Jim Freeman

The Higher Education and Training Minister has announced a new set of Setas for next year, but requires the current Setas to draw up sector skills plans to shape the National Skills Development Strategy this year. What kind of inputs are you expecting to get in four months from people who don't know if they will have jobs next year? asks Jim Freeman.

Christophe Gillet doesn?t strike one as being a person who courts controversy but he certainly raises eyebrows with his seemingly contradictory statements. The first time I see people mentally flinching is when he projects a slide in his presentation: "Fail often to succeed faster', it says.

"Turn the levy-allocation system on its head," says Jim Freeman. "Instead of giving 20 percent of what is collected to the National Skills Fund and 80 percent to the Setas, do it the other way round.' Freeman believes that in light of SA falling from 38th to 50th in the international productivity ratings it is time for drastic action.

If one had to liken the prevalence of HIV/Aids in South Africa to the seasons of the year, the country seems to be headed to a bleak winter of discontent.
Jim Freeman reports on some cutting-edge thinking on the impact of the pandemic on the local economy.

Thanks to an 18-month-long partnership with its sector education and training authority (Seta), a high profile information and communications technology company has taken a significant step towards simultaneously growing the business and addressing employment equity issues.

The recent ANC policy conference was, the fuss and bother about leadership succession notwithstanding, a bit of a disappointment for skills development practitioners and training providers. Jim Freeman looks at what actually happened, and what it might mean.

One of the Western Cape?s flagship initiatives under the government?s Expanded Public Works Programme has proved so spectacularly successful that it has been extended by a year. The Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism?s R35 million social responsibility programme, which focused primarily on building paths and tented camps in the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), started three years ago and was scheduled to end on March 31.

Jim Freeman used to think that skills development legislation was complicated - until he was introduced to the BEE Codes of Good Practice! Are you an 'exempted micro-enterprise' or a 'qualifying small enterprise'? And exactly how do you submit an application for funding to the National Skills Fund? Freeman tries to find the answers.

While there are political sensitivities about bringing highly skilled emigres and retirees back into mainstream employment in South Africa - because these will more often than not be white people - there is a growing realisation that this is a critical step in accelerating and sustaining economic growth, says Jim Freeman.

Some believe that the raising of the skills levy threshold to R500 000 will cause many hundreds of SDFs to lose their livelihood. However Jim Freeman writes that while one door is closing, a number of others are opening.


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