Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Huge need for industry partnerships

The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and Southern African Society for Co-operative Education (SASCE) hosted the Unitech Convention on Co-operative Education at Granger Bay.

It aimed to stimulate debate and explore partnerships with industry and the public sector to promote skills development and economic growth.

Mr Norman Jacobs, Dean of the Business Faculty expressed the need for universities of technology to be more responsible in addressing development needs in the modern economy and engage with potential partners regionally and nationally.

A survey conducted by Unitech (a body for Marketing and Communication practitioners) showed there is a decline in apprenticeship. The survey conveyed that 7% of graduates enter higher education institutions, 12% enter other forms of education institutions, 30% get jobs and 51% are unemployed. “The 51% leads to crime, drug abuse and so forth,” said key-note speaker, Mr Caleb Maqubela, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Unitech.

Mr Maqubela referred to the education and training deficit inherited from apartheid in 1994 and the malady of graduate unemployment. He also said there is a 30% unemployment rate. “To improve graduate employment is the nation’s imperative obligation, “said Mr Maqubela.

Another speaker, Dr Khehla Ndlovu from the Department of Education, said his department believes co-operative education has advantages for business sectors, industry, students and it contributes to attaining the human resources development strategy and economic growth objectives.

Mr Sedick Jappie from the Local Government Sector Education Training Association (LGSETA) expressed his concern about skills shortage in engineering and technician and artisan disciplines. Another issue raised by LGSETA was the lack of students placed in local communities.

Mr Jappie said students from rural communities should be encouraged to take their skills back to the community.

Written by CPUT News