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.

The Bankseta's training voucher scheme for smaller businesses has been a great success, so the organisation is going to repeat the exercise this year.

Learnerships require a lot of work, from the learners and from the employers, and the temptation is always there to throw in the towel. Selby Mthunywa experienced difficulties with his studies but he just worked harder and is now succeeding.

Workshops have been held in various provinces in an attempt to ensure that all areas of the country are able to participate in skills development initiatives. The events combined details of the National Skills Development Strategy with provincial growth plans to ensure all activities are aligned.

Services Seta CEO Ivor Blumenthal supports the retention of the tax deduction for employers running learnerships, but calls for the deduction to be extended over a number of years to encourage permanent employment.

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana has lauded the Cabinet’s appointment of veteran unionist Gwede Mantashe to head the newly-established Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa).

The national cabinet has finalised the composition of the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa) and appointed union and business leaders who will drive the initiative to address the national skills shortage.

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana has called on organised labour to support skills development initiatives and not be concerned about their voice in Seta structures.

The Services Seta has undergone a major restructuring of its governance structures comprising organised business and labour. CEO Ivor Blumenthal explains the thinking behind the changes.

The Publishers' Association of South Africa successfully concluded their internships programme and Mappp Seta Chamber Co-ordinator Trish Persad says the project was a success.

Learnerships have been promoted as the primary tool to address the country’s skills shortage and to assist young people acquire skills that will secure them employment. But with the Minister of Labour highlighting incidences of abuse of learners, how do we maintain trust in this new form of training and ensure high standards of learning?

In an effort to increase the number of people with disabilities enrolled on learnerships, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel announced more generous tax incentives in his 2006 budget. While they have been praised by Setas, there are other problems that still have to be overcome in placing people with disabilities on learnerships.

A Seta doesn't have to have offices in all provinces for their programmes to reach the rural areas. Fasset has received praise from the Minister of Labour for their social development projects in outlying areas in a number of provinces.

According to Services Seta CEO, Ivor Blumenthal, a good manager uses the National Qualifications Framework standards in the assessment of competency, when appraising performance. His Seta has launched a new programme to promote this practice.

Absa is supporting the third Bankseta Letsema Learnership Project that promises to empower more previously disadvantaged young people. National GM Arrie Rautenbach describes the project as vital in the national effort to meet the sector's skills needs.

Changes are proposed in the 2006 Budget in the way that Seta grants are dealt with by companies.

Setas paid out more than R3 billion in mandatory grants and over R500 million in discretionary grants in the current financial year, according to figures released with the national budget.

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has announced a number of changes to the learnership allowance to further encourage the use of learnerships to promote training and job creation, and to assist employers of learners with disabilities.

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has announced that the learnership tax allowance will be extended for a further five years, and will be increased in value. There will also be additional incentives.

In the current financial year the National Skills Fund had income of more than R1,1 billion and expenses of R1,3 billion, according to figures released with Trevor Manuel?s 2006 budget.

Education and Skills Development form a key focus area for the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative, Asgisa. Once again the lack of skills is identified as a major problem for the country and a number of initiatives are planned to address the problem.

As announced by President Mbeki, a new national body will be formed of all stakeholder groups to co-ordinate efforts to address the country?s skills shortage.

Minister of Labour, Membathisi Mdladlana, made the point very strongly when questioned about apprenticeships: they are not banned and employers are encouraged to take on apprentices in their workplaces.


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