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Tjheseho Community Learning Center As An Agricultural Skills Hub (Reitz Project)

(1.) In June 2018, the Free State Community Education and Training (CET) College developed a project proposal for the expansion of Tjheseho Community Learning Centre as an Agricultural Skills Hub in Reitz, Nketoana Local Municipality in the Free State.

(2.) The proposal was developed in consultation with the Nketoana Local Municipality, local business, Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges, local structures, and other stakeholders in the Free State.

(3.) The purpose of the project is to address the socio-economic challenges faced by the community of the Nketoana Local Municipality using the Free State CET College as a vehicle to work in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. The project aims are to develop relevant skills that will lead to the creation of employment opportunities, entrepreneurial skills, articulation to higher institutions of learning, re-skilling, community participation and broader socio-economic development.

(4.) A partnership was established between the College, Vrystaat Kooperasie Beperk Pty (Ltd) VKB and the Nketoana Local Municipality. VKB is the largest agricultural company in the eastern Free State. Commitments were made by the municipality to provide land, VKB to ensure placement, employment of students and the provision of some lecturers for the skills hub. A condition for the support would be that the Department constructs an agricultural skills hub in Reitz. In August 2018, the Nketoana Local Municipality granted the College twenty-eight (28) hectares of land for the construction of the skills Hub.

(5.) The project proposal was presented to the former Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Naledi Pandor on 17 September 2018. The proposal was also presented to the Chief Executive Officers of SETA for support on 26 September 2018. Subsequent to the presentation to the CEOs, the following nine SETAs made commitments to support the project by funding training and infrastructure development:

  • Local Government SETA – funding of 300 students for automotive repair and maintenance, automotive body repair, automotive spray painting and welding application and practice.
  • Health and Welfare SETA – funding of the learnership for occupational certificate in health promotions (10 students), bridging diploma: general nursing (10 students), bursary for sign language (5 students), heavy duty drivers’ licence (30 students), machinery and farming equipment license (20 students) and first aid training (50 Centre Managers)
  • Fibre Processing and Manufacturing SETA – funding for upholstery (15 students) and garment making (15)
  • Education, Training, Development and Practices SETA – bursaries for training in mathematics (10 lecturers), assessor training (30 lectures) and learnership in Early Childhood Development (25 lectures)
  • Media, Information and Communication technologies SETA – funding for information Technology programming (50 students)
  • Agricultural SETA – National Certificate mixed farming (10 students), National Certificate animal production (10 students) and National Certificate Plant production (10 students)
  • Services SETA – funding for career exhibition and technical support for accreditation in new venture creation, cosmetology, hair dressing and beauty.
  • Food and Beverage Manufacturing SETA – funding for 30 students; and
  • Construction SETA – funding for building construction, programmes in civil and electrical and plumbing (300 students).

(6.) Former Minister, Dr Pandor launched the expansion of the Tjheseho Community Learning Centre as an Agricultural Skills Hub on 20 October 2018 in Reitz.

(7.) On 31 January 2019, a career exhibition was held for the community of Reitz and surrounding areas where about 3000 students attended the exhibition.

(8.) This project forms part of the approved CET Sector Plan for Implementation of the White Paper for Post –School Education and Training.

(9.) The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande supported the project in 2020.

(10.) n 2021, the tenth SETA (W&RSETA) made a commitment to fund infrastructure.

(11.) Training in different skills programmes has taken place since 2018 through various forms of support from SETA’s.