There is so much happening in the area of workplace based education and training and many providers are floundering in the dark as communication is sadly lacking on all fronts.

Some members of Skills Universe have joined (TAPPP) The Association of Professional Private Providers while others are members of (APPETD) Association of Private Providers of Education, Training and Development, (ASDFSA) Association of Skills Development Facilitators SA. Others may well be members of other relate bodies.

However unless you are a member of such bodies and are prepared to pay their annual subscription fees you are going to be left in the dark. Personally I am not a member of either for a variety of reasons.

The Skills Univers has nearly 7000 members many of whome are involved in workplace based education and training and perhaps we can somehow do something additional to keep these people more up to date and informed. We need to have a defined objective and we need to unite in our efforts. What I am advocating is that wheter you are an assessor, moderator, SDF, provider, facilitatior, HR Practitioner, training manager or whatever we should not have 5 or 6 different bodies representing us and fighting for a share of the market. We need a representative body, preferably with no fees involved, where we can all work together for the common good and in order to achieve our objectives.

Perhaps I am wrong? What are your thoughts? Let's have some constructive discussion please (I'm feeling brave today)

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Des, i agree with your views. I am wondering what is unique about the other bodies that they need people to pay. i will visit them and see what they offer. This industry, ETD, seems to be challenging. i hope we shall get to a stage where we will find each other and engage in activities of mutual benefit. These platforms are a good start.

I could not agree more. Otherwise we face the danger facing all other sectors, especially enterprise development - disenfranchised and therefore our impact (as little or much it can be) is unrecognisable and even almost invaluable. Coordination is the way to go.


Thanks Des

Hi Des, I totally agree with you! But how should we go about it?

I totally agree with you Des.


In my opinion I think that with the dawn of an information evolution, news will start to be shared more often via social networks like Skills Universe which is FREE, up to date, informed and comprises of user generated content.


Eventually, soon, the more traditional and generational practitioners will cotton onto open source information streams of communication, and realise that paid for, subscription type associations will be as outdated as yo-yo's.


How do you think Wikipedia began? They took Encyclopedia Britannica's market share in total of a few years... Because it is all open source and free!

I fully agree that there is a necessity to have a representative body to look after all our interests. It would be difficult to achieve as we have a tendency in this country for people to be in charge. The difficulty would be with the people/directors and officers of the various organisations to give up their positions and join a new body. How would you like to finance the work of the new body without some subscription?

Des, in the early days and currently APPETD is lobbying for Private Providers whether they are members or not. One just needs to note the different structures where APPETD board members represent private providers. I am saddened by the apathy shown by some private providers towards attendance at regional forums, in the Eastern Cape to be specific. The previous CEO of APPETD cautioned in 2007 against the challenges that we will face unless we group together and speak with a national voice. The few private providers that attended these forums understood these challenges way back. Strange as it may sound, these forums were funded by the Department of Labour. My point in this regards is simply "divided we stand & united we fall"

This now raises another question regarding representation. Is it not time that we as Practitioners engage with The South African Board for People Practices (SABPP) to seek professional recognition via registration with this body. I know that their current policy framework make provision for assistance to Practitioners to achieve registration requirements within the different registration categories.

Kind Regards

Alfie R Wagner CHRP

I am in full agreement with what you are saying Des, because ETD is dynamic and one needs to be on the cutting edge of information, so that we are able to prepare ourselves and can keep up with the changes. Yesterday I read an interesting article by Dr Marina le Grange on the QCTO and that gave me a valuable information regarding the QCTO and how it is going to impact on our industry. We really do need a platform that will cater for everyone who is a stakeholder in the ETD environment.
Hi Des,
Very nice idea. I am also sitting with the problem of paying my own membership fee and I can tell you it is costly. You must inform us if there is anything that we can assist you with so that we can really get this thing of the ground.

Hi Hennie

The funding of a new body would depend entirely on the work being done by such a body were it to materialise. I see no reason why members would need to pay up front - payment coud be by means of a levy, a contribution for functions attended and so on. Whatever way the cookie crumbles payment should only relate to action. 

I would really be keen to wait for more ideas and constructive comments and suggestions.

Hennie Potgieter said:

I fully agree that there is a necessity to have a representative body to look after all our interests. It would be difficult to achieve as we have a tendency in this country for people to be in charge. The difficulty would be with the people/directors and officers of the various organisations to give up their positions and join a new body. How would you like to finance the work of the new body without some subscription?
Hello Des, Clearly we need more information and support and it is interesting how many of us are trying to do something. The Mentoring Network is such a body, focusing on the improvement of quality ETD. We have actually been operating for some five years already, but in the past our support was limited to members who happend to be mostly emerging private providers. Now the doors are open to anybody who is serious about offering sound quality ETD. However, I agree with those who feel that we should not reinvent the wheel, which is why I am also speaking to the APPETD, TAPPP and SABPP to see where we can cooperate. I would even be willing to integrate The Mentoring Network with one of them, should it prove to be beneficial to the promotion of QA in ETD, the interests of private providers and the learners in general. The Mentoring Network has an annual subscription fee, but we make sure that our members save substantially by joining us. Besides, it might sometimes be necessary to incur expenses, for example to stand up for the interest of members in court. This costs money and one needs a reserve to fall back on. In summary, I support the idea but feel we should cooperate and not have a multitude of overlapping and perhaps even competing bodies. JPN

Hi Des,

         The idea of a National "umbrella" Union or Federation has to be a consideration both for now and in the future. We can sit and watch the very slow erosion of many peoples ideas and efforts gradually  being washed away by the ever mounting volumes of legislation; however to be ahead of the rising tide is a full time occupation and I might add that it is through the Skills Universe that we are able swim. As an aside I read a nice slogan recently that "only dead fish swim with the tide".

Many of the Associations remain quiet and do not use this medium to actively participate and voice their concerns. There is little doubt that we have great issues to solve and to remain silent will  tend to be seen as either weakness or apathy. From the lively and informed debates penned through this "Portal" no-one can be accused of this....however  it clearly becomes necessary to harness this energy.

As a start how about a National Conference whereby practitioners, academics etc can begin to start the process. We can then commence the crafting of a truely National body.


Hi Paul,


Great idea we should also see to it that all the associations mentioned here are present and seek inclusivity and not exclusivity.  Most of the associations are excluding  people whether by qualification, interest or otherwise. It would be good for all of us to ensure that we all focus on solving the skills problems of this country. 


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