Learner Summit and Career Expo hosted in Grahamstown

AUGUST 4, 2014

Over 400 learners, mostly in Grade 12, recently attended a Learner Summit and Career Expo that was organized by the Eastern Cape Provincial Skills Development Forum (PSDF), the Cacadu District Municipality and the Makana and Ndlambe local municipalities at the Joza Indoor Sports Centre in Grahamstown on the 13th of May. This is the first time the expo, which was launched in 2011, was held in the District.

The learners came from Makana and Ndlambe secondary schools, namely; Nomazamo, Velile, Nombulelo, Nyaluza, Ikamva, Mary Waters and Khutliso Daniels, which all fall under the Department of Education’s Grahamstown District. They were addressed by several speakers, including Makana Local Municipality Speaker, Racheal Madhinda-Isaac, and Ndlambe Local Municipality Ward Councillor, Nosiceto Xhosa.

There were about 21 information stalls from local FET colleges, universities and government departments.

“This expo is an attempt by the provincial skills sector to reach out to this area. The intention is to bring organisations, from all sectors, to these events so that the youth can obtain information about what careers are available; what fields of study there are; where to study and also what kind of funding is available,” explained Ingrid Daniel from the Office of the Premier and a member of the secretariat of the Eastern Cape PSDF.

Xolani Tshayana, Manufacturing, Engineering and related Services Education and Training Authority (MERSETA) Deputy Chairperson and PSDF member, added; “It is concerning to see that the number of qualified graduates who are unemployed is increasing. Young people are not exposed to information about careers when they are still in primary school.

“We are trying to close that gap and expose young people to the careers that are available. Everyone appreciates what the Office of the Premier is trying to do in terms of creating this exposure within the deep rural communities.”

Daniels said that the Cacadu District Municipality have identified the Grahamstown Education District as the focus area for this particular event.

“Cacadu has contributed the tent and catering; Makana has provided us with the venue and other logistics, while Ndlambe has transported all the school kids from Port Alfred, Bathurst, Kenton-on-Sea and Alexandria,” she said.

“That is what is amazing about this event. We do not have a budget but we ask people to intervene and help wherever they can. All the exhibitors are here at their own expense. We are pooling our resources to ensure our kids have access to information.”

Tshayana said that they were hoping to integrate the Department of Higher Education and Training in future events.

“The department is currently training Career Guidance Officers in all the FET colleges. We want to integrate those officers into these kinds of initiatives so that, while we continue with the expos, the children can also have one-on-one career counseling in classrooms at their schools,” he explained.