The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande said the Department of Higher Education and Training has embarked on generating the Scarce, Critical Skills as well as the Occupations in High Demand lists to guide programme offerings and student enrolments in the PSET institutions.
The Minister said the Department of Higher Education and Training is finalising the Skills Strategy, whilst the Department of Science and Innovation is finalising the Innovation Strategy. Both these strategies will support the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) of government.
Whilst this work is underway, targets are set for the placement of graduates in work places so that they are work-ready for easy absorption into the world of work, given that the lack of work experience is often the barrier to securing gainful and permanent employment among young people.
“Entrepreneurship hubs are being established at TVET Colleges to support students to move into self-employment after completion of their programmes,” said Minister Nzimande.
Minister Nzimande said both the Universities and TVET Colleges curricula are strengthened to be relevant to skills required by the national economy and that of the world. This is to ensure that the PSET sector produces world class graduates who, more importantly, are able to participate and grow the South African local economy and help in the local job creation drive and the implementation of the Economic
Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP).
“At various intervals our universities aligns their study programmes to these national priorities, whilst our TVET colleges are gradually aligning their programme offerings to the needs of local employers and communities,” emphasised Minister Nzimande.
The Minister said that some of these changes are happening within current programme offerings whilst many colleges are introducing new occupational offerings that are in demand within their specific local economic context.
“In addition, there has been an extensive review of much of the TVET curricula to make them relevant and keep them current, and this will continue for the next several years. The focus at the moment is on digital and related skills to meet job demands driven by the 4th Industrial Revolution,” said the Minister.
Minister Nzimande said the Department of Higher Education and Training also initiated different programmes aimed at encouraging young people to become artisans.
“In 2014 we launched the Decade of the Artisan at Ekurhuleni East TVET college which is a campaign that seeks to promote artisanship as a career of choice for South Africa’s youth as well as highlight skills development opportunities for artisans. This was aimed at developing qualified artisans to support the South African economy, particularly in light of the successful implementation of the Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SPIs). The theme of this campaign was ‘It’s cool to be a 21st century artisan’, highlighted Minister Nzimande.
Minister Nzimande said in 2017 the Department begun with the establishment of Centres of Specialisation in more than 20 colleges focusing on thirteen (13) designated trades. Centres of Specialisation in the TVET College sector is a programme which aims to inform college differentiation, promote quality teaching and learning, facilitate responsiveness and provide a model for the implementation of QCTO’s trade qualifications at the same time as it develops artisanal skills.
In relation to artisan training, Minister Nzimande said that in 2018/2019 financial year, the number of registrations was at 29 982. However, due to the economic slowdown and COVID-19, this number dropped to 16 218 in 2019/2020 year and the number is expected to further drop in 2020/2021 year due to the current pandemic. The pandemic affected all the Skills Development Providers including public and private.
In relation to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey Quarter 2: 2021, Minister Nzimande said the PSET sector will further study the survey report. From the surface, the survey findings confirm in the main what the Skills and Innovation strategies seek to address: provision of the necessary skills for youth and adults that will enable them to be absorbed and to create jobs within the formal and the informal economy.
Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation DST Building (53), CSIR Campus
Meiring Naude Road
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