In an effort to ramp up skills development in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges R150 million has been allocated from the National Skills Fund.
According to Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education Science and Technology the department will continue to focus on upgrading TVET colleges to meet skills shortages in the country.
During his budge vote address earlier in the month the minister announced that the TVET sector would receive a total of R10, 727 339 Billion for the 2019/2020 year.
He touched on both the challenges and latest initiatives that have been introduced to improve the landscape.
Centres of Specialisation
According to Nzimande the recently launched Centres of Specialisation (CoS) pilot has been prioritized to improve the production of artisans. The aim is to train 780 young people in artisan skills and assist 26 TVET college campuses.
The project currently has industry partners in 13 priority trades and occupations.
"Through the National Skills Fund, we have made available R150 million to upgrade workshops at TVET colleges to meet industry requirements. "
Employers who participate in the Centres of Specialisation programme will receive a discretionary grant through the assistance of the Seta's.
Curricula and Lecturers
The department also aims to update the TVET College curricula in order to make the learning outcomes current and relevant to workplace practices.
"However we are deeply concerned that despite the increase in funding to TVET Colleges, student performance has not improved."
As a result there is an increased focus on "institutionalizing lecturer capacity building using funding from the skills levy system".
"A similar process was adopted in the university sector almost a decade ago, with very positive results. "
"We have also established a task team to address the backlogs on the issuing of TVET certification."
According to the minister's report the certification backlog had been reduced to 15 000 from 236 000 NC (V) certificates by January 2019.
"We will continue to work towards eliminating this backlog."