The Mashishing Campus of the Ehlanzeni Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College that opened this year has already transformed the skills and career prospects of young people across the district. The Campus was officially launched at a function on Friday 4 October, cementing the college’s status as a beacon of hope in the town. 

The Mashishing Campus offers courses in Engineering, Business studies and Office Administration. It was established when Glencore’s Lydenburg Smelter – the largest employer in the town – approached the Mpumalanga Department of Public Works about converting some of their facilities into a TVET college and engaging the Management of Ehlanzeni College to expand the College’s footprint to Mashishing. 

The proposal was well received by the Department and Ehlanzeni College and Lydenburg Smelter formed a partnership to develop the project. The Mashishing Campus opened earlier this year at an approximate cost of R7 million. 

TVET colleges play a pivotal role in addressing South Africa’s skills shortages, directly equipping young people with relevant skills for the workplace, self-employment and entrepreneurship. 

The TVET colleges provide an invaluable service, in line with Outcome Five of government’s National Development Plan (NDP), which is focused on having a skilled, capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.

“The White Paper for Post-School Education and Training recognises the importance of partnerships between educational institutions and employers, and the extent to which a college is able to build such partnerships is an important criterion in assessing its overall performance” said Maryna Marais, Principal, Ehlanzeni College.

The Ehlanzeni TVET College aims to provide programme-based vocational and occupational education and training to respond to the human resource, economic and development needs of South Africa, with a vision of providing excellence in education and training.

According to Stats SA, the demographic with the highest unemployment rate in the country is youth between 15 – 24 years, where 55% are unemployed1

“We believe Lydenburg Smelter has a responsibility to develop skills in our local community,” said Poloko Baraganye, Glencore Human Resource Department Senior Business Partner. “We saw an urgent need for a TVET college in Mashishing.” 

The new college offers easy, affordable access to tertiary education for parents who can’t afford to send their children to study outside Mashishing. The college also provides skills required by local industries, and thus ensures graduates have relevant qualifications and stand a good chance of finding jobs or opportunities to start small businesses. 

“Glencore supports the NDP objectives of providing opportunities and skills that will uplift communities and help them sustain themselves in the long-term,” said Baraganye. “Through the Ehlanzeni TVET College, we have been able to help create infrastructure that can positively impact our host community.”

Lydenburg Smelter handed the TVET college over to the Ehlanzeni Management on 7 January 2019. Courses offered at the campus have also included N1 Boilermaking, N1 Electrical and N1 Fitting. From a humble beginning of just more than 150 “Report 191” students at the beginning of 2019, the College will be enrolling 699 students in 2020. Two National Certificate Vocational (NCV) programmes – Engineering and Related Design and Office Administration – will be introduced. 

NC(V) programmes are three-year programmes comprising of a theory and a practical component, with grade 9 as entry requirement. The Programme Qualification Mix for the Campus will therefore include the two NC(V) programmes, Engineering Studies (Report 191) and Business Studies (Report 191). Under certain conditions, TVET students can qualify for admission to a university of technology or university, where they can continue their studies at a higher level. 

Students whose combined family income (both their mother and father) is less than R350 000 per year and who are South African citizens qualify for a National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) bursary to study at TVET colleges.

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