hailed the colleges for playing a key role in solving South Africa’s unemployment challenge.

“Our mandate is to deliver a skilled and capable workforce, but we grapple with various challenges. Today is a step in the right direction,” noted Phutsisi.

She added the TVET colleges need strong partnerships to change the unemployment status of the country and to ensure the employability of the graduates it produces.

Her words were also echoed by Stellenbosch University Professor Leopold van Huysteen, who emphasised the global importance of sustainable environmental management:

“If we don’t resolve our water governance issues, then we’re in serious trouble,” he said.

Huysteen thanked TVET Colleges who are part of the project for coming on board, saying in a partnership one learns from their partner as well as from the beneficiaries.

“TVET Colleges know what they are doing and they know their market. We urgently need skills in the control and management of water, soil and agriculture in a water scarce country such as ours,” he added.

Maastricht School of Management (MSM) project manager Hans Nijhoff said their role is to link the TVET Colleges to sectoral growth by optimising water usage and climate smart agricultural practices.

“This will be done in collaboration with Stellenbosch University as a key knowledge partner. Together we hope to create jobs and ensure sustainable growth,” he pointed out.

The project was launched in Stellenbosch where heads of all TVET colleges that are part of the programme were present.

By: Ramosidi Matekane