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Creating opportunity in a crisis

Data from International Labour Organisation (ILO) revealed that 52% of South Africans aged between 15 and 24 are neither at school nor at work. As a result, 61.3% of all South Africans living in poverty are under the age of 25. One of the main causes of the above scenario is the lack of skills.

This is where STAG African, a construction, development and renewable energy company, comes in. Over the next 10 years the student accommodation group, in partnership with the private and public sector, plans to create 67 000 jobs to help address the shortfall of 600 000 student beds at universities across the country.

“Not enough is being done at the moment to promote internal development through green skills and green jobs. We are committed to creating unique skills in the use of new technology in the green building sector with the end goal being on creating a fully sustainable green economy,” says John Schooling, MD and founder of STAG African.

“Our job creation programme will go a long way in addressing high unemployment rates and upskilling young job seekers with sustainable skills,” says Schooling. Using lightweight steel and Innovative Building Technology, green building skills are much easier to learn and teach than conventional building. Apart from that, it is a new and very relevant skill in the South African context, for which there is high demand locally.

“The growth in demand for tertiary education, globally, has outstripped the capacity of the institutions to cope. Twenty years ago 80% of the global student population were accommodated in residences, today with the dramatic increase of learners heading to university, this figure has dropped to less than 20%.

A boom in higher education has resulted in a major shortfall of student accommodation. According to figures released by the Department of Higher Education, students numbers have increased threefold since 1993, from just under 500 000 to an anticipated amount of more than 1.5-million when the academic year kicks off in February.

The problem for universities is that the cost of student accommodation is very expensive. Using green building practices, STAG African is able to reduce building time by 40% and the costs associated to it dramatically. At universities, where cost ultimately is the deciding factor, sustainable, environmentally building is an obvious economic choice.

“Our aim is to create working classroom environments for TVET college students, we’ll even create the curriculum and employ the students while they are being upskilled with a unique and sustainable skills set. We can work up someone who is unskilled to highly skilled in two years. This is good for us, it’s good for them and for those who rely on them financially – one labourer on average supports seven to eight dependents – it’s good for the colleges and universities and it relieves a huge burden from the State,” says Schooling.

*TVET colleges: Technical Vocational Education and Training Colleges, these were previously referred to and known as FET (Further Education and Training) Colleges.

ENDS

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Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications

Beverley Houston

Beverley@be-cause.co.za

021 447 1082 / 082 824 8617

On behalf of STAG African

Director: John Schooling

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