The symbol of success is not a "suit and tie" it is the ability to contribute to the fabric of society. These were the words of Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Mr Buti Manamela at the roll out of the Decade of the Artisan advocacy campaign.
"Society can not only depend on people who want....big corner offices", he said.
The deputy minister addressed over 1200 learners from local high schools who had gathered at False Bay TVET College to learn about the technical skills training courses on offer.
He said that in the past students were told to pursue university degrees in fields like finance and accounting which had led to a shortage of skills in other high value sectors.
He explained that artisanal skills such as plumbing and electronics were necessary for building a productive economy and encouraged students to consider a career in the technical sector.
The campaign took place over two days from 03rd to 4thOctober 2019 during which time the Minister interacted with students, employers, educators and other key role players in the TVET sector.
During the campaign 120 life-orientation teachers, community development workers and student support services officers were trained to be 'Artisan Ambassadors' in order to promote artisanship as a career in their respective schools and communities.
According to statistical reports approximately 30 000 artisans would need to be produced annually by the year 2030 if the country aimed to advance on the economic development agenda.
Under the theme 'it's cool to be a 21st century artisan' students were informed about potential career options and were given the opportunity to experience training on a practical level through various workshops and demonstrations.
The learner engagements were aimed at motivating students to consider artisanship as a career of choice in the 21st Century as well as share information on critical scarce skills that would advance the economy.
Manamela who pursued academics at both a TVET college and university during his formative years encouraged students to broaden their thinking in terms of study opportunities.
"Yes universities are important but universities are not the only options that are available for us."
According to the minister students who met the requirements of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme would be fully funded in their TVET courses.
He said that he understood that learners were interested in the earning potential of the technical careers being presented but he assured them that professionals in technical fields were making a good living.
"Boilermakers, plumbers and electricians are earning alot more than we can imagine."
He also urged students to avoid the traps of drugs, alcohol, teenage pregnancy and gangsterism.
"We've lost way too many lives, we've had way too many children be victims of criminal gangs in our communities."
Speaking on the recent attacks on women and children across the country he stated that government was vehemently opposed to any form of gender-based violence and called students to take a stand against such abuse.