Port Elizabeth - Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana on Thursday officially opened the Artisan Training and Test Prosperite Centre in Humansdorp which aims to increase the number of skilled artisans in the Eastern Cape.
The centre can accommodate up to 7000 learners who will be trained in boiler-making, diesel mechanics and welding among others.
Speaking at the opening on Thursday, the minister said there was a need to invest heavily in training to secure a steady supply of skilled people.
The centre is expected to not only to provide relief to the province by increasing artisan skills, but also to enhance the government's drive to propel vocational training as the flagship of its Accelerated and Shared Growth-South Africa (ASGISA) programme.
ASGISA aims to halve poverty and unemployment by 2014 as well as address scarce and critical skills needed to meet these objectives.
Minister Mdladlana said while artisan development has been made a priority since the passage of the Skills Development Act 1998, government needed the support of both the public and private sector.
"The Department of Labour, working with our social partners, was visionary when we first coined the need for a skills revolution in our country as early as 1998 if we are to achieve for economic growth, social development and redress," the minister said.
With regard to the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA), Minister Mdladlana said his department had responded positively to government's call to deliver 50 000 artisans by 2010.