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CHIETA and SAFCOL Join Forces: A Landmark in Sustainable Skill Development


CHIETA CEO, Mr Yershen Pillay and SAFCOL CEO, Mr Tsepo Monaheng, jubilantly hold the signed agreement, marking a historic moment in South African sustainable skill development. Their smiles reflect the promising future of the first-ever Eco-friendly SMART Skills Centre in the country.

The Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority (CHIETA) and the South African Forestry Company (SAFCOL) have reached an historic milestone by signing an agreement to build the first-ever Eco-friendly SMART Skills Centre in South Africa, entirely constructed from timber. This pioneering initiative showcases the power of cross-sector collaboration, representing a remarkable leap forward in sustainable skill development and eco-friendly practices.


The pivotal agreement was co-signed by CHIETA CEO, Mr Yershen Pillay, and Mr Tsepo Monaheng, an esteemed public sector CEO. Under Monaheng's stewardship, SAFCOL has flourished into a R1 billion enterprise that generates dividends for the state.



SAFCOL will provide the timber infrastructure, while CHIETA is committed to equipping the centre with state-of-the-art digital technologies. This combined effort aims to nurture a new breed of digitally adept artisans in a sustainable, eco-friendly environment. The unique SMART Skills Centre is slated for construction in Sabi, Mpumalanga by 2024.


This initiative is especially critical given the aging workforces in the forestry and chemical industries in South Africa. There is an urgent need for the youth to seize new opportunities within these sectors. The Green SMART Skills Centre aims to address this issue by offering rural youth access to digital skills programs, thus bridging the digital skills divide.


"CHIETA CEO, Mr Yershen Pillay and SAFCOL CEO, Mr Tsepo Monaheng, poised in the act of signing a landmark agreement. This significant moment signifies the birth of South Africa's first-ever Eco-friendly SMART Skills Centre, setting the course for a future rich in sustainable innovation and skill development."

CHIETA has already successfully launched two SMART Skills Centres in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces. A third centre is soon to be inaugurated in KwaZulu-Natal. Through these initiatives, CHIETA is championing the development of robotics in the country. To date, over 500 learners from underserved schools have been trained in coding, robotics, drone technology, and more.


Cross-sector collaboration is a key driver of transformative innovation. The partnership between CHIETA and SAFCOL epitomizes this ethos, fusing environmental awareness with advanced skill development. Both the CHIETA and SAFCOL teams deserve high praise for their collaborative effort in making this agreement a reality.


The establishment of the SMART Skills Centre represents a formidable stride towards sustainable development in South Africa, setting the tone for future endeavors. This venture not only equips South African youth with vital digital skills but also inspires other sectors to incorporate eco-friendly practices into their operations. It is a significant milestone in South Africa's journey towards a more sustainable future.



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