Minister Grant Awards Masakh’iSizwe Bursaries to 86 Recipients
Statement by Minister Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
Today (28 March 2015), Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works and Ms Jacqui Gooch, Head of Department of Transport and Public Works awarded Masakh’iSizwe bursaries to 86 recipients studying at tertiary institutions.
The Masakh’iSizwe (Let’s Build the Nation) Centre of Excellence and Bursary Scheme was established by the Department of Transport and Public Works in 2006, and forms part of the Western Cape Government’s commitment to skills development as an essential driver of economic growth in this province. The programme has since grown from strength to strength, and continued to afford tertiary students the opportunity to pursue degrees or higher diplomas in the scarce skills disciplines of:
- Construction Management.
- Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering.
- Quantity Surveying.
- Town and Regional Planning.
“As we congratulate today’s 86 bursary recipients, let us not lose sight of the importance of programmes like this in addressing South Africa’s skills shortages, which are now at an unacceptably high level. This skills shortage will continue to have an adverse effect on our ability to deliver on key infrastructure critical for development, if not countered.
"The Western Cape Government, through its Provincial Strategic Goals (PSGs), remains committed to skills development as an essential driver of economic growth in this province. My department has made provision for a range of services and opportunities which impact on the overall goal of improving education outcomes and opportunities for youth development in particular. These include the Masakh’iSizwe bursary programme, which you are all now a part of with the other 246 bursary holders we currently have, an additional professional development and mentoring programme, and skills development as part of the National Youth Service. The budget allocated to these three programmes together is close to R30 million. Through these programmes, we will continue to identify and promote the young talent that is essential if we are to build the nation,” said Minister Grant.
The Masakh’iSizwe bursary programme’s main objectives are to:
- Establish partnerships with private sector, NGOs and other spheres of government through the Bursary Collaboration Venture.
- Create a conducive environment for the sharing and transferring of experience, expertise, competencies and/or skills through the mentoring programme.
- Reduce the unemployment rate of the youth by providing employment opportunities to graduates.
- Address skills shortage by creating a permanent pool of young talented registered professionals.
- Reduce the vacancy rate by creating a feeding pipeline for filling vacant posts by employing graduates.
“We have a serious shortage in skills in the built environment across the country as well as in this province, with the trained professionals fast approaching retirement age. It is critical that we not only attract young talent into the built environment, but that we also continue to invest in the development of these essential skills. We remain committed to nurturing young talent and ensuring that opportunities are available to those looking to further their careers in the built environment.
"The Masakh’iSizwe programme now has close to 400 graduates that are now professionals in their fields. We look forward to the contribution that our current and future graduates will make to the built environment, and ultimately to the economy of the Western Cape and South Africa as a whole,” said Head of the Department of Transport and Public Works, Ms Jacqui Gooch.
“The support from our partners has been key to the success of the bursary scheme. They not only offer capital contributions to the bursary, but they also provide internships for our bursary holders to continue their training. Some of our graduates have received placement within my department, and others with many of our partners.
"Masakh’iSizwe is much more than a bursary scheme, it is a joint venture between the Department, private sector partners, and three universities (University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University and Cape Peninsula University of Technology). We will, through partnership, ensure that our bursary holders are prepared in every way for the leadership, skill and responsibilities that lie ahead of them,” added Minister Grant.