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.

Bankseta has identified youth development as one of the Seta?s key areas of focus over the next five years - building on in the success of 1 500 who have already taken part in the Letsema Learnership project.

Even when armed with the relevant academic knowledge, first-time employees can still struggle to get to grips with performing well in a corporate environment. Fasset is attempting to alleviate this problem with its work readiness programme - Thuthuka.

The new version of the National Skills Development Strategy calls on Setas to establish Institutes of Sectoral Excellence, but doesn't give any indication of what these bodies would look like. Services Seta CEO Ivor Blumenthal is the first to flesh out exactly how these institutes could work.

While the Department of Labour has decided not to continue with the Investors in People standard, that doesn't mean that IIP is no longer available in South Africa. Bankseta manager Daphne Hamilton has just completed a visit to the UK and she reports that a local license holder is on the cards.

Changes to the skills levy system will see many smaller employers exempted from paying the monthly levy. This has been anticipated by the Services Seta who have undergone a major restructuring in anticipation of the loss of more than 90 percent of their member companies.

Despite changes to the Skills Development Act Regulations, Setas still require consultation with workers when preparing Workplace Skills Plans. But does that mean that the company has to have a committee? Maybe not.

"The Investors in People standard is alive and well and gaining momentum in the banking sector in South Africa,' says Bankseta ETQA and Investors in People Manager, Daphne Hamilton.

As the role of the Skills Development Facilitator matures, their status in business will change. Should SDFs now be housed under the Human Resources profession ETQA and have a qualification before fulfilling the skills planning role?

The Esdle or group training initiative has been promoted as a way for small businesses to access the benefits of the learnership programme without incurring the administrative burden. The excellent post-learnership employment rate achieved by the I-Fundi Esdle leads the Minister of Labour to believe this is a model that can work.

Do the new regulations released in July mean that employers no longer have to consult with their employees about their Workplace Skills Plan? And what about the role of the SDF under these new rules? We have a look at the new rules and assess their implications.

Services Seta CEO Ivor Blumenthal characterises claims about him in a recent article on The Skills Portal as 'rubbish' - and says individuals concerned back his side of the story. We publish his full response.

Services Seta chief executive Ivor Blumenthal, who caused a furore in May with comments that the National Skills Development Strategy could sound the death knell for private training providers, is again in hot water - this time over remarks concerning the future of skills development facilitators.

The Seta for the banking and micro-finance sector has developed a strategy matrix to ensure that it meets the new targets that it has been set by the second National Skills Development Strategy.

The Minister of Labour has proposed that FET Colleges should be moved from the Education Department to the juristiction of the Department of Labour to enhance the delivery of skills training.

Ensuring that their learnership projects achieve the highest educational level is not a burden for In-tuition, it is non-negotiable for this dynamic Cape-based training provider.

The Foodbev Seta has held graduation ceremonies in Johannesburg and Cape Town for more than 550 learners who have successfully completed learnership projects in their sector.

Employers looking for suitably qualified young people for training and employment opportunities can now access the Umsobomvu's database of nearly 40 000 proactive youth.

The Community Development Workers learnership is helping one learner in the Boland fulfill a childhood dream and equiping him with the skills to assist his community.

Lead employer The X-Pert Group accussed the Services Seta of putting their own interests ahead of those of the disabled learners on a project management learnership. According to CEO Ivor Blumenthal, the Services Seta tried many times to accomodate the learners but could not accede to the X-Pert Group's request for a double learnership allowance.

55 learners with disabilities have had their learnership agreements terminated by the Services Seta, one month before the learner assessment was scheduled to begin.

It was the "end of a dream? for 543 domestic workers as they stepped on stage to receive their Learnership certificates from Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony for 789 learners from their Letsema project, Bankseta CEO Frank Groenewald told the gathering that the project will be repeated with even higher targets for the new intake.

For Lawrence Mlotshwa, a senior Absa executive, Learnerships are a key tool in the bank's armoury as it struggles to develop the country's human resources.

"It is extremely gratifying to see how learners in our sector have empowered themselves by embracing fully the opportunity to improve their skills levels through learnerships,' says Bankseta Skills Development and Learnership Manager,' Sandra Dunn.


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