A real life world is characterized by an assortment of problems and opportunities. These real problems generally manifest themselves in the form of unemployment, retrenchment, illiteracy and poverty. A technical school trains and produces learners with academic and theoretical knowledge enabling them to enter the job market at a minimum and possibly develop their own enterprises in the trades.
Examples of trades are found in every society in South Africa. They are plumbing, construction, welding, motor mechanics, electronics, electrical and digital technology, as well as fitting and turning. These are usually realized through architects, civil and electrical engineers, Information Technology technicians, as well as general artisans and tradesmen.
A technical school has a duty to produce a full spectrum of learners for their next step of life. In doing so, we create a ‘team’ who will soon be required to use their know-how to maintain existing industrial infrastructure such as boilers, mechanical engines and power stations. Maintenance of such infrastructure influences sustainability of productivity of our communities. The need for problem solving was evident with recent Eskom’s power outages that shook the country’s economy. This unfortunate reality ignited the creative realm for individuals to innovate new and safer technological developments that can increase productivity whilst remaining less harmful to all life.
Technical schools provide opportunities to affordable, inventive, working solutions used in other faculties such as medicine and science. One fine example includes the titanium and plastic implants being developed at Central University of Technology for cancer patients. Technical schools are logical first steps to technical institutions of higher learning like CUT. Their existence guarantees a conveyor-belt of prospective artisans and professionals is continually delivered to the tertiary level.
In a practical sense, our schools will graduate learners with basic trades’ skills in woodworking, carpentry and plumbing, amongst other abilities. These are talents needed by almost every sector of the economy. An option is to be self-employed. Thus, either way, they will be capable of earning a living. Furthermore, they can help their parents avoid unnecessary expenditures on repairs and maintenance around the household or possibly generate income doing ‘pick-up’ jobs.
Technical schools, like football coaches working daily with teams to practice and get ready for “game day”, prepare learners by equipping them with skills for their future. This is indeed what makes technical schools viable solutions for real world problems and opportunities; we get them ready for life.