HRD Council maps out skills plan

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pretoria - The Human Resource Development (HRD) council has established a work plan for the next year.

The plan, which was announced on Friday, spreads across five key priorities and will help the council achieve its objective of ensuring that the country has the skills needed for accelerated economic growth and social development.

In their meeting, which was chaired by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and attended by ministers, organised labour, organised business, education and civil society, the council agreed to strengthen and support Further Education and Training (FET) colleges.

FETs have been plagued by low pass rates, poor planning and financial mismanagement.

The council planed to expand access to FETs, in conjunction with remedial measures.

There are plans to increase the production of intermediate skills, artisans in particular, and professionals.

According to Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande, this might be a challenge.

Nzimande said although a number of young people were enrolled in universities, they could not access workplaces to continue the other part of their qualification.

"They are unable to qualify for certain professions. Accountants, architects, engineers, town planners, etc, are some of the professions affected by these bottlenecks in the system," Nzimande said.

Some partnerships have already been established between government and the private sector to increase the number of artisans.

This work will be taken forward by the Technical Working Group of Council.

The council, which was established in March this year, also plans to increase production of academics and stronger industry-university partnerships in research and development. There are also plans for foundational learning and worker education.

The council received a presentation on the model used by the accounting profession to address the bottlenecks in the production of Chartered Accountants.

The model intervenes in the entire skills pipeline, starting with career awareness and support at school, tertiary and post-graduate levels.

The council adopted this model and agreed to build further on the experiences learnt with impetus of improving human resources in other professions.

The HRD council aims to reduce poverty and unemployment, promote justice and social cohesion and improve national economic growth.

The council, which is a multi-sector, multi-stakeholder and expert-led advisory group, will assist government in promoting participation of all stakeholders in planning, monitoring and evaluating human resource development activities in the country.