Learners encouraged to study maths, science

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.

Pretoria - Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has encouraged pupils in George in the Western Cape to study maths and science in order to close South Africa’s skills gap.

“We are here to urge you to get the results you need to enter the careers our economy needs,” she said.

Speaking at a 2030 National Development Plan (NDP) Career Expo on Monday, Minister Brown said there are critical imbalances in the South African economy, which she described as “still skewed”.

“The unemployment rate is increasing but we suffer from skills shortages. There are precious few jobs available but lots of vacancies for those with a grounding in maths and science,” she told learners.

She said government is committed to improving lives through education.

“In his recent State of the Nation Address, the President set out a forthright government agenda of radical economic transformation that emphasised the importance of growing a dynamic and competitive economy. It begins with closing the skills gap,” she said.

On a previous visit to George, the Minister had promised to return to host a career expo with representatives of some of the State-owned companies that fall within the Department of Public Enterprises portfolio.

State-owned companies are in need of engineers, geologists, foresters and pilots, among others.

“They need systems designers and analysts, software writers, project managers… They need the chief executives and chief financial officers of tomorrow. Some of these people should come from George,” the Minister told learners.

State entities Eskom and Transnet alone control assets worth more than R800 billion.

SOEs in the Department of Public Enterprises portfolio have refocused their corporate social investment programmes to help shape the competitive business environment.

“The main focus of their support is on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects to create a pool of new job-seekers with the skills to plug the skills shortage,” Minister Brown said.

Between April and September 2016, these SOEs collectively spent over R81 million on corporate social investment projects benefiting nearly 600 000 people.

Bursaries

Eskom will award 10 bursaries to George learners to study engineering and medicine next year. These bursaries will be exclusively distributed among the four schools present at the expo.

Eskom will also instal intercom systems at the four schools to create safer and more effective learning environments.

Denel will host a winter school camp for matriculants at the four schools. The camp will provide learners with the opportunity to work with specialist experiential educators and build inter-generational relationships. 

Meanwhile, Transnet has agreed to improve conditions at George High’s hostels in the coming financial year. Transnet will also donate four libraries, while the department has donated sanitary towels and school uniforms. - SAnews.gov.za

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