INDUSTRY BREAKFAST, 26 APRIL, 2017
Thank you, Programme Director
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!
(The screen is for your eyes! I am only for your ears! So, I ask you to look at the screen and listen to me – a bit of multi- tasking!)
Chairperson of Council, Ms Tsokolibane, Deputy Chairperson, Mr Amos, other members of Council attendance. Guest Speaker and old friend and partner of SWGC, Dr Rob Schuur – Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Noorderpoort College, Groningen, Netherlands. His wife,Ms Sjoukje Schuur; Marketing Executive of Noorderpoort, Mr Harry Bouma and his wife, Ms Grietta Bouma
Officials of the Department of Higher Education and Training, our Principals–
Friends and partners from industry (Thanks for being here! This whole show has been put up for you!): We have put the red carpet for each one of you, as you have seen in screen! So, I will mention any person by name, lest I leave others! We value and appreciate your attendance at this occasion!
Deputy Principals of the college; Members of the college’s Broad Management Team; Members of the college SRC in attendance;
Colleagues – members of staff present.
Our ever-green and ‘melodious” band from Dobsonvile Campus which will thrill all of us this morning! Our Hospitality Department from Roodepoort Campus!
Everything about this occasion is local, ladies and gentlemen – from food to music and everything in between! All in the spirit of ‘Proudly SWGC!’
This occasion, Program Director, is very close to our hearts! It is an occasion that is intended to complete who we are as a college whose core business is the provision vocational education and training. The occasion has a number of purposes, albeit, all of them are interlinked: One, it is an occasion to acknowledge and say ‘thank you’ to the many companies and organizations that have been on this road with us and the people representing those companies and organizations, ie companies and organization that have partnered with the college in different ways that benefitted our students over the past few years. Some have supported some initiatives of the college, whilst many have opened their doors for our students to do experiential learning for a week, two weeks, up to 18 months. Others have, after getting to know the calibre of students or graduates produced by the college, have made the college their ‘go to college’ whenever they need new employees.
Needless to say, the other purpose of this occasion, ladies and gentlemen, is to ‘serenade’ and ‘court’ more companies and organizations to a partnership or working relationship with the college. To briefly show case what the college is doing, what it is capable of, with the intention of inviting, attracting and even persuading other companies and organizations to also tap into what the college has to offer on the form of opening their doors for our students, either as interns, or as employees.
Equally important, if not even more important is the third purpose of this occasion, which is to say to industry, companies, organizations, employers, big and not-so-big: ‘ as a college, we recognize the importance of industry, the importance of employers, in our business and therefore know that we, in fact need industry to influence our decisions on which programmes to offer and on what is to be built into those programmes, so that they meet industry needs, and when all of that is done and we have educated and trained our students, we also need industry to receive our graduates as people who can contribute to their bottom line’.
At the moment colleges do not design or develop the curriculum they teach, but the Department does involve some of our staff members in those processes and there is an acceptance by the Department that industry is a key stakeholder in these processes.
In instances where industry informs us, as a college, of gaps in our programmes, we do go out and investigate those gaps with a view to capacitating our staff members so that they can cover those areas with the students, even if these are not catered for in the syllabus and thereafter, advocate for those gaps to be closed when the programmes are reviewed.
So, industry, employers are key and important throughout the value chain – and not just at the end, when they must receive our graduates as employees!
And, by the way, I cannot fully explain to you the difference, call it, the ‘magic’ that happens happens to our students when they have spent some time in a workplace! It is just unbelievable! They come back being more motivated, energized and ambitious!
In the package that you found on your chair or table, together with the programme, is a document which indicates all the programmes on offer at the college and the list of some of the companies that have had some involvement with the college, which involvement benefitted the students! You can scribble your company’s name on that list and then talk to us!
The programmes offered at the college cover many areas of the economy, from Business Studies related programmes such as HR, Marketing, Finance, to Engineering Studies, its related areas of Civil, Electrical and Mechanical, right up to what we call, Utility Studies, which include, Tourism, IT, Hospitality, Music, Safety in Society, in which we train Police officers. The programmes are too numerous for me to try to name them, but you do have them in your package.
We are quite a size able institution, even by international standards. Last year, 2016, we exceeded 30 00 enrolments, which in terms of National Certificate Vocational (NC(V) and Report 191, or NATED, made us the biggest public TVET college in the country!
Our performance in terms of students’ results was on the up (or rise) for three consecutive years, only to take a bit of a slump in 2016, when we tipped slightly downwards. But even then, the quality of our students’ passes improved significantly, with the number of distinctions produced in the same, 2016 going up to 4662, effectively doubling those of 2015, which were 2885.
So, we are the first ones to admit that we still have a long way to go, that we are not yet where we ourselves, want to be,but, hey, we are worth partnering with! We are worth rubbing shoulders with, for any proud company or organization. And, you can partner with us in many ways! And, if you do open your company’s doors for our students to spend time in your company, you do not have to worry about liability insurance, we cover that. You do not even need to pay them! If you can help with transport costs, it will be greatly appreciated, but is not a must!
At the moment, we even have one vacancy in our Council, the vacancy of a donor representative. So, any company that can make a size able donation to the college (we are not even prescribing the amount, or kind of donation!) can get to second one of their senior managers to serve in the Council of the College.
This should not scare you! As I said, this is just one way to partner with the college! There are other ways!
Ladies and gentlemen, mine was to welcome you and very briefly introduce the college to you. The name of the college is South West Gauteng TVET College or SWGC!
Our students are never satisfied with just saying: SWGC! They take it further and say: ‘ SWGC, Period! Enough Said!’
In our midst, ladies, ladies and gentlemen, I said earlier, is our Guest Speaker, Dr Rob Schuur, his wife, Sjoukje and colleague, Mr Harry Bouma and his wife, Grietta from Noorderpoort College in the Netherlands.
Though hailing all the way from the Netherlands, Dr Schuur and his college, Noorderpoort, do not need any introduction at South West Gauteng TVET College!
The signature of Dr Schuur and Noorderpoort College is found at all of our six campuses, including at the college’s ‘Land is Wealth’ Farm, in Sterkfontein, where we offer Primary Agriculture. Suffice to say, Noorderpoort has materially contributed to the development of SWGC since 2004. The total value of their support to our college runs into millions! It was Noorderpoort that supported our college with the very first internet-linked Resource Centres in the Soweto campuses, which saw our students using internet and sending emails for the very first time in 2004! It did not end there! For the past 8 years, Noorderpoort college has been supporting our Top Ten Students to visit their college in the Netherlands for two weeks – at absolutely no cost to the Top Ten students and their parents! Indeed, I can go on and on!
Dr Schuur will be introduced later to you, as Guest Speaker, but he will be sharing with us, how Noorderpoort College works with industry in a mutually beneficial way in the Netherlands!
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen and thank you for gracing this occasion.