By Tim Houghton
MEC for education in the Western Cape Cameron Dugmore has stated that he is looking to start an initiative linking grass-roots literacy and numeracy courses with the FET colleges in an attempt to try and speed up the process of addressing the crucial skills shortage currently hampering our country's growth.
Dugmore was speaking at the twentieth anniversary of the Business Skills Development Centre (BSDC), which also celebrated that college's graduation of it's present class of learners. He stated his desire to link programmes run by such organisations as the BSDC with those initiatives run by Government such as FET Colleges, thus allowing newly qualified learners to access further education through a possible subsidy, or bursary scheme. This would allow learners another avenue to explore should they choose not to immediately enter the workplace upon completion of their learnership.
He mentioned a desire to meet with the Centre to look at ways of linking them with his Department. The MEC also expressed an interest in setting up a dilogue between the Department of Labour, his own department and the relevant Setas, in the hopes of helping centres such as the BSDC to access the funds they so desperately need to continue their great work.
Dugmore applauded the efforts of the BSDC, stating that their efforts in transforming the lives of young people and small businesses through mentorship and training of good business practice was a very real way of equipping them with the necessary tools to suceed in life.
He implored with the learners not to think that "this is the end of learning", stating that they should "take control of their own life" and take hold of the opportunities that presented themselves.
He also stated that government, in association with all of the Education departments countrywide, would be starting to roll out a campaign for mass-literacy countrywide in the next year, and pointedly hinted at needing people to administer skills in the front lines to this fresh wave of inquiring minds. The MEC also called on all caregivers and guardians to continue supporting their charges, stating that "if anyone is to suceed, they will need the continued support of their parents and mentors".
He closed off by congratulating all graduates on their achievement, and stating his hopes for the continuation of the BSDC success story.