Category: <span>Skills Mecca</span>

11 April 2023 Media Release: HWSETA Provincial Manager visits Garden Route DM

HWSETA Provincial Manager visits Garden Route DM

For Immediate Release
11 April 2023

Zubayda January, the Provincial Manager of the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA), visited the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) on Friday, 31 March 2023. A welcoming event was organised by the GRDM Corporate Services Department for the visit of the HWSETA Provincial Manager and to recognise the excellent work of Mr Harold Martiens within the organisation for the past year.

Ms January’s visit was two-fold; first, to hand over from outgoing HWSETA Provincial Officer Harrold Martiens to HWSETA Provincial Manager, and second, to discuss a current project between HWSETA and GRDM.

GRDM was awarded an amount R 5 231 625.00 for the training of 140 unemployed persons as Personal Care assistants across the district that includes the seven (7) b-municipalities. The programme was initiated on the 1 March until 31 August 2023. Training takes place at various training venues across the region where students are exposed to theoretical training and equally to work-based learning. While on training, learners receive a stipend, and at the end of the program they will receive a certificate of completion.

The HWSETA has established an office at the GRDM in George. Martiens served as the Provincial Officer for HWSETA in George for nearly a year. He left HWSETA on 31 March 2023 to pursue another career opportunity. GRDM’s best wishes go out to him for his future endeavours.



Die Provinsiale Bestuurder van HWSETA het die Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit besoek om ‘n opleidingsprojek te bespreek en om Harold Martiens totsiens te wens. Tuinroete DM het R5,2 miljoen ontvang vir die opleiding van 140 werklose persone as Persoonlike Sorg-assistente. Die program word uitgerol tot Augustus 2023. HWSETA het ‘n kantoor in George gestig en Martiens, die vorige Provinsiale Beampte, het op 31 Maart 2023 sy vlerke gesprei na ‘n ander maatskappy in die Wes-Kaap.

24 March 2023 Media Release: GRDM Municipal Manager and officials welcome interns to the organisation

Media Release: GRDM Municipal Manager and officials welcome interns to the organisation

For immediate release
24 March 2023

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu, and officials (mentors) recently welcomed seventeen (17) interns from various training institutions to the Municipality’s offices in George.

Eleven (11) students studied at the South Cape College, three students are from Stenden University, two are from the Uconomy Platform and one student is from CHIETA Sponsored.

With each student now gaining practical experience at the organisation, they are exposed to various fields, such as Human Resources, Communication, Resorts, Record and Archives, Disaster Management, to name a few. The role of GRDM is to provide them with guidance in notable areas of shortcomings and coach/mentor these students in their field of study. They will be provided practical training on a rotational basis throughout the organisation during their period of their internship. The Public Management students will be placed at Registration, Archives and Auxiliary Services until their contracts expire.

The role of their mentors/supervisors is to ensure that the students keep a record of what tasks they have completed. This information will be contained in a Portfolio of Evidence (POE). The document must be signed off by their mentors/supervisors and final approval will be given by the Head of Department on completion of the experiential training. At the end of their tenure, each student will submit their approved document to their respective training institutions.

In total, R966 000 in stipends will be paid to the interns by the National Skills Fund, Bankseta, CHIETA or Uconomy Platforms over the 18-month period. From this amount, GRDM will partially cover the cost of almost R85 000 for students from Stenden University. These students study in the field of Disaster Management and are placed at the municipality’s district Disaster Management Centre in George.

Garden Route District Municipality is committed to contributing to the success of each student who is part of the programme and who shows dedication for the entire eighteen (18) month period. Providing students with workplace experience will ultimately prepare them to be ready for the job market.

Caption: Interns (with mentors) currently undergoing experiential training at Garden Route District Municipality.


01 March 2023 Media Release: The Connected Economy – A Priority Focus Area for the Garden Route Skills Mecca

Media Release: The Connected Economy – A Priority Focus Area for the Garden Route Skills Mecca

For Immediate Release
1 March 2023

The Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) is an important initiative that will help to address skills shortages in the Garden Route district, promote economic growth and development. It will also support the realisation of the overall Growth and Development Strategy of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM).

