Johannesburg, 5 March 2016: Unless South Africa ramps up its annual training of artisans to 30 000 a year by 2030, the country’s requirement for artisans in the construction, engineering and other relevant sectors will not be met and the impact will be felt in the sustainability of these industries and very importantly, economic growth. The decline in the training of artisans started in the mid-1980s and by 2013 was identified as an urgent priority for the country.
The revival of artisan training is one of the stated priorities of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). To this end, artisan training has become a key performance area for South Africa’s 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) with each SETA having committed to a target figure of trained artisans.
In 2013, the Health and Welfare SETA (HWSETA) partnered with the Swiss-South African Cooperation Initiative (SSACI) to train 100 out-of-school, unemployed young South Africans with skills in demand by employers and institutions in the health and social development sectors. The successful completion of trade tests by 68 of this group was celebrated at a function hosted in Johannesburg on 5 March 2016.
The HWSETA committed R16.8 million in funding for the theoretical and practical training of the selected youngsters as boilermakers; electricians; fitters; fitters and turners; millwrights; as well as tool, jig and die makers.
In the past, an artisan’s training spanned a period of three to four years, however over the last three years national regulations and procedures for artisan training have undergone a major overhaul.
“This project seeks to trailblaze the shortest possible route to an artisan qualification,” comments Ken Duncan, CEO for SSACI “and it opens a sustainable new pathway that will henceforth be offered within the mainstream national skills training system.”
“After a long interval during which the country’s industrial skills base was allowed to shrink through a serious lack of training in the artisan trades, apprenticeships are back.” continues Duncan. “The world of work has changed a great deal but so too have apprenticeships – they have moved with the times and remain as effective as ever in providing school-leavers with technical skills that are sought by industry and open doors to decent employment.”
“South Africa’s artisan training target of 30 000 artisans annually by 2030 is a massive challenge, but if every role player that is able to participate does so, as a country we can succeed and it is because of this that the HWSETA sees this project as a valuable contribution not only to address the country’s artisan shortage, but also to address poverty, unemployment and inequality,” comments Yvonne Mbane, CEO for the HWSETA.
As the SETA that operates within the health, social development and veterinary sectors, artisan training is not the HWSETA’s core business and therefore an area where the expertise of an organisation such as SSACI was required. Through SSACI’s involvement in this project, the HWSETA is assured that the funding committed to the training of these artisans will at completion contribute to the country’s artisan requirements, as well as assist these young people with a viable future as a trained artisan.
The graduation of these artisans is the first major milestone in the collaboration between the HWSETA and SSACI, but it is by no means the end of the road. There are other projects underway that will see more artisans qualifying and then able to contribute to the artisan skills pool.
“The successful completion of this project will make an important contribution to the HWSETA fulfilling its mandate of upskilling artisans in South Africa and the HWSETA has every intention of pursuing further such opportunities,” concludes Ms Mbane.
About the HWSETA
Skills development is a national priority for South Africa and meeting the country’s skills needs requires collaboration between numerous public and government entities, educational institutions, training providers, as well as private organisations, no matter how big or small.
South Africa’s economy is divided into functional sectors and each of these sectors is represented by one of 21 Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs). The Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) is responsible for the education, training and skills development requirements of the health, social development and veterinary sectors.
The HWSETA exists to achieve the following within the sectors it serves:
• Develop and implement the Sector Skills Plan
• Skills development planning, programmes and initiatives
• Monitoring of education and training
• Identification of workplaces for practical work experience
• Support and facilitate the development of the National Skills Development Strategy
• Disbursement of levies collected
• Forge links with all stakeholders and relevant bodies
• Account for the effective and efficient use of public monies in line with the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act
• Promotion of the employment of disabled persons
About the Swiss-South African Cooperation Initiative
The Swiss-South African Cooperation Initiative is a public-private partnership in development between the Swiss and South African governments and Swiss and South African companies. It aims to improve the national, public skills training system and to open up new pathways to employment for young South Africans through innovative training projects.
Through SSACI, Swiss companies and the Swiss government have together committed over R100 million to skills development for South African youths. Working alongside government and partnering with other development agencies, SSACI has developed and implemented projects that can be taken to scale for maximum impact.
Tel: 011 607 7015/083 644 1700