Every workplace must be a training space - Nzimande

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Durban - There are almost three million young people who are not in employment, education or any form of training, and South Africa should be preoccupied with finding ways to address this problem before it explodes.

Speaking at launch of the KwaZulu-Natal Inter-Seta Forum, Minister for Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande said there are about 2 000 University of Technology students who cannot complete their studies and graduate because they do not have the workplace learning component required to do so.

The Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) have learnerships which are fully funded through the Skills Development Levy but most learnerships, said Nzimande, do not align with the needs of the students who are in public institutions.

"We have SETAs which have the capacity and resources to facilitate this," said Nzimande.
eThekwini Municipality mayor James Nxumalo, the chairperson of the KZN Inter-Seta Forum, Frank Ingram, and chair of the SETA CEO Forum, Joel Dikgole added their input on a variety of issues affecting the SETA landscape and the way they see the future.

Nzimande also called on all SETAs to open offices in the townships and rural areas and train skills development facilitators from the areas.

"Our rural areas are being depleted, while the urban areas are over-burdened. A false impression is created that there are no possibilities of creating viable economic activities in the rural areas. We must prioritise skills for rural development," said Nzimande.

He added: "It is also important to change the colour and gender of skills facilitators from rural areas and localities in order to bring skills development closer to where communities are."

While Nzimande lauded the eThekwini Municipality for its initiative, he encouraged other municipalities to open their workplaces for training, especially to absorb FET college students for workplace exposure through learnerships and apprenticeships.

The minister also called upon the labour movement to ensure that every workplace becomes a training space.

A signing ceremony and an adoption of a memorandum of understanding with the minister, SETAs, FET colleges and the eThekwini Municipality also took place.