Touring Struisbaai PS’s skills facility
2 June 2023
In May, as part of the Western Cape Government Bicycle Handover Tour, Premier Alan Winde and Provincial Minister of Education, David Maynier, were given a tour of Struisbaai Primary School’s skills facility.
The facility – opened last May – is one of 27 public schools in the province that offer a blended curriculum which focuses on skills development. More than 10 000 learners are enrolled at these schools across the province.
“Providing technical and vocational skills learning to learners is but one way in which we are fulfilling our pledge to create job opportunities and to help prepare young people for the job market,” said the Premier.
Schools of Skills offer an adapted learning programme and alternative pathway to learners who thrive in a technical and vocational curriculum.
Learners at a School of Skills are exposed to 50% general education subjects and 50% occupational training per week. Occupational training is offered in various subject areas depending on the learner’s ability and interest.
During their visit to Struisbaai Primary’s skills facility, Premier Winde and Minister Maynier got involved by joining learners during a metalwork class. The Premier and Minister donned welding masks and got to work welding, all under the watchful eye of a teacher and a learner.
From welding, which falls into the school’s civil maintenance component, to training in the food production component, offered to teenagers keen on working in the hospitality sector, the curriculum is geared towards providing learners with the skills that they need to find employment after school in the Western Cape.
Premier Winde was very impressed at how far this institution has come, “We are looking at all aspects of the economy to ensure it caters to all youths’ skills needs to make our economy diverse and inclusive.
Minister Maynier added, “The Struisbaai Primary School facility demonstrates the value of our collaboration schools model, which allowed donors to work in partnership with us to deliver quality skills education to the learners in the Western Cape.
Premier Winded added, “This is hope in action: young people training themselves in skills which are critical to everyday life. From civil construction to professional services, we and our partners in the education field are preparing our children to help build up our province and country.”
Schools of Skills are also working to connect learners to job opportunities when they leave school.
Year 4 learners do job-shadowing and workplace exposure and many learners are then placed with these companies when they complete the programme, as the WCED encourages all Schools of Skills to have exit-plans for learners as they complete the curriculum. These schools have developed networks and partnerships with local companies in order to connect learners with post-school opportunities.
Bicycles – kindly donated by the Pedal Power Association (PPA) – were also handed over to the school, to be used as part of its sports programme.
The Premier and his Cabinet colleagues then hopped on their bicycles and made their way to Napier, home to the Agulhas School of Skills, where they were given a rousing welcome. Minister Maynier noted that the school has a 90% retention rate and that 9 out of 10 learners go on to find job opportunities.
At the school, bicycles were also handed over to the institution, as well as a local neighbourhood watch. Addressing a hall packed with pupils, Premier Winde explained that bicycles are so much more than just that: “They connect communities to opportunities and help our community crime fighters in their duties.”