YET another Eastern Cape further education and training (FET) college will benefit from sustained moves by the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) to roll out its driver simulator programme throughout the province.
Today a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the CDC and Lovedale College which sees the addition of one driver simulator to service Lovedale’s 3100 students. This brings the total number of higher education institutions with Coega driver simulators to eight.
The CDC has facilitated the expansion of the driver simulator training to Buffalo City College in East London, Eastcape Midlands College in Uitenhage, Ikhala College in Queenstown, Ingwe FET College in Mbizana, Port Elizabeth College in Struandale, Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha and Amajingqi Traditional Council in Willowvale.
Lovedale College representatives said they were thrilled to become a part of this initiative and were proud to be signing the MoU with Coega. “We believe that driver training is an extremely important addition to the training we offer our students,” said Nanette Lötter, Manager of Marketing, Communications and Partnerships at Lovedale PFET College.
“With a driver’s licence, a student can apply for posts with much more confidence, so it increases the student’s employability. It also gives the student the opportunity to obtain a licence while still a student, and not while employed, when it is often hard to find the time to do the training. Our students are excited and very enthusiastic about this development. Within the first hour of making this programme known, our office was inundated with students wishing to apply.”
The CDC said it aimed to implement its programme across the entire Eastern Cape higher education institutions with a view to going national as well.
“We cannot over-emphasize the importance of this training programme for people entering the job market,” said Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC head of marketing and communications.
“Obtaining a drivers licence is one of the major barriers to entry into the job market – not to mention the fact that it is an expensive and lengthy process. Young people and graduates are the future economic drivers and without the necessary skills in place to get a job, their potential remains latent.
“Coega is focused on socio-economic development and takes this mandate very seriously. As such all our training and skills development is geared to ensure we are meeting that mandate provincially and nationally, where possible. Driver training is an integral part of this.”
The CDC has also recently seen a major increase in the programme’s output.
In the 2012/13 financial year 398 people gained drivers licences compared to 39 licences in the previous year, a 90% increase.
“The operational model for driver training was radically revised and the results are speaking for themselves. They are also evidence of the commitment of the trainers and dedication of the learners,” added Vilakazi.
The CDC plans to expand the reach of the driver simulator training and will sign agreements with Fort Hare University in Alice and Ndlambe Municipality in Port Alfred in the near future, the organisation confirmed.