Royal Bafokeng Administration (RBA), in partnership with ISETT-SETA and Torque IT, is investing in uplifting 105 youths from its community through ICT training and development. 105 (65 females, 39 males and two disabled) learners will receive training in Technical Support and Systems Development, NQF Level 4. This project was officially launched on 11 March 2008 in Phokeng under the theme 'Advancing knowledge, transforming lives'.
At the launch of the programme, Mbuyazwe Mpembe, manager: Employment Services, Department of Labour, highlighted the fact that while South Africa is destined to be the ICT hub to the rest of the continent, it faces a brain drain. "For this reason, ICT skills development is crucial," he said.
Facilitating training, work experience and job placements, Tebogo Makgatho, business development director at Torque IT, said the initiative is fundamental to growing the skills base within communities and the local economy. "Our expectation from learners is to demonstrate a thirst for knowledge and positive attitude by being extra ordinary in everything they do. Something clearly evident in each of the 105 learners present. The country needs the skills being imparted through the RBA/ISETT SETA learnership programme."
The Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) has a number of entities established to facilitate socio-economic development of Bafokeng. These entities focus on socio-economic and service delivery (RBA), investment (RBH), education (RBI), sports (RBS). Its vision is to raise standards of living for the Royal Bafokeng Nation and create a self-sufficient community by 2020. Aubrey Diswai, acting CEO of the RBA, said ICT is an indispensable part of everyone's life; it is a means of communication, a learning tool and business tool that reduces physical boundaries and makes people part of global world. "We do, however, face socio-economic challenges such as unemployment and lack of skills among youth, particularly within the ICT hence, they are identified as scarce and critical," he said.
The RBN and RBA acknowledge the importance of ICT in achieving its 2020 community vision and 2035 Infrastructure Development Master Plan. This is evident in the R21 million allocated for ICT infrastructure and projects in 2007. "Government remains committed to skills development and transformation, RBA has shown its contribution to the course by partnering ISETT SETA and other partners within the industry," said Diswai.
Jabu Sibeko, senior manager at ISETT SETA concurs: "This is a critical project in the North West Province. Learnerships are critical in South Africa and it is only through our partnerships that we can close the gap by offering training and work place experience to learners, a critical component in learnerships and a requirement by employers."
It is hoped that a portion of the 105 learners will be absorbed into any number of RBA projects, such as the three-year wireless broadband, multipurpose community centres currently underway. Tarsus, member of MB Technologies, a Holdings Company that RBN has invested in will provide learners with the practical skills required to grow and ultimately find secure jobs in the industry.
Learners applauded the opportunity awarded by RBA, ISETT SETA and Torque IT. Said Itumeleng Molose: "We are here for education and upliftment and see the advancement of knowledge as a stepping stone to success and a brighter future."