The rejuvenation of artisan training is one of the stated priorities of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). 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.
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.
In 2013, 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 first completion of the programme was in 2016.
At an event held in Johannesburg in August 2018, 77 more artisans graduated from the programme. Of this, 32 women of different trades completed their qualification.
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.
With a shortage of artisans and an oversupply of untrained young people, South Africa needs to look at innovative ways of giving youths the skills they need to add value to industry and thereby earn a decent living. The Accelerated Artisan Training Project has proved to be a good way of doing exactly that.” said Ken Duncan, CEO, SSACI.
The primary objective of the project is to pilot a financially sustainable and quality assured artisan training system in terms of the new national regulations governing the implementation of learning programmes, the funding of apprenticeships and the administration of trade tests. In addition, it aims to open up the training capacity of small and medium sized companies and workplaces, which once activated will remain available for ongoing training.
The programme also aims to increase the number of women in the artisan field. The intention is to have 40% female apprentices entered into the programme at every intake.
“HWSETAs relationship with SSACI has been nothing but successful. We are proud of every graduate and are especially excited for the increased intake of female apprentices. This partnership will help fulfil our mandate of upskilling artisans and will continue to grow” said Elaine Brass, Acting CEO, HWSETA.