Member of parliament and the portfolio committee on energy, Thandi Mahambehlala pledged government’s support for pupils studying maths and science and those who are profiting on career opportunities within the energy sector.
Ms Mahambehlana was addressing a Career Expo hosted by the department of energy, at False Bay College, in Khayelitsha, on Saturday February 27. Energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson also attended the event.
Ms Mahambehlala said the primary focus was on such pupils because there was a lack of skilled scientists and in other related careers from the sector.
She encouraged pupils to study the subjects so that they could be better engineers and scientists.
“We are committed in giving full support to pupils. We have also invited students who passed with great marks last year to honour them. But we also want them to motivate those who are at school now. We want those who are at school to see that we are not dreaming when we say we have students of our own who passed maths and science with flying colours,” she said.
More than 1000 pupils from 22 Khayelitsha and Delft schools flocked to the college to see what was on show.
“As the African National Congress we have what we call a “Back to school” campaign, where we visit schools. Before we go to the schools I have to think about what I want to do and where people will benefit from, especially pupils.
“My task was made easy by schools that I visited. I went to two schools and they were keen on maths and science. That was great to see such love for the subjects. And when I looked at the last year’s matric results I saw that we have mastered in these subjects. I felt a need to organise a Career Expo. My minister bought the idea. We are happy to be in Khayelitsha for this. We hope they will leave here with much knowledge and understating of what they want. We want to get calls from schools saying this batch of pupils are willing to be scientist or engineers,” she said.
The Expo exposed the pupils to energy-sector which requires scarce skills that are in demand by most companies.
Ms Joemat-Pettersson said the government was committed in helping children from disadvantage schools. She urged youth to take advantage of career opportunities provided to them by her department. She said education was key to their future. She appealed to youth to improve their skills to create a broader pool of skilled labour.
She also appealed to them to abstain from sex or to use condoms. The minister said her department has bursaries and opportunities for those who need it.