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Level 3 Could Affect Future Learnerships, Says Minister

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Minister Blade Nzimande delivered an address on Monday Morning. As the Minister responsible for Skills Development, he spoke about developments in the Post-School Education and Training sector.

Between the first and second quarter of 2020, the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) resumed with their workplace based learning activities.

These activities include learnerships, skills programmes and student placements, which all experienced an intake increase during this period. 

  • Learnerships intake increased from 3 432 to 10 984
  • Skills programmes intake increased from 710 to 5 815
  • Student placements intake increased from 756 to 3 000.

While the SETAs have resumed, alert level 3 remains a threat to workplace based learning programmes. 

If the country continues to remain in alert level 3 for a long period, employers could delay all learning programmes, as operating under these conditions is not ideal.

Despite the concern about the future of these programmes, the Minister said there has been "no clear indication of major negative impact". 

Most sectors have been operating under level 3, except the wholesale and retail sectors which have been affected by the banning of alcohol under the updated regulations.

"At this point in time there is no clear indication of major negative impact, as most sectors of the economy are operational except the wholesale and retail sector which is affected with regards to the liquor retailers which have been closed, meaning therefore that there is no training taking place there." said Nzimande. 

Training for artisan development

Training for artisan development will be taking place under very strict conditions that are in line with the level 3 regulations. 

"Trade testing commenced on 16 July 2020 testing candidates that were registered prior to the national lockdown. New applications for Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) and trade test registrations commenced from the 28 September 2020."

In an attempt to reduce the risk of contact infections, applications have been made available for candidates who have access to the internet and online facilities. 

Those who do not have the means to complete an online application will be able to access onsite applications, only if an appointment has been made. 

Making an appointment will help create a better and more controlled environment at the registration offices. 

The level 3 regulations allow for all skills development initiatives, undertaken by the National Skills Fund, to continue through the different skills development providers.

Minister Nzimande has commended the work of all support staff and institutional managers through all of the uncertainty Covid-19 has brought about. 

"I must also acknowledge that this has been a challenging time for the academic staff of our institutions, who have had to adapt rapidly to new forms of teaching and student support, and who have shown commitment to learning themselves and supporting students, often across multiple different platforms.

"I commend this work, as well as the work of institutional managers, administrators and support staff who have worked hard to adapt to the necessary changes." he said. 

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