To explore possible skills development options for the ICT element of the Connected Economy, the Garden Route Skills Mecca Forum convened on February 24th, 2023, with relevant stakeholders during a Quarterly GRSM Forum. The Connected Economy is one (1) of seven (7) priority focus areas of the Growth and Development Strategy of GRDM.

Stakeholders present at the Skills Mecca engagement with the MICT SETA.

The focus area was on the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA). A key question answered during the session was about the skills required in the ICT sector. In answering this, Koos Nieuwoudt, ICT Manager for GRDM in summary said that ICT sector continues to evolve and that new skills are required to meet the needs of the industry. Traditional IT skills such as A+ certifications are no longer sufficient, and companies require professionals who are proficient in AI, robotic process automation, data sciences, analytics, and cybersecurity.

Additionally, Niewoudt also shared that soft skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and adaptability are essential for success. The smart region strategy, which integrates digital transformation, offers opportunities for the development of skills in areas such as smart governance, infrastructure, security, environment, mobility, and services. However, he also stated that companies must be mindful of the cybersecurity implications of implementing the smart city concept. With the ever-increasing number of connected devices, cybersecurity is a critical concern, and adequate training and resources must be provided to ensure a safe and secure digital environment.

Skills Development Providers recognised 

During the forum, the Garden Route District Municipality recognized eleven skills development providers who had submitted their organization details during an open tender process in 2022 to be considered as pre-approved service providers for Skills Mecca projects and programs in the future. These providers were required to submit proof of accreditation for specific programs considered necessary for the district in the next few years. As part of the recognition process, providers were issued with a Garden Route Skills Mecca Pledge that commits them to support the Skills Mecca.

A further opportunity for service providers to register with the District Municipality as pre-approved service providers will soon be issued as a tender, and all service providers who offer accredited occupational qualifications or skills programs should watch out for it. The Skills Mecca is particularly in need of qualified and experienced mentors to register with the District Municipality to support small companies in the renewable energy (solar) sector.

Editor’s note: The Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) is a concept that originated from the Garden Route Rebuild Initiative (GRRI) in response to the devastating fires that hit the Knysna/Plettenberg Bay district in June 2017. Since 2018, municipalities in the district, along with national and provincial stakeholders, have been working together to implement the GRSM concept as a critical component of the overall Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) of the Garden Route. 

Feature image caption: Stakeholders present in person during the Skills Mecca Engagement with MICT SETA (FLTR): Dr Florus Prinsloo (GRDM Skills Mecca Coordinator), Oscar Martin (Keep the Dream), Rinus van Raai (SA Value Education), Koos Nieuwoudt (GRDM ICT Manager), Basil Myners (BM Skills Development), Raoul Du Toit (Phezukomkhono Training Services), Gerda Rappard (Africa Skills Private College), Iona Kritzinger (GRDM Portfolio Chairperson: Corporate Services), Joanita Martin (Josmap Training), Chane Martin (Josmap Training), Trix Holtzhausen (GRDM Executive Manager: Corporate Services), Reginal Salmons (GRDM Coordinator: Skills Development), Megan van Rensburg (Training Answers), Monique Oranje (Training Answers), Onke Jako (GRDM Skills Mecca Intern).


Join our Garden Route Skills Mecca Quarterly Stakeholder Engagement on 18 November 2022

Are you planning to join our Garden Route Skills Mecca Quarterly Stakeholder Engagement? It will take place on 18 November at 09h00 am.

Why should you join? Find out what possible skills programmes and interventions are planned for Local Government in the Garden Route (including Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Bitou, Greater Oudtshoorn, Kannaland and the Garden Route District Municipalities).

Register here:

30 September 2022 Media Release: Garden Route Skills Mecca Technicians warmly welcomed by Municipal Manager

Media Release: Garden Route Skills Mecca Technicians warmly welcomed by Municipal Manager

For immediate release
30 September 2022

The Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) continues to support all municipalities in the District with enhancing skills development. Complementary to this support, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has secured funding that offers all municipalities in the Garden Route, one-year full time Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) Technicians. They were appointed through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

GRDM Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu, addressing and welcomed all Garden Route Skills Mecca Technicians at the Garden Route District Municipality.

According to Reginald Salmons, Coordinator for Skills Development at GRDM, five (5) of the technicians are placed at the GRDM and all the seven (7) local municipalities in the district became a workplace home for one (1) technician each, totaling twelve (12) technicians. They are all qualified in either one of the following fields: Business, Economics, Finance, Engineering, Human Resources or Public Administration.

