Nolwazi Madlala

The award-winning Shukela Training Centre (STC) has teamed up with the South African Farmers Development Association (SAFDA) and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) to train future sugarcane growers.

STC is training 46 youth to qualify with National Certificate: Plant Production: NQF Level 4

STC was appointed by SAFDA, through its Memorandum of Understanding with DALRRD, to train 46 youth under the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) Programme run by the department. The 46 learners from previously disadvantaged rural communities were recruited by SAFDA and DALRRD. 

The NARYSEC programme is intended to contribute towards the state’s broader skills development initiatives for the country’s youth. Since NARYSEC’s inception on 1 September 2010 to date, NARYSEC has recruited more than 16 178 rural youth in all nice provinces of the country. The programme develops the skills of targeted NARYSEC participants through various skills development initiatives in partnership with other public and private sector institutions in line with rural economy transformation strategy.

The programme targets unemployed youth from rural areas, aged between 18 and 25 who have passed Grade 12, as part of the rural economy transformation strategy from poor rural awards. The STC has been successfully offering many different plant production skills courses within the sugar industry for many years. Given that, the 46 learners will be placed in the sugarcane growing farms where they stand to benefit more if their training is offered by an institution with a good record of accomplishment in working with sugarcane farmers. In addition, the STC’s plant production course material has a bias towards sugarcane farming, especially when it comes to those unit standards where the crop of choice has to be the focus. 

The 46 learners are enrolled in National Certificate: Plant Production: NQF Level 4 Learnership. This programme is mostly 70% practical on-farm experience and 30% theory at STC in Mount Edgecombe. The journey for these learners began on 29 September 2019, when they began their first session at STC and will end on 29 September 2020 – it is a twelve-month programme. There will be three theoretical sessions in total and on farm training in-between. Besides funding accommodation and meals, SAFDA’s role is to also ensure that learners are placed in functional farms for their workplace learning, and to assist and support STC during workplace monitoring of learners. The DALRRD is funding training of these 46 learners to the tune of R874 000 while SAFDA is funding accommodation and meals to the value of R1 085 184.

Nolwazi Madlala is Agricultural Training Manager at STC