Transnet cadets ‘tomorrow’s engineers’

first_img11 October 2012State company Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has enrolled 700 high school pupils in its cadet scheme in a bid to grow the number of technicians and engineers in South Africa.Speaking to SAnews this week at the My Tomorrow Technical Careers Expo at the Nasrec expo centre in Johannesburg, TFR executive manager for talent management, Ogotlhe Sathekge, said the programme developed by TFR was aimed at building capacity in terms of youth employment.The government’s major infrastructure plan, announced in President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address earlier this year, aims to turn the country into a construction site, with particular emphasis on developing rural areas.Building green energy supply, infrastructureAs a result, government has planned 18 Strategic Integrated Projects which focus on building the country’s green energy supply and bulk infrastructure, among others.The successful execution of this ambitious development plan will need a major boost in the country skills base, a gap that the Rail Cadet Scheme is now aiming to help fill.Through the scheme, TFR is sponsoring learners from Grade 10 to 12 who are performing well in school, particularly in maths and science. The students must have an average of 60% and above.TFR has committed to provide the pupils with school uniforms, as well as to pay for tuition fees for both high school and tertiary education.The scheme, launched in May this year, today has a total of 700 students and matriculants participating in it.Exposing learners to the working environmentLearners are mentored and exposed to the working environment in the technical and engineering fields at TFR. The scheme in the future aims to take on 2 000 students annually.Additionally, learners also have to obtain a motivation letter from their respective schools as part of the selection criteria.“During the school holidays, they’ll come to us, and be exposed to different career opportunities available in Transnet but only in the technical and engineering environments,” said Sathekge.Once learners have completed their matric, they will go on to study at the University of Johannesburg through a partnership between the university and TFR.“We have a partnership with the university to further their studies in the technical and engineering fields. So we have a rail operations programme that we have with the University of Johannesburg, partnered with Glasgow University. Once they complete their studies, we employ them full time,” she said.Assisting out-of-school youthSathekge said the career expo, which TFR was a co-sponsor of – alongside the SABC and other stakeholders – was very important to the company as it was technically focused.Other than expos and visiting schools, the scheme is also looking at assisting out-of- school youth through the help of NGOs and information handed over by local municipalities.“We have had interesting reaction to the programme as people assume that Transnet is only about trains, but they realise that there is more to the industry,” she said.Girl pupils had also shown interest in the scheme, which has a total budget of R11- million this year.The scheme is predominantly aimed at girl children and people with disabilities.It will also offer financial assistance to learners who require it, Sathekge said. For example, if a first-year student lacks funds to continue with their second year of study, the scheme will look into assisting that student, provided that they perform well.“I think the programme will do good, seeing that our country faces critical skill shortages. What we are doing is not only for Transnet but for the country,” she said.Providing a ‘pipeline of youngsters to grow’General Manager at TFR, Cleo Shiceka, said education was critical.“We need a lot of technical skills. It’s vital for Transnet that we get a pipeline of youngsters to grow in our business,” she told learners at the expo.Education and training was vital for the development of the country, and that technical and engineering skills were necessary to ensure the growth of the country, said Deputy Director General at the Higher Education and Training Department, Firoz Patel.Sphiwe Madiba from The Hill High School said the expo was of interest to him, as he wanted to study chemical engineering. His friend Mbuso Tshabalala said he was keen on studying mechanical engineering and the expo would give him more insight into the technical field.The expo will end today.Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

Nominate schools for the Grow Rural Education program

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The number of jobs with an emphasis in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is expected to grow significantly over the next ten years, according to the National Science and Math Initiative. To help K-12 educators enhance their STEM curriculum, the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, will once again provide farmers with the opportunity to nominate their Ohio public schools for opportunities to receive $10,000 and $25,000 grants.Former grant-winning schools, such as Early County Elementary School in Blakely, Georgia, indicate the program stimulates school budgets for STEM education, as well as students’ level of interest in science and math.In 2016, Early County Elementary School used the $10,000 grant they received from the Grow Rural Education program to expand the school’s science curriculum by building a hoop house, allowing students to apply classroom lessons about the ecosystem and plant lifecycles to the fruits and vegetables they harvest.“The Grow Rural Education grant has had an impact throughout our entire school district. After our elementary school students harvest their crops, we provide the food to our high school culinary arts program,” said Early County Elementary School teacher Tim Spooner. “This allows high school students to learn their craft and then give a portion of that food to our area’s most needy residents.”In 2017, the Grow Rural Education program will award approximately $2.3 million to deserving schools. Since the program began in 2011, it has awarded more than $11 million to schools in rural communities across the United States.To qualify for a Grow Rural Education grant, farmers in eligible counties must nominate an eligible rural public school district to compete for a merit-based grant of either $10,000 or $25,000. Farmers can nominate their school district from January 1 to April 1, 2017.After the school district receives a nomination, the Monsanto Fund will notify the district and encourage administrators and teachers to design a grant that enhances STEM education in their district.Nominated school districts have until April 15, 2017, to submit a grant application describing their project. An advisory council composed of farmer leaders then reviews finalist applications and selects the winning school districts.“The Grow Rural Education program provides farmers with a way to give back and sets students up for success in their local communities,” said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president. “We have heard from many school districts that the projects they implement excite their students and, in many instances, have resulted in improved test scores.”To nominate a local school district for one of the Grow Rural Education grants, as well as a complete list of program rules and eligibility information, farmers can go to GrowRuralEducation.com. Additionally, more information about the program can be found at facebook.com/AmericasFarmers.last_img read more

