Why can't a plumber or boilermaker get an artisan's degree?


Dear Editor

I am a SDF who consults with many diverse businesses. There is an alarming
shortage of artisans in SA. And it is true about young people who rather
want to pursue a career in IT or other office bound employment. I think the
media has a lot to do with it, as there are no TV programmes or movies which
feature the hero as an ace mechanic, plumber, boilermaker, welder etc. It
does feature a lot of hardcore, ferrari driving lawyers, doctors and IT
specialists. I wonder if they spare a brief thought about who fixes the
Ferrari and who engineered it in the first place?

And, as far as my knowledge goes, and I might be so wrong, I don't know of
any really upmarket "cool" colleges who caters for the handful of school
leavers who do want to pursue a career as an artisan. On career days for
instance, how many artisans are present to give information about their
careers? Long gone are the days where mechanics for example, looked like
grease monkeys, with the latest vehicles fitted with onboard computers, it
is necesarry for these guys to be computer literate to an above average
level in order to operate the computers which "fix" the cars. And this trend
makes it possible for female students to pursue a career in auto mechanics
as well. Nowadays you can fix a car without braking a nail. And why
can't a plumber or boilermaker get an artisan's degree? Why are there only
"courses" available where they can obtain a certificate or diploma? Surely
there is enough material to keep a artisan student busy for 3-4 years to
obtain a degree?

I think the onus rests on the schools and the media to make young people
aware of the fun and exiting artisan's careers, and the good income they can
earn. I am reasonably sure that a young qualified diesel mechanic earns
more income per month than most other of his peers who are otherwise

There is a lot we can do to change the situation, and we should get the
media involved on a large scale.

This is my contribution. Thanks again for this platform.