Higher Education and Training Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, has called on all employers to open their workplaces for the placement of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college students.
In the same vein, the Minister urged employers to give workplace exposure to TVET college lecturers, so that they can train students in what is currently needed by industry.
“The primary aim of these placements is to assist the transition of our young people from learning to working,” Nzimande said on Friday at a briefing on learning and training opportunities provided through Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs).
He reaffirmed the department’s commitment to ensure that the skills development system offers about 100 000 opportunities, including learnerships, apprenticeships and internships.
The briefing follows a two-day engagement held earlier this week by the department and SETAs on their role in fighting unemployment, inequality and poverty through skills development.
During a meeting with all 21 SETAs, Nzimande urged them to give priority to the work placement of TVET college graduates, who require workplace exposure, in order to complete their training, and to facilitate the transition from learning to working.
“Government has already spent vast amounts of money to support our youth through the TVET system, and therefore, it is important that we assist them to transition to the workplace through appropriate placement,” Nzimande said.
The parties looked at how SETAs have performed in the past five years (2016/17 to 2020/21), and collectively agreed on skills development interventions planned for the 2022/23 financial year, especially those aimed at supporting the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP).
The Minister said there is widespread agreement and commitment by the SETAs regarding a need to expand the participation of young people in skills development programmes, as well as workplace-based learning opportunities.
He said this has given practical effect in their 2022/23 annual performance plans.
“Our skills training interventions will also seek to support and strengthen the District Development Model, which aims to improve provision of services and socio-economic development in each of our 44 districts and 8 metros.”
107 000 workplace-based learning opportunities targeted
In response to the high numbers of unemployed young South Africans, Nzimande announced that the department has increased its target for workplace-based learning for the financial year, commencing on 1 April 2022, with annual target above 100 000 (107 000).
“In addition to the 107 000 workplace-based learning opportunities, we are also targeting 20 500 opportunities for apprentices, 22 500 for artisanal trades; 31 300 for those completing learnerships and 148 000 for learners entering into various skills development programmes, such as digital skills, crop production and plant production,” Nzimande said.
Additional funds will be re-allocated from the National Skills Fund (NSF), with immediate focus on work placement of graduates in TVET N6 Hospitality and Catering Services, N6 Tourism and NCV L4: Tourism learners.
The Bank SETA has also set aside R54 million for 2022/23 to reskill and upskill workers in the sector.
Nzimande announced that SETAs will support the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) in the development of critical high-end skills in selected technology areas, including the bio economy, space science, technology energy, intellectual property management, among others.
“Support will also be directed towards technical development and the artisan skills that would contribute to the commercial exploitation and social beneficiation of newly developed innovations,” Nzimande said.
Over 44 000 unemployed youth placed in learnerships
Despite losing much revenue in 2020/21 due to the skills levy holiday and COVID-19 pandemic, Nzimande said SETAs registered some significant progress for the year ended 31 March 2021.
“The SETAs, combined, placed 44 619 unemployed [people] into learnerships. Over 34 710 of them were young people below the ages of 35 years old and over 25 550 were female, at a cost of about R1 billion.
“In the same period, we placed 9 901 interns. Of these, 9 096 were young people below the age of 35 and 6 455 were female. Our SETAs spent just over R883 million in this regard,” Nzimande said.
For TVET placement, he said, SETAs placed about 8 539 learners, with 5 656 females, at a cost of R393 million.
“For the university placement, SETAs placed 5 183 learners in workplaces, at a value of R300 million,” said the Minister. – SAnews.gov.za