Seeking Robust Exports to China

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Jerry HagstromDTN Political CorrespondentAVENTURA, Fla. (DTN) — The Trump administration wants China to promise to buy a broad range of agricultural commodities, not just soybeans, in the trade negotiation that is underway, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Steve Censky said Monday.“We want some robust purchase commitments from China,” Censky said at the International Sweetener Colloquium, a gathering of sweetener users here.Censky said that means China should fulfill its commitments under the tariff rate quota system to buy other commodities and also U.S. meat and pet food.The United States also expects China to improve its biotechnology approval system. “In the past, it has taken a presidential summit to get biotech approvals,” he said.The engagement with China is a “tough, but promising negotiation,” Censky said.But he also said that achieving a good agreement on agriculture is not enough to win the administration’s backing. He said China has to agree to make changes to its system of technology transfer and not force U.S. companies to transfer their technology or take on a Chinese partner who, in effect, steals U.S. knowledge.Censky also told the candy company executives and others in the sweetener industry there is “a lot of work ahead to get the USMCA [the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement] passed. We need your help.”He noted that USDA is advocating within the administration for the removal of the tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel. Agriculture leaders have said the tariffs have led to retaliatory tariffs that have diminished their exports and that the provisions in the USMCA will be meaningless if the tariffs are not removed.Censky also noted that Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House National Economic Council, has said he expects the tariffs to be removed.Censky also said he thinks the expected negotiations with Japan will be “great news for agriculture.” He noted that U.S. agreements with Japan have “always” been “the crown jewel of U.S. trade negotiations,” and that most of the gains under the Trans Pacific Partnership proposal from which President Donald Trump withdrew would have been in increased access to the Japanese market.In the upcoming negotiations with Japan, Censky said, the Trump administration wants “at least” what the United States would have gotten if it stayed in TPP.Negotiations with the European Union are slower because the United States has pushed for agriculture to be included in the agreement, which the EU has resisted, he said. But Censky said he believes agriculture must be included for Congress to approve an EU agreementThe Trump administration would also like to achieve a new agricultural trade relationship with the United Kingdom if and when it leaves the European Union, but that relationship depends on the arrangements under which the U.K. leaves the EU, he said.USDA will release its farm bill implementation schedule later this week, he said, with implementation of the new dairy program a top priority.PRESIDENT POINTS TO AG AND USMCA DEALPresident Donald Trump on Sunday said he would extend a deadline to escalate tariffs on Chinese imports, citing progress in trade negotiations.The president tweeted, “I am pleased to report that the U.S. has made substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues. As a result of these very … productive talks, I will be delaying the U.S. increase in tariffs now scheduled for March 1. Assuming both sides make additional progress, we will be planning a Summit for President Xi and myself, at Mar-a-Lago, to conclude an agreement. A very good weekend for U.S. & China!”In comments to the nation’s governors, Trump said the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement would benefit farmers.According to a White House transcript, Trump said he wanted to “thank every governor here today who is supporting our new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — the USMCA. I’ve long said that NAFTA is the worst trade deal that any country has ever signed. It emptied us out. We had a surplus with Mexico and Canada, and we went to $130 billion trade deficit with the combination of Mexico and Canada. And this deal will bring it back.”“We’re opening it up to farmers. We’re opening Canada, as an example — and Mexico — to farmers. They were closed. It was a closed shop. They had all sorts of non-monetary trade barriers. And they had monetary trade barriers. They were charging, for certain agricultural products, an almost 300 percent tariff. Nobody ever talked about it. Nobody ever knew about it. And I’d go up to Wisconsin and the farmers would say, ‘Sir, we can’t compete. They’re charging us 287 percent, to be exact.’ I said, ‘You got to be kidding.’And we did something about it.”“So the USMCA is very important. It will help our dairy farmers in Wisconsin; our wine makers in Oregon and Washington and California; our autoworkers in Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and all over; and dozens of other states, and ranchers and farmers and growers and manufacturers from coast to coast. It’s a very, very comprehensive deal. It’s a deal that nobody thought we’d be able to get approved.“I was able to get it approved, to be honest with you, by using tariffs. I was putting very substantial tariffs — or was getting ready to — on Canada, who was very tough to negotiate. You know, we think of ‘Oh, Canada.’ Well, ‘Oh, Canada’ is tough. They’re tough.“And I said, ‘Look, you know, you’re either going to do this or we’re going to put 20, 25 percent tariffs on your cars that you ship in here by the millions.”Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at jhagstrom@njdc.comFollow him on Twitter @hagstromreport(CC/AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Key game up for national squad

first_imgThe Philippines will test its sharpness against a lowly Hong Kong side on Wednesday in the hope of scoring an important victory in the Asian Seniors Women’s Volleyball Championships in Biñan City, Laguna.A victory by the all-star national team, led by fan favorites Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago and Mika Reyes, would already ensure the country a spot in the quarterfinals of the 14-nation meet.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. It will also automatically qualify the Philippines for the first time in the Asian Volleyball Cup for women in Thailand next year.“This is a very important tournament for us and the Hong Kong game is the most important match,” said national head coach Francis Vicente, who led the national team in a 17-day training camp in Japan.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsThe country, carried by Foton Pilipinas of the Philippine Superliga, demolished Hong Kong (25-20, 25-14, 25-14) during the Asian Club Championships last year—a game where the Philippines sparingly used imports. LATEST STORIES Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Ceres XI ready to wage battle vs Singaporean side for crown Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ NGCP on security risk: Chinese just technical advisers View commentslast_img read more