Partnership to upskill TVET college lecturers

EastCape Midlands College principal Charl van Heerden, left, Handwerkskammer Erfurt managing director Thomas Malcherek and German Embassy head of cooperation Volker Oel inspect one of the three Bosch Motor Systems Analysers donated to the college’s Centre of Specialisation
Picture: Tremaine Van Aart

Delegates to receive training in Germany

A multimillion-rand partnership between South Africa and Germany is hoping to make TVET college graduates more employable through training and tweaking the curriculum to meet the needs of the corporate sector.

The partnership between the Handwerkskammer Erfurt (German Chamber of Crafts and Trade) and TVET colleges in the Eastern Cape was established in 2016.

It seeks to utilise the knowledge and expertise of worldrenowned German engineering to upgrade the perceived low status of TVET colleges through upskilling lecturers and updating the curriculum.

Yesterday saw representatives from eight Eastern Cape TVET colleges and the Port Rex Technical High School, all of whom have at least one representative chosen to be sent for specialised automotive training at the Handwerkskammer in Erfurt, Germany, during July.

The selected lecturers will be trained in modern and advanced methods of automotive electronics, service and maintenance, fault finding and electronic systems.

The German chamber will pay a R975 000 bill per lecturer for the four-week training.

Additionally the event marked the launch of the EastCape Midlands College Centre of Specialisation for welding and the handover of three state-of-the-art Bosch Motor Systems Analysers – a diagnostics testing machine – sponsored by Handwerkskammer and worth about R250 000 each.

German Embassy head of cooperation Volker Oel said: “Today’s event is to experience the practical fruits of our partnership aimed at artisan development and delivery of artisan training with the view of improving employability of graduates.

“Germany is assisting South Africa in its efforts to reform, redevelop and restructure the TVET system to encourage school leavers that TVET studies is not second-choice education.

“Building on our expertise in the German vocational sector, we are working on issues of the curriculum and lecturer development in South Africa.”

Department of High Education and Training chief director for innovation Gerda Magnus said the tertiary sector was missing intermediate and artisan skills needed to produce a productive labour force required by industry.

“The department is looking to reform the TVET sector to meet the needs of industry.

“To achieve this we entered into a partnership with Germany in 2016 to make this a seamless transition,” Magnus said.

“We are trying to equip our colleges with modern equipment which meets what industry needs.

“There is criticism that our curriculum is outdated, so this is our attempt at jacking up the curriculum.”

Handwerkskammer Erfurt managing director Thomas Malcherek said: “Solid vocational and occupational education is key to a solid economy. And through this partnership, it is evident that your country has taken steps to create security and a more employable graduate.

“The training being provided will bridge the gap.”

EastCape Midlands College principal Charl van Heerden said: “We have industry leaders on board to ensure we do actually bridge the gap between the workplace and tertiary education.

“In our sector many students first try to apply at varsity, and if they are rejected they want to come to us, and in many instances we get the rollover of the students.

“We are also spreading the message of TVET colleges providing a quality product.”

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