SMART skills centres to roll out across SA – Nzimande

  • CHIETA, and the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation launched their largest SMART skills centre in rural Babananga, KZN last week.
  • The centre will serve to educate the local youth in future-minded skills including virtual reality, coding, AI, blockchain, and more.
  • Minister Blade Nzimande says that due to the success of CHIETA’s SMART centres, more of their like will now be rolled out across the other provinces.

Slowly and steadily the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has been adding locations where young people can take advantage of and learn future-minded skills.

Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncuba said last year that these initiatives, like the rolling out of 4IR skills bootcamps across KZN, and the establishment of a tech skills laboratory, are in the hopes that the province won’t miss out on IT opportunities in the future due to a lack of training.

Other government entities like the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) have also been making strides in increasing access to tech education in the province. Last week CHIETA launched its largest SMART skills centres in Babanango, KZN.

Now the 1 800-plus residents of Babanango will be able to take part in the digital skills training offered by the centre.

The CHIETA SMART skills centre in Babanango, KZN.

Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Blade Nzimande was at the launch of the centre, and said that the centre will provide the local community, including learners, job seekers and businesspeople with digital skills. The deeply rural area of Babanango was chosen apparently because since there is no internet available, the centre will be the prime location for locals to glean future-minded skills.

The launch event of the CHIETA centre in Babanango, with Nzimande (far right) in attendance. Image sourced from CHIETA SETA on X.

“The centre will advance skills development for the unemployed youth by offering programmes based on various technologies, including Virtual Reality (VR), blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), software development, data science and mobile repairs,” explained Nzimande, as per SA News.

“Through this centre, our unemployed youth will have access to various online learning platforms to start up successful and scalable data-driven commercial businesses that will provide technological solutions. This centre will also help us bridge the digital skills divide between urban and rural communities.”

Nzimande also announced at the launch that since the CHIETA SMART centre project had been implemented successfully in KZN, it would now be expanded to all nine provinces of South Africa. The minister said he hopes that this latest, and largest of CHIETA’s smart centres will serve as a catalyst to attract other developmental projects and programmes.

[Image – CHIETA SETA on X]


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