Skills Development

Skills Development in South Africa is governed under the Skills Development Act 97 of 1998, which has subsequently been amended a number of times. The national government's Department of Higher Education and Training is responsible for managing and developing all higher education and skills development training. The current Minister is Dr Blade Nzimande.

A new database launched by the Services Seta aims to gather accurate information on the level of skills scarcity in their sector. Unemployed or underemployed graduates are invited to list their details on the database which can be accessed by sector employers wishing to fill vacancies for skilled positions.

Dr Robin Stead from SkillWise believes that skills acquisition is about more than acquiring, its mainly about behavioural change and he believes that this means that certain key ingredients have to be present in the 'training mix'.

The insurance Seta has kicked off its efforts to develop an Institute of Sectoral Excellence, as outlined in the National skills Development Strategy, with a grant to the UCT Graduate School of Business which will be developing management talent in the insurance sector.

48 police station commissioners have with been awarded certificates after completing a six months? Station Management Learning Programme in an initiative which will see the all the country's 1 128 commissioners undergoing training.

Nedbank's Ronell Lennert gives Bankseta learners the thumbs up - and has encouraged the government to offer continuous funding for projects such as the Letsema learnership initiative.

Unisa and Nissan South Africa have signed an agreement which will see 25 Nissan employees benefitting from bursaries to study at the university - and the university has called on other companies to follow suit.

For employees who have been performing in a job for many years without any formal qualifications for what they do, recognition of prior learning (RPL) is good news. But Mark Orpen from the Institute of People Development explains that there are strong spin-offs for the employer as well.

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana has called on FET Colleges, and private providers of artisan training, to ensure that they include sufficient practical training in their courses and don?t? rely too heavily on the theoretical.

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana has responded to recent calls for the re-introduction of apprenticeships by explaining that they never went away. Addressing parliament he declared apprenticehips - "Alive and well and kicking and legal!'

Finally putting to rest speculation that learnerships have not been effective in dealing with unemployment, the Minister of Labour has announced figures showing a 71% placement rate for learners who have completed learnerships and other skills development interventions. He also declared apprenticeships, "alive and well and kicking and legal!"

Parliament heard details of a range of training programmes run across the country by the Department of Labour. According to the Minister of Labour the interventions were successfully completed and most participants were subsequently placed in employment. He also announced a new subsistence allowance for learners on Department schemes.

Finance and accounting Seta, Fasset held a celebratory event to look back at their successful social development projects. While they said they were being a bit "smug?, in fact they were quick to heap praise on the stakeholders who partnered them in these ventures.

After three or four years at university many graduates find that they still don?t have the competencies they need to get employment. A work readiness programme, supported by Fasset, is showing that a targeted intervention can turn the unemployable into the kind of candidates that companies want, in only 12 weeks.

Marietta van Rooyen has just returned from a fact finding mission to Australia where she was able to meet with senior education officials responsible for quality assurance. There was a lot to learn from the Australian system, including the way they accredit providers.

Support from the financial Seta, Fasset, has seen 51 accounting students who were left without a campus move on to success at the University of Johannesburg. CEO Cheryl James was immediately impressed with the learners' enthusiasm and passion for the future.

Marietta van Rooyen was concerned about the demise of the Verifier unit standard. Erik Hallendorff from TLN and the Assessor SGB is certain of the importance of verifiers, but he doesn't believe that there must be specific unit standard.

Malusi Gigaba argues that South Africa must actively recruit skilled workers from other countries in Africa to address our skilled shortages. He accepts that this may be a controversial view but argues that if we don't, other countries will, to ensure they get access to these scarce, skilled individuals.

The Minister of Labour has defended Setas from complaints that they are no longer assisting SMEs who are not contributing to the Skills Development Levy. However he also claimed that "some Setas are cheaters' and chasing targets without ensuring that they meet the needs of learners and employers.

The chemical industries Seta, Chieta, is addressing the problems that small businesses in their sector face when they try to train their staff. They have launched a voucher scheme which will see accredited training delivered in participating small businesses.

Why has there been so little uptake on the Verifier unit standard? And why has the SGB declined to renew this particular standard? Marietta van Rooyen believes that a Verifier plays an important role in the NQF system and proposes that the decision to discontinue it should be debated further.

The transport sector in South Africa employs more than 1/2 million people and according to Teta CEO Dr Piet Bothma, is the life blood of a country. In the run-up to 2010, infrastructure is being upgraded and developed so the sector needs more people skilled in transport operations and support functions.

The financial services Seta, Fasset, is offering to assist non-levy paying companies in their sector with grants for training and development. Companies who want to take part must register with Fasset to become eligible for grant funding.

Community Policing Forums in Mpumalanga are set to receive training at institutions accredited by the Safety and Security Seta according to Safety and Security spokesperson Putsoa Makua who believes that CPFs in the province lacked capacity in problem solving among other disciplines as required by the legislation.

Fasset registered a NQF Level 5 learnership for Debt Collectors in December 2005. "The learnership is a first for the debt collection industry in South Africa. Prior to its development, no formal qualification existed for debt collectors in South Africa,' says Fasset CEO, Cheryl James.

The Services Seta has signed international agreements with three territories that will see a number of qualifications falling under its scope achieving international equivalence.

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