The local municipalities’ Technicians are placed at respective Local Economic Development (LED) Units, and undergo an intensive work-based learning programme to design, develop and implement proposals, projects and programmes for skills development within their towns. In addition, they assist LED Units with reporting, administrative, secretariat tasks, and create, build and maintain a Portfolio of Evidence (POE). The POE will enable them to be considered for future relevant Recognition of Prior Learning processes within the Skills Development Sector. They are mentored and supported by the GRSM team located at the GRDM.

GRSM Technicians warmly welcomed to GRDM, 14 September 2022

On Wednesday, 14 September 2022, Technicians attended an induction session at the GRDM Roads Department in George. They were warmly welcomed by the GRDM Municipal Manager, Monde Stratu. As he welcomed them, he emphasised the vision of the organisation and indicated GRDM’s ongoing commitment towards empowering young people through the various EPWP and Skills Development Programs. Stratu requested each Technician to commit 100% and called on them to represent the GRDM with pride and diligence. He also wished them the best of luck and encouraged them to do their best while they are on contract with the GRDM.

The Executive Manager for Corporate Services responsible for Skills Development at GRDM, Trix Holtzhausen, facilitated the introduction session. Holtzhausen motivated and challenged them to become true ambassadors for the GRSM and she encouraged them to think innovatively and creatively. Reginald Salmons, Coordinator for Skills Development at GRDM facilitated the topic “Andragogic approach to learning about the Skills Mecca” (what each of them already know about the Skills Mecca). This was through a multiple-choice questionnaire based various skills development policies and documents.

Dr Florus Prinsloo, the GRDM Skills Mecca Coordinator, facilitated the discussion on the answers to the questionnaire, allowing for debate and deeper understanding of the world of skills development in South Africa. At the end of the session all the Technicians received memory sticks containing twenty resource documents that included the:

– Skills Development Act
– Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy; and
– critical documents that form the basis for their future work within the Garden Route Skills Mecca.

In conclusion, each Technician was given the following homework to engage in once back at their offices:

  • Watch PPP Intro Video 17 Minutes
  • Prep for Module 1 and Module 2, planned for 13 October 2022
  • Immediate Work  = Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority Project,
  • Imminent Work JET Project
  • Follow Ups – Memorandum of Understandings, Integrated Development Plans, Indabas, Public Private Partnerships
  • Schedule & Plan: Task Team and Forum

The session concluded with Dr Prinsloo thanking everyone for their attendance and participation in the session.

Did you know?

Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) refers to a concept that the Garden Route District Municipality in collaboration with stakeholders in all seven local Municipalities are implementing to the benefit of all who live and thrive in this region. To ensure continuity and alignment to the processes that have organically emerged with the development of the Garden Route Skills Mecca since 2017, existing institutional arrangements and structures have been adopted, adjusted as necessary and are being formalised cross the district.

The Garden Route Skills Mecca actively creates partnerships with an arrange of role players that also serve as an ongoing intelligence gathering system to inform the work of the Garden Route Skills Mecca. In this manner the Garden Route Skills Mecca is the directly linked to and supports the national District Development Model.

Feature Image: Executive Manager for Corporate Services at GRDM (right) and Coordinator for the Garden Route Skills Mecca (second, left) with GRDM Skills Development officials and Garden Route Skills Mecca Technicians soon after the introductions.



25 August 2022 Media Release: 35 Learners from Garden Route district to gain practical experience at local municipalities

Media Release: 35 Learners from Garden Route district to gain practical experience at local municipalities

For immediate release
25 August 2022

Three (3) local municipalities in the Garden Route district, including Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), recently placed 35 Cape Peninsula University Technology (CPUT) learners in service to gain practical training in several fields.

The training forms part of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and PSETA, aimed at upskilling learners at Local Government level and provide them with practical training. GRDM, on the other hand, needs to sign agreements with Bitou-, Knysna-, and Hessequa Municipalities in order to host these learners.

Last year, 14 learners were placed at municipalities in the district after CPUT received funding from PSETA. At a meeting between the PSETA representatives in March 2022, when the group of students individually shared their work-based experiences, the PSETA representative commented: “After listening to the testimonies of young people, I can confirm that we invested correctly; you did well by utilising students for the purpose which the program was created for.” The contracts of students ended in May 2022.

