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R36 million skills centre launched at Struisbaai Primary School

Premier Alan Winde, Cape Agulhas Mayor Paul Swart and Provincial Minister of Education Debbie Schäfer with learners at the school. Picture: Alan Winde Facebook

Premier Alan Winde, Cape Agulhas Mayor Paul Swart and Provincial Minister of Education Debbie Schäfer with learners at the school. Picture: Alan Winde Facebook

Published May 13, 2022

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Durban - Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, and Provincial Minister of Education, Debbie Schäfer, have launched the Struisbaai Primary Skills Facility building.

The project is linked to the Western Cape Government’s priority of providing technical and vocational skills learning opportunities to learners.

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The facility is an extension of Struisbaai Primary School and will cater for two new skills subjects which include civil maintenance and food production.

The civil maintenance component will include welding, metalwork, woodwork, plumbing, electrical work, motor mechanics, glass work, and building, whereas food production will focus on hospitality. This has been made possible through a collaboration with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), totalling R36 million.

“The opening of this facility is aligned with our province’s commitment to skills education. This is critical in ensuring that all of our learners have an opportunity to develop the skills they need to participate meaningfully in our economy,” Winde said at the launch.

The launch was further attended by Cape Agulhas Mayor Paul Swart, the WCED’s Superintendent-General, Brent Walters, chief director of Districts, Alan Meyer, acting director of the Overberg Education District, Lance Abrahams, and Andre Lamprecht, who heads up the WCED’s Collaboration Schools unit. During the launch, the ribbon was cut by Struisbaai’s well-known retired teacher, Katy Hammer.

This model is aimed at developing not only practical skills but also soft skills like value-based leadership, for a successful life. This is a pilot project, that can be rolled out in many communities in the Western Cape to equip learners with employable and economically viable skills.

Before the establishment of the new facility, 27 learners started the skills schooling at Onse Hoop community centre in January 2022 and have since moved to the new facility at the beginning of the second term.

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Elaborating on the partnership which made this school a reality, Minister Schäfer said the people of Struisbaai knew what local businesses and learners needed, and they came to the table because schooling is not just a matter of wellbeing.

“It is integral to economic growth and job creation. Schools are the driving engine of our economy, and partnerships like this are the fuel for our learners’ futures,” she added.

It was found that 80% of learners who started Grade 1 in Struisbaai Primary between 2002 and 2006, left school without having enrolled for matric. Many learners who suffer academically have a great aptitude for practical skills. With the development of appropriate skills, this project opens the door for employment and entrepreneurial businesses for these learners.

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Premier Alan Winde, Cape Agulhas Mayor Paul Swart and Provincial Minister of Education Debbie Schäfer with learners at the school. Picture: Alan Winde Facebook

Of the R36 million used towards construction, the WCED contributed R14.4 million or 40% of the total budget and the Struisbaai SOS Trust committed to raising the other 60% and received R14.3 million in donations from private and corporate donors, educational trusts and individuals.

“This unique school building, designed by architect Theus Coetzee, aims to match the specific needs of the learners and provided a fully equipped building in under a year. It also has the advantage of being easily adaptable for growth, adding new subjects and perhaps expanding into a full-service school in future,” Winde said.

He said this project is a perfect example of what can be achieved through public-private participation.

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“I want to commend the trustees of the Struisbaai SOS Trust and well as the numerous stakeholders who made this project a reality. You can be very proud of what you have achieved today,” he said.

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