The campus of Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute was abuzz this week as, amidst strict Covid-19 protocols, excited first-year students arrived on campus for the first time.
In his welcome message to students, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, reminded students that Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute was the oldest agricultural training centre on the African continent.
Meyer: "Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute was established in 1898 and was the first centre for agricultural training in Africa. The Institute has an outstanding reputation for equipping our youth with the requisite knowledge and skills to contribute to the future of the agricultural economy.”
Meyer continues: “One of my key priorities is structured education. The future of a sustainable agricultural sector is dependent on new information, technology advancement, a generation of agri-workers and youth with appropriate skills and qualifications to engage within an inclusive agricultural economy.”
According to the Head of the Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute, Ms Hayley Rodkin, it is expected that approximately 253 first-year students will arrive on campus over the next few days.
Rodkin: “Over the past two days, we have allowed students to settle in and introduced them to their new environment. Expected students per training programme are B.Agric - 88; Diploma - 114 and Learnership Certificates - 51.”
Three such students are Logan Jacobs, Corné Johnstone and MacNeil Buda.
Logan hails from the farm Zorgvliet outside Stellenbosch.
Logan: “I will be completing a learnership in plant science. I am the proud daughter of an Agri worker. I cannot wait to begin my journey toward a career in agriculture.”
Corné Johnstone, studying towards a B.Agric Degree, comes from Langkloof near Uniondale.
Johnstone: “I am very excited to be here and cannot wait to discover what Elsenburg has to offer.”
Ceres-born MacNeil Buda, who completed a learnership in 2020, will be starting his national diploma this year.
Buda: “I am so excited that based on my academic performance in 2020, I can now progress towards completing my national diploma."
“I wish our students well and encourage them to protect themselves by continuing to wear their masks, sanitise regularly, and maintain a safe social distance,” concludes Meyer.