Trade union Solidarity has started construction of its new R300 million Sol-Tech Occupational Training College campus.

Funded entirely by community investments, the campus is the first major project that forms part of education and employment projects worth R4.5 billion the Solidarity Network will embark on over the next five years.

According to Dr Dirk Hermann, Solidarity Chief Operations Officer, the Sol-Tech campus is world-class and on par with international institutions.

“Although our criterium is world-class, our architects succeeded to use a typical South African and specifically Afrikaans design style,” said Paul van Deventer, MD of Sol-Tech.

“Traditional architectural styles have been absorbed in the design in a modern way. The layout of the campus acknowledges in a variety of creative ways historical events and dates where artisans played an important role.”

Earthworks commenced on Monday (16 September), and the campus is expected to open its doors in January 2021.

Solidarity said that its next major project is the construction of the Akademia campus where education will be offered through Afrikaans as the medium of instruction.

Projects included in the Solidarity network pipeline include:

  • A comprehensive alternative school system,
  • An occupational training,
  • A university,
  • Financial aid for education,
  • A youth movement,
  • A  network of occupational guilds,
  • Mentorships;
  • Job placement;
  • Protection in the workplace;
  • Continued education.

How it is being funded

Hermann said that the strength of Sol-Tech and of its new campus lies in the fact that it is being built by the community.

“Every Solidarity member donates R10 to a Building Fund each month,” he said.

“Thousands of members of the public donate smaller amounts each month to make the building of institutions such as Sol-Tech possible.

“What we see here is not the product of state money or major empowerment money but of small contributions by the thousands adding up to make something big happen.”

Hermann added that the union was calling on people to join the group in working for the huge building projects.

“The only way we can ensure a future is to build it ourselves. In less than two years and a million bricks later we will have a campus here where young people will be equipped to stay in South Africa and to be free, safe and prosperous here,” he said.

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