Durban - A R20 million Further Education and Training (FET) College in Clermont is expected to increase access to education, bring more opportunities to the people living in the area and fight critical skills shortages in the province.
"The Clermont FET College is aimed at bringing education closer to needy societies. It will create opportunities to all the out of school youth including adults," said MEC for Education in the province Ina Cronje.
She said the Clermont community would no longer have to worry about travelling to larger cities to receive a tertiary education and skills development training. "They can now get the training in their own community and learn new skills."
The MEC, speaking at the official opening of the college which falls under the Elangeni College Umbrella, said the department was committed to establishing more education institutions in impoverished areas.
"The doors of learning and culture should be open to all. That is why we are building the FET's in the communities that were previously neglected," said Ms Cronje.
Colleges have the potential to service a much wider community of students and to offer a bigger range, type and level of programme to alleviate unemployment and poverty.
The FET college will offer courses such as electrical engineering, catering, hairdressing and beauty therapy, computer skills as well as conduct Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) after hours and on weekends.
A range of bursaries will be offered to increase access to education and skills development to redress the imbalances of the past.
Member of Parliament Cyril Xaba said the institution would change the lives of the local community who would now have the tools to fight poverty.
"The idea of a college started in 1991 when members of the community came together because they wanted to improve their lives and for the number of youth whose parents can't afford to send them to tertiary," said Mr Xaba.
This is the third FET college the department has opened since 2007, the others were in Inanda and Ndwedwe.