Universities and other tertiary institutions have often been blamed for not teaching their students some entrepreneurship skills, to prepare them for the world of business in case they do not find work.
This has had a devastating effect on most of the young students, whose ultimate goal is to work in air-conditioned offices, in front of computers, wearing expensive suits, and giving orders here and there.
It is in this spirit perhaps that the South African government, through its ministry of trade and industry, (dti) and in partnership with the Ekurhuleni West College (EWC), has heeded advice from experts and launched yesterday a Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE).
The centre will be located in the premises of the EWC campus of Katlehong on the East Rand.
CfE forms part of the dti’s initiative to primarily target Further Education and Training (FET) institutions to promote entrepreneurship education, training and development, a ministry spokesperson said in a statement.
The centre is the product of a five-year Memorandum of Agreement between the dti and EWC, where the institution is funded by the department to implement entrepreneurship courses, dti’s Sidwell Medupe said.
“Targeted students will comprise of current and former students who are unemployed and also disadvantaged individuals from communities within the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality,” he added.
Programmes offered at the institution will help develop the students’ proficiency in practical skills of waste management and welding. Students will also be provided with knowledge and understanding of entrepreneurship and the establishment of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises, the ministry said.
The Centre will expose students to technology and work environments that extend beyond the practical environment, Medupe said.
Trade and industry vice-minister Elizabeth Thabethe said Entrepreneurship Centres form part of the dti’s priority of decreasing youth unemployment and increasing the development of small enterprises.
This, she added, could be achieved by fostering strategic collaboration with educational institutions to deliver on this mandate through the hosting of Centres for Entrepreneurship.
The cost of launching such an ambitious initiative and future projects of this nature is, unfortunately, not known.
Photo: Elizabeth Thabethe giving the go-ahead at the launch of the CfE this week.