After further consultation with PSETA, funding was availed to accommodate these learners for an additional six (6) months, and this time around, 23 more learners were added to the programme.

GRDM was appointed to coordinate the project, which includes supporting each learner through monitoring, evaluation, coaching, and mentoring. Reporting progress to CPUT and PSETA on a regular basis is also required. However, the skills development facilitators within the b-municipalities will assist with the coordination of learners within each municipality.

Learners were enrolled on a Certificate in Public Administration course with CPUT which will provide them with a SAQA ID 91994 Occupational Qualification in Public Office Administrator. Each learner was also provided with a laptop and data on a monthly basis.

The learners were placed as follows:

12 Learners – Garden Route District Municipality
11 Learners – Bitou Municipality
10 Learners – Knysna Municipality
2 Learners – Hessequa Municipality

This project is part of the Garden Route Skills Mecca programme. To learn more about it, visit

Photo caption:  Learners stationed at GRDM who gain practical experience in the different departments at the municipality.

19 August 2022 Media Release: GRDM and LGSETA New Venture Creation Learnership classes conclude

Media Release: GRDM and LGSETA New Venture Creation Learnership classes conclude

For immediate release
19 August 2022

Today, 19 August 2022, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) in collaboration with the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA), facilitated their last training class to students who enrolled for the New Venture Creation Learnership early this year.

LGSETA through a discretionary grant, sponsored the training programme to unemployed ten (10) unemployed learners who reside in the Garden Route district. The training was facilitated by African Global Skills Academy, a training company that delivers training and other related services to adult learners and supplies training related services nationally. Their main focus areas are Hospitality, Tourism, Guiding, Event Management, Conservation, Sport and Craft production training.

Now that the theoretical classes came to a close, the students will have the opportunity to undergo practical training for a nine (9) month period. Through this phase they will be placed at (various workplaces within Garden Route) where they will apply the knowledge gained for the last three (3) months.

Feature Photo:

From left (front row): Olwethu Skippers, Siphosethu Mali and Busisiwe Xhanywe (students), Mrs Aneeka Jacobs (Western Cape Provincial Manager – LGSETA), Khomotso Ngoetsana (Facilitator – African Global Skills Academy) and Angeline Naidoo (Human Resources Practitioner: Training – GRDM).

From left (back row): Cheslyn Robertson and Moustapha Esau (students), Trix Holtzhausen (Executive Manager: Corporate Services – GRDM), as well as Graham Redelinghuys, Winnefred Seenzele and Asemahle Jonas (students).


Join our Garden Route Skills Mecca Quarterly Stakeholder Engagement on 25 August 2022

Are you planning to join our Garden Route Skills Mecca Quarterly Stakeholder Engagement? It will take place on 25 August 2022 at 09h00 am.

Why should you join? Find out what possible skills programmes and interventions are planned for Local Government in the Garden Route (including Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Bitou, Greater Oudtshoorn, Kannaland and the Garden Route District Municipalities).

How to get involved? We will share how you can become a mentor or share the expertise you’ve built up over the years to empower communities.

Register here:

11 August 2022 Media Release:  GRDM Fire Fighting Training accreditation – check marked

Media Release:  GRDM Fire Fighting Training accreditation – check marked

11 August 2022
For Immediate Release

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has achieved a significant milestone for applying to the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) to become an accredited Skills Development Provider for Fire Fighting Training. When successful the milestone will implicate that GRDM can offer training, in particular, for a National Occupational Qualification of Firefighters, NQF-4.

According to the GRDM Executive Manager for Corporate Services, Trix Holtzhausen: “QCTO is one of three National Quality Councils that have the statutory authority to accredit teaching and learning programme providers in the country”.

“QCTO accredits all occupational programmes from NQF 1 to NQF 8, a role previously performed by SETAs but now centralised under QCTO,” she said.

This significant achievement was realised on Tuesday, 2 August 2022 when the District Firefighting Training Centre of GRDM was audited and verified by representatives of QCTO. This was the first milestone in a series of processes that will allow GRDM to become a nationally, and possibly internationally recognized organisation for its expertise in disaster management, firefighting, law enforcement and traffic control.

