One of the main purposes of the Post School Education and Training System (PSET) is to prepare workers for the labour market and or enable individuals to earn sustainable livelihoods through self-employment or establishing companies or cooperatives.
The eagerness and commitment by the PSET system to achieve such is enshrined in the Department of Higher Education and Training strategic outcomes, especially on programme 4 and strategic outcome 4 which seek to establish and promote a responsive PSET system to the world of work and the changing economy through several interventions including establishing entrepreneurship hubs and enroll students and general citizens on entrepreneurship programmes and projects in order to create jobs and industries.
According to the Quarter 2, 2022 Stats SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey, the Eastern Cape unemployment rate was 42.8%, still the highest in the country. This is evident of the dire labour market situation in the Eastern Cape. The challenge is partially attributed to the widening mismatch between the skills acquired by youth and those demanded by employers. The skills mismatch reduces young graduate’s employability in the labour market.
As an alternative means for graduates and youth to access the labour market, entrepreneurship has been placed at the centre of addressing youth unemployment across the globe. The National Development Plan prioritizes the Small Medium Enterprise sector as a key lever to unlock growth and development in the context of addressing youth unemployment. As a result, government introduced several interventions, such as the introduction of business / entrepreneurship related modules to infuse into the education system including the technical vocational institutions. The aim is to infiltrate the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation amongst the youth.
There is consensus also within the Eastern Cape Human Resource Development (HRD) Council that in order to respond to the labour market challenge, the province needs to build entrepreneurship capability within and through our education and training institutions to catalyze structural transformation. The Council is a high-level decision-making structure in the province that advises provincial cabinet on education, training, skills development and employment matters and the high office in the province has keen interest in the development of entrepreneurship capability for youth emancipation.
To further develop the entrepreneurship capability, the Allan Gray Foundation in collaboration with the Department of Higher Education and Training launched an inter-college competition in 2021 to expose as many young people as possible to entrepreneurship in all 50 Technical and Vocation Education and Training colleges (TVETs) around the country. In preparation for this year’s (2022) competition, King Hintsa TVET College held an Entrepreneurship Day event on the 9th of June 2022, with the purpose to allow students from all College Campuses to pitch their businesses and to identify student entrepreneurs that will represent the college at a provincial level.
The students pitched their business ideas in front of a panel of judges composed of Lusanda Dodo from ECSECC, Prof. Thobeka Ncanywa from WSU and a young entrepreneur; Siya Ndevu of Siya Ndevu Hair Studio. The event saw stakeholders from industry; WipHold and NAFCOC, committing to support the college in its entrepreneurship development endeavour and further industry engagements.
To further prepare the students for the Provincial competition, King Hintsa TVET College held a 2-day Bootcamp in East London to guide the students in further developing their student business concepts, build student-preneurs and motivate them.
The boot camp was honoured in support of the College by officials from ECSECC, Siya Ndevu Hair Studio, Mawande Jilata (on his personal capacity), Mr. Papama Mnqandi, the National Chairperson of Black Management Forum’s Young Professionals and coordinator of Eastern Cape Under 30 Entrepreneurship Organization.
The College student-preneurs were five College students who have business ideas in 3 categories of the competition, namely:
Irrespective of the inter-college competition, the five students have registered companies with the registration process funded and facilitated by the College for the students to realize their dreams of creating jobs with the skills acquired at the College.
In a debriefing session held between ECSECC, King Hintsa TVET College and BMF last week; a resolution was taken that the Student Entrepreneurship support efforts to current students should go beyond the Allan Gray initiative competition. Further steps should be taken to build Student Entrepreneurship and keep the momentum going and create a Platform for all the players in the ecosystem to engage and collaborate in advancing this initiative.