Taking a step in the right e-direction
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Taking a step in the right e-direction

E-skills 2019 graduates

Selina Rapulane

On 6 June, the Northern Cape & Southern Gauteng E-Skills CoLab hosted at The Vaal University of Technology Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park (VUTSGSTP), in partnership with National Electronics Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA) and Human Capital Learning Solutions (HCLS), held a certificate ceremony in Alberton, near Johannesburg.

168 students graduated on the day, gaining certificates in Digital Literacy, Web Development and Technical Support.

The programme director for this auspicious event was Ms Kediemetse Mokotsi: Director Marketing and Public Relations at VUT.

Ms Antoinette Lombard: Director of the E-Skills programme at VUT welcomed all the stakeholders, parents and students to the graduation ceremony. She said: “At VUT we strive for excellence and when excellence is achieved, we reward it. We do this in keeping up with our mission to become a university that leads in innovative knowledge and quality technology education. And today that is why we are here. We are rewarding these graduates for their achievement of excellence in basic digital literacy, web development and technical support.”

As could be expected, students and parents were excited and proud of their journey because they are now part of the solution to the skills gap that needs to be closed across South Africa, on various levels and within various sectors and industries.

Each student who applied for this programme had a different background and dreams, and this day was a sign that all is possible through hard work and dedication.

Among the students, Ntswaki Modise, from Thokoza, heard about this programme from a friend. “I am very excited and proud to be wearing a gown. My child will witness this moment and it will motivate me to keep working hard, so that he too can learn from me,” she said. Ntswaki acquired skills in web development and is happy that she now has a marketable skill.

Behind every good performing student, there’s a parent who always stresses the importance of education. One such parent is Ms Ronica Nkambule. Her son, Sifiso Nkambule, 23, is a first-time graduate. “I am happy for my son. He would wake up and tell me that he is attending a programme and I would just look at him. When he told me that he was graduating, I could not believe it. I wish for him to continue studying,” she said.

This programme brought hope and security to the life of Ms Kabelo Mashalane and her nephew, Karabo Mofokeng. Ms Mashalane and her mother raised Karabo after his mother passed away when he was three years old. It was a difficult time but Karabo proved to have listened to his aunt and grandmother about staying committed to his academics. “He has made us very proud that he chose an academic journey. This is the beginning of more good things to come,” she said.

Keynote speaker, Dr Joseph Molete: Executive Director at VUTSGSTP spoke on behalf of Professor Gordon Zide: Vice-Chancellor and Principal at VUT.

“Graduating is hard, studying is difficult. It is not easy, so please give yourself a round of applause. But most importantly, I want to thank and congratulate the founders of this programme, which includes VUT, NEMISA, HCLS, and all the other people who contributed in planting this vision. They thought because we have challenges in South Africa, the best way for them to spend their time and make a contribution is to bring young people together, so that they can learn and achieve a qualification. A round of applause to them,” he said.

Mr Wikus van der Merwe and Mr Harry Mathabathe, who are directors and founders of HCLS, were happy to see that their hard work and dedication is changing lives. They also took turns to share words of wisdom and motivation, to instil the students with pride and worthiness of this big day and opportunities to come.

E-Literacy is a course presented under the VUT E-Skills CoLab which is a programme developed to train community members by giving them basic skills. The training course lasts for three to four weeks depending on the level at which the students start. The E-literacy course is accredited by VUT as a short-learning programme and aims to upskill and develop less privileged communities.

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