According to Dr Florus Prinsloo, Skills Mecca Coordinator: “The Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) and Training Unit of the GRDM facilitated the accreditation process”. According to Dr Prinsloo, this is one of many resolutions of the Garden Route Skills Summit of 2019. The theme was to “continue and accelerate collaboration and cooperation among all District skills development role players.” Dr Florus Prinsloo also commented on the accreditation process for the GRSM Fire Fighting team, saying that, in his over eighteen years of working with skills development, including accreditation processes, this process was a real pleasure because of the commitment from the GRDM leadership and staff. GRDM’s investment in their people to become qualified OD-ETDP Practitioners was a major factor in this accreditation process, and they deserve high praise for growing their own timber.

This achievement is also a critical step in the process for the construction and operationalisation of a modern sustainable multi-purpose Training Academy. Funding was already made available by Belgium’s Flanders Government, through close collaboration with the National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment. The academy will be designed and constructed over the next eighteen months and be located in the Garden Route.

Holtzhausen expressed her appreciation for the Fire Fighting Team led by Johan Brand, Deon Stoffels and Brian Afrikander. Additionally, she commended her Training and Development Unit led by Reginald Salmons and Angeline Naidoo for their support and hard work, as well as Jessica Erasmus from the GRDM Community Services Department for her role in populating the detailed Learning Programme Matrix and demonstrating the use of the Collaborator System as a home-grown Learner Management System.

According to Holtzhausen, the envisaged plans for the GRDM Training Academy Programme Qualification Mix Academy include not only accredited Fire Fighting Training. “We will also offer training in Wildfire Management, Veld Fire Management, Law Enforcement, Traffic Control and Disaster Management. These are all highly specialised knowledge domains that the Municipalities in the Garden Route district have exceptional expertise in.”


Discussions are also taking place between the GRDM Skills Mecca team and the George Campus of Nelson Mandela University (NMU) to see how these programmes can be aligned to the existing Veld Fire Management Programmes offered at the University. This will allow for significant sharing of expertise and resources between the two partners and provide career development opportunities for many employed and unemployed persons in the Garden Route.


28 June 2022 Media Release: Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and SASSETA visit GRDM

Media Release: Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and SASSETA visit GRDM

28 June 2022
For Immediate Release 

An Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) delegation consisting of national and provincial officials visited the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) on 13 and 14 June 2022. The aim of the two-day visit was to learn more about the Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) model and to investigate the possibility of replicating the Skills Mecca concept in other parts of the country.

On the first day, representatives from GRSM and the GRDM EPWP section accompanied the delegation on several site visits to training centres in the area that support the GRSM. Delegates visited Cheeba Africa, African Skills and François Ferreira Academy where they were given thorough insights of each facility and the type of training provided.  Through several Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) grants and EPWP programmes, learners have successfully completed courses at the training centres visited by delegates and have been able to enter the job market.

The second day was reserved for engagement.  Lusanda Menze (GRDM Executive Manager:: Planning and Economic Development) gave an overview of GRDM and its Growth and Development Strategy and Dr Florus Prinsloo (GRSM Coordinator) gave a comprehensive overview of the GRSM model.

Tsholofelo Pooe from National EPWP presented on the their EPWP Training Framework and possible linkages to the Garden Route Skills Mecca.

MOU between GRSM and SASSETA discussed.

Joining the delegation on the second day, were Chris Mudau and Thamsanqa Mdontswa from the Safety and Security SETA (SASSETA). After listening to the presentations given by GRDM and GRSM, they presented on the SETA’s mandate, Skills Development Levy (SDL) breakdown, and strategic scope amongst other topics.

SASSETA’s sub-sections and constituencies include:

  • Policing
  • Corrections
  • Justice
  • Defence
  • Intelligence Activities
  • Legal Services
  • Private Security and Investigation Activities

There are 17 SDL contributors in the Garden Route, which comprises law firms and security companies.  It is for this reason that SASSETA and GRDM will enter into talks to establish an MOU that will see closer cooperation with GRSM.

The two-day delegation visit was concluded with a visit to Calitzdorp Hot Springs where a Security Training Centre has been established through formal partnership between BM Skills Development (who is a SASSETA Accredited Training Provider) and the GRDM.