Setas to train 20 000 artisans through new Trades Council

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22 scarce skill, artisan occupations have been identified by the Setas for priority training next year. Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa has announced that plans are in place for 20 000 people to receive training next year.

"Draft service level agreements will be submitted to the Setas proposing a total target of 20 000 priority scarce-skill-artisans for the 2008/09 financial year,' Mr Mpahlwa said, addressing the media on Wednesday.

The economic cluster, explained the minister, is currently undertaking work to align the skills development programmes with the Industrial Policy Action Plan and the Ten-Year Innovation Plan.

South Africa's key industrialisation challenge is to grow and diversify manufacturing and tradable services to generate higher levels of value addition and to increase employment in low-medium skill industries.

The National Skills Fund (NSF), the minister said, has allocated R300 million to support the development of the 22 scarce skill, priority artisan trades.

The NSF is funded by the Department of Labour and it aims to help provide various critical and scarce skills to about 360 000 South African rural youths between 2007 and 2009.

The NSF has made the funds available in support of provincial governments' skills development initiatives under provincial growth and development strategies.

The funding is in line with the Skills Development Act which intended to develop the skills of the South African workforce and to improve the quality of life of workers and their prospects of work.

It will also improve productivity in the workplace and the competitiveness of employers and to promote self-employment.

A draft Skills Development Amendment Bill that transfers the powers for artisan development to the Skills Development Act from the Manpower Training Act has been prepared. This will also ensure the quality of skills development through the proposed establishment of the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).

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