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June 14, 2019 By Dhesan Govender 0 Comment

HWSETA funds Diesel Mechanic Trade Linked to the Centre of Specialisation Programme

Diesel engines are an essential part of the world’s transport and industrial infrastructure. With an increasing demand for diesel-powered vehicles in the industry, South African businesses need to employ certified diesel mechanics to diagnose, repair and maintain diesel-operated vehicles and machinery. The diesel mechanic trade has been identified as one of the 13 priority trades by the department of higher education and training and will provide many opportunities for diesel mechanics.

The National Skills Development Plan (NSDP) 2030, gazetted by former Minister of Higher Education and Training (DHET), Dr Naledi Pandor on 7 March 2019, stipulates that in order to achieve high levels of economic growth, reduce the high unemployment rate and eradicate poverty, the public and private sectors must work together by investing in skills development.

The Centre of Specialisation (CoS) programme was introduced by DHET in March 2018 to train artisans in the 13 priority in-demand trades, and establish strong partnerships between TVET colleges and employers that will build better apprenticeship systems and lay the foundation for college differentiation. This programme will also aid in achieving the country’s need to produce 30 000 artisans a year to meet South Africa’s need for trained artisans by 2030.

In her speech at the launch of the Centres of Specialisation Artisan Programme in Midrand on 9 March 2018, Minister Pandor said the department expected to secure partnerships to implement effective programmes for training artisans in a range of sectors. Each SETA was mandated to provide funding in one of 13 priority trades. The HWSETA has partnered with two TVET colleges (ORBIT and Mopane South East TVET colleges) and 10 employers from Limpopo, Gauteng and North West to provide funding for the diesel mechanic trade for 44 learners.

A partnership with TVET colleges and private employers creates a dual system of apprenticeships that will combine technical education with simulated practical training offering accurate work experience in an integrated learning programme with employers in the driver’s seat. This will triple combat the imbalances of the past by positively contributing towards the objectives detailed in the NSDP, as a three-way partnership between the SETAs, private employers and TVET colleges will work collaboratively in contributing to skills development.

On 9 April 2019, the DHET officially launched the Centres of Specialisation programme at ORBIT TVET College (Brits Campus), where all the 21 SETAs were invited to attend. “We have committed R8.6 million to this project where the CoS programme will run for three years and these learners will receive practical training at private companies in Limpopo, and North West such as the Great North Transport, SA Nuclear Energy Corporation, Ditsibi Motor Engineering Dreyer Earthmoving and others,” said Mr Mlulamisi Mhlanga, HWSETA’s WSP manager. “This close interaction between the colleges and employers throughout the partnership will not only accelerate artisan turnout but will also bring employers close to the graduates as they’ll be able to approach them from this programme,” he concluded.

For each trade linked to the participating TVET colleges, the DHET has appointed an occupational team convener (OTC) responsible for driving project outcomes. The OTCs are appointed experts who are either trade assessors drawn from accredited trade test centres, who conduct the trade tests for the particular trade; employers and unionists from across the sectors where the trade is principally employed, or officials who teach the practical training or the theoretical foundation of the trade at a college.

The HWSETA’s appointed OTC, Mr Christo Basson, is a subject matter expert in the diesel trade and has extensive experience in the field along with TVET and SETA know-how. “It is exciting to be part of this innovative project with DHET which puts the latest occupational trade curriculum to the test, that is bound to deliver artisans that are fully conversant with the latest technology and processes in the trade of diesel mechanic. They will be sought-after artisans in the industry,” said Basson.

The successful completion of this project will contribute to meeting the needs of the diesel mechanic trade in the country. The HWSETA’s role in the CoS programme will move a step closer towards increasing the employment rate among young people who will become active contributors and participants in the economic growth of the country.