By Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities:
Around 600 school learners from across the province attended the Western Cape Government’s career exhibition showcasing the agricultural sector’s innovative career options.
The two-day career exhibition was hosted by the Provincial Department of Agriculture in partnership with Boschendal.
It kicked off yesterday (24 June 2015) at Boschendal.
This morning, Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, addressed the young people at the event.
Exhibitors included the Provincial Departments of Economic Development and Tourism and Education, Elsenburg College, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Stellenbosch University and the private sector.
Learners came from schools in Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and the Cape Town metro.
Speaking to the learners, who ranged from grade nine to matric, Minister Winde highlighted the importance of the agricultural sector.
“Agriculture is involved in almost everything we do. When you had breakfast this morning, agriculture was involved. Some of the clothes you are wearing, have links to agriculture. Even our venue today is a farm, which makes great products and sells them to the world.
“There is a misperception that the only job in agriculture is being a farmer or a farmworker. These jobs are very important, but our economy also needs agri-processing specialists and agricultural scientists. You are the future of our economy.”
Ciara Engel, a grade nine learner from South Peninsula High School, said the exhibition had opened her eyes to a new side of agriculture.
“Many people only think of farms when they hear about agriculture. One of the reasons I came here today is to learn more about agriculture.”
Darian Kühn, a grade nine learner from South Peninsula High, told Minister Winde he had aspirations of becoming the Minister of Agriculture one day.
“I have always had an interest in agriculture. One day I’d like to visit farms and give farmers advice on running their businesses.”
In this financial year, the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism will invest R100 million into skills development initiatives for young people.
These projects include:
- The Work and Skills programme, which offers young people the on-the-job experience they need to further their careers. Around R10 million is allocated to this initiative annually and about 1000 young people participate in the programme.
- The Agricultural Partnership for Rural Youth Development partners with tertiary institutions and the private sector. It gives young people, mainly the children of people working on farms, access to internships and bursaries for high school and tertiary studies. Just under R6 million is allocated to this project.
Minister Winde encouraged the young people to consider a career in agriculture, and to apply for the bursaries available.