Premier Helen Zille said the Eden District Skills Development summit is a strategic encounter at which all of us are charged with the responsibility of driving the reconstruction, growth and development of Eden. She said most importantly the summit brings together major institutions, training service providers, business chambers, local tourism industries and more. Premier Zille was the keynote speaker at the Skills development summit last week in the George Civic Centre. Zille referred to the Knysna Fire tragedy that quickly turned into a situation where the Southern Cape needed specific skills to rebuild Knysna. She referred to the importance of skills development in energy economy, tourism, agri-processing and renewable energy. Zille said the Western Cape Government’s Garden Route Rebuild Initiative (GRRI) that was started after the Knysna fire disaster in July 2017 and is a great success. She said though long term solutions are needed for the region and more investment from different sectors to enhance skills and rebuild Eden. Executive Mayor of George, Ald Melvin Naik, said we are all gearing ourselves to be sustainable but sometimes the challenges seem daunting. He said stakeholders arrived at a juncture where partners from all spheres should intensify efforts and be more pragmatic in ensuring an integrated and collaborative approach to develop skills, ignite economic development, sustainable job creation and alleviate poverty and ultimately social transformation. Eden Mayor Memory Booysen, said in his speech to the summit their focus is to ensure there is sufficiently qualified technical and vocational skilled young people to supply the needs of the prioritised growth sectors in the province, like oil and gas, tourism, agri-processing, ICT and Renewable Energy. Mr Pedro Oliphant, Economic Development Manager at George Municipality, said the main goal of the skills summit was to collaborate with Government, Business, Education and Training Institutions as well as service providers in the skills development industry. “The summit will influence economic and human development. Low education levels lead to a low skills base in an area, while high education levels have the opposite effect, producing a skilled or highly skilled population. There is also no doubt that household and personal income levels are either positively or adversely affected by education levels. Also, a population that is skilled does not necessarily aspire to employment but to entrepreneurship, which will add businesses to the area, increase economic activity and consequently increase the number of jobs available”, he said. We are continuously working towards strengthening our partnerships with employers, learning institutions and SETA’s across these sectors to achieve our objectives, which is to Develop and Grow George.
Last published 14 February 2018