Last week members of the Eqstra Industrial Equipment Division visited various schools in the Eastern Cape. This is part of an ongoing commitment of the Eqstra group to support the educational needs of technical and agricultural facilities as well as the feeder schools from nearby communities.

‘Our involvement with Adelaide Gymnasium and other local schools forms the blueprint “Eqstralution“, that is the evolution of society through education and skills development,’ says Gary Neubert, chief executive officer of the Eqstra Industrial Equipment division. ‘There is a desperate shortage of technical skills in Southern Africa, and Eqstra is committed to providing schools with the necessary resources to provide our country with the required technical and agricultural skills. Eqstra has employed learners from Adelaide Gymnasium in the PE branch, and hopes to attract more apprentices to the various Eqstra businesses in future.

Eqstra has sponsored Adelaide Gymnasium over a period of 7 years by supplying much needed equipment including diesel engines, a cut off chassis and tools, drawing equipment and calculators. Eqstra has also provided the school with computers and sponsored the Motor Mech department’s budget for several consecutive years. This year, Eqstra donated a brand new Deutz Fahr tractor to the school to ensure well maintained school and sports grounds. As September is Arbor month, ten yellowwood trees were donated to Adelaide and planted by the learners and Eqstra management on the school grounds. To date, Eqstra’s investment has been approximately R1 000 000.

Eqstra has confirmed their continued commitment to uplifting the skills of the learners at the Adelaide Gymnasium by sponsoring an additional Maths and Science teacher for a minimum of 5 years. ‘It is essential to continue to provide technical schools with the resources they need to achieve entry requirements for further education’ says Gary Neubert. Merseta requires a minimum pass rate of 50 percent in both subjects for learners to enter an apprenticeship, a difficult task where classes are too big for teachers to give individual attention to those who struggle with either of the subjects. ‘Schools are doing the best they can, however we need industry to advise us what is required so that we can ensure meaningful employment for our learners when they leave school,’ says Isak van Schalkwyk, principal of Adelaide gymnasium in the Eastern Cape. In 2012 Eqstra is offering 5 bursaries to grade 10 learners at Adelaide Gymnasium, who will be following a technical route.

In addition, Eqstra is offering 5 bursaries to black learners entering grade 8 at Marlow Agricultural School to encourage the youth to develop the skills essential for successful farming in South Africa. Eqstra distributes Same and Deutz Fahr tractors and as part of our Eqstra Agrilution, we want to play an active role in supporting sustainable development and food security in Southern Africa by investing in the farmers of the future.

The Eqstra Technical Academy based on the East Rand currently employs approximately 400 apprentices in heavy earth moving, diesel, electrical and boiler making.

For further information contact Karen Keen 011 571 0231.