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Graduates from public colleges skilled in plumbing, welding and building could soon find themselves employed by the Gauteng education department.
MEC Barbara Creecy said her department was working on a strategy on how to absorb the graduates to handle maintenance in the province’s public schools, to decrease maintenance backlog at schools as well as to reduce unemployment.
“We are in discussions in the department on how we can decentralise maintenance using their skills,” said Creecy.
One of the plans being considered was to group the graduates to service a cluster of schools in every region.
She said many schools needed to be fenced, toilets needed to be fixed and some school building needed to be revamped and would continually need maintenance work to be done.
In February, Creecy told the Gauteng legislature those 540 schools that had wire fencing needed to be fenced with palisade fencing urgently to improve safety.
Contractors have completed 30 schools and are on site in another 278. Fencing was about to begin in 96 schools and fencing maintenance work is being conducted in 45 schools.
Manufacturing of palisade fences for 91 school fences is under way.
She said the graduates from public colleges should be the ones doing maintenance work at schools because they would be based around areas where they would be working.
“They would be able to respond to schools’ maintenance problems almost immediately, instead of schools having to wait for a service provider who sometimes never comes,” she said.
The department, in partnership with Westcol College, has just completed a pilot project in which 1020 students graduated through a learnership in various skills including plumbing, welding and building.
Creecy said as not all of them could be absorbed into the workplace, the department could maybe play a role in future by placing them as maintenance workers at schools, once the department has decided on a proper plan to absorb them.
Article by The New Age