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 growth of the economy needs skills in all sectors, and one such scarce skill is management accountants who are needed by all businesses. To address this particular short supply, Fasset is working with CIMA to assist matriculants and humanities graduates to get the training and work experience they need to complete their courses.

Recognising the importance of small and micro enterprises in its sector, the Bankseta has recently established a separate SME Department and developed a SME strategy.

The Wholesale and Retail Seta board has set aside an amount of R97,5 million for discretionary grants to address four priority areas of skills development within the wholesale and retail sector.

Global paper giant, Sappi Limited has opened a skills academy at the Gauteng Innovation Hub to provide central co-ordination of its activities with a range of Setas and to provide industry-related distance learning.

The Foodbev Seta managed to move offices, hold their AGM and run a successful annual conference, all within a week! Highlight of the week was Ben Nhlapo, who recently completed a butchery learnership and was able to give the delegates some interesting insights from the learners' point of view.

The Bankseta has identified research, benchmarking and communication as important areas of focus over the next five years and the Seta has already identified a number of projects to address sector needs in each of these areas.

The successful Thutuka project that helps young people improve their accounting and maths marks, has been rolled-out to KwaZulu-Natal by the Fasset Seta.

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has powerfully asserted the need to end the country's skills crisis if national growth targets are to be met. She is proposing systemic changes to assist new labour market entrants and support FET Colleges.

Recognising that accounting firms need other skills as well as their core financial ones, Fasset has initiated their 'Incredible Journey' programme for learners who are doing non-financial learnerships.

If you are delivering a learnership or other qualifications can you integrate the fundamental unit standards into the learning, or must they be separate interventions? Marietta van Rooyen highlights some of the practical problems that providers are running into.

The CEO of the construction Seta, Themba Dlamini, has left his position without serving his notice period and vowed never to return - even if he was paid R100 million.

Bankseta CEO Frank Groenewald believes that financial literacy levels are too low in South Africa. The banking sector Seta has embarked on programme of consumer education to raise financial literacy levels which will aid the sector and the national economy.

Although only 3% of workers in Fasset's sector of the economy require adult basic education and training, the Seta has not ignored their needs. A project with the National Treasury has become one of their success stories.

Shakila Maharaj, a consultant on employment equity issues, believes that companies that truly accommodate people with disabilities can see their financial performance improve.

Representing the Minister of Education at the Services Seta Annual Conference, Department of Education Manager Andrew Bartlet said that FET colleges had failed the youth and lead to the problem of chronic unemployment.

More than 700 people attended the two-day Services Seta Annual Conference and CEO Ivor Blumenthal is very pleased that pressing issues for Setas, and the success of the economy, were explored in detail.

Minister of Labour, Membathisi Mdladlana was very clear when he spoke to the Services Seta Disability Conference; he will not remove workplace protection for people with disabilities to make the labour market more attractive to foreign investors.

Business Unity SA?s CEO, Bheki Sibiya has praised the Services Seta as an excellent performer, but believes many other Setas are not up to the job. Rather than tampering with the skills development system, Sibiya has a plan to improve performance all round.

Home Affairs Deputy Minister Malusi Gigaba was quite clear with his audience at the Services Seta conference. As part of the global economy South Africa cannot expect to stop importing foreign workers, even though domestic unemployment levels are still high.

The moratorium on learnership grants that was put in place by the Services Seta has been removed, with CEO Ivor Blumenthal announcing a number of new learnership grant opportunities.

One of the most remarkable skills development projects to date, the Amasondo Esibindi new venture creation learnership for the mobility impaired, is drawing to a close and has resulted in several learners setting up what promise to be thriving businesses.

Work readiness programmes are being promoted as a way to smooth the progress of graduates into the workforce. The upside is that they could also save business hundreds of millions of Rands, according to Skills Framework MD, Sarah Babb.

With a subject as important, and as complicated, as skills development there is a constant need for more guidance and assistance with managing a company's skills development facilitation processes. The Skills Portal Review will be examining the tools that are coming onto the market to assist SDFs with their work. This week Mike Stanton reviews The Roadmap to Learnerships, a new eBook by Suzanne Hattingh.

Marietta van Rooyen from Assessment College shares her thoughts on how training providers can contribute to the success of the National Qualifications Framework and quality training.


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