Re considering the NSDS3 9

I have been considering the implications of the proposed changes and the “changing face” of the NSDS 3. Yes, there is a need to look at and review the intentions of the NSDS.

Previously NSDS 1 & 2 appeared on face value to have merit but with hind sight I think we can safely say very little has happened to improve the lot of those for whom the NSDS was intended. This is what needs to change and in order to achieve this change we need to start thinking in terms of the present and the future and not the past.

Let’s get off the band waggon of correcting the imbalances of the past (not however to be forgotten) and start concentrating our efforts on what can be done to improve the current skills situation while at the same time making provision for future needs in this regard.

Melanie Harvard in a previously blog says – “the 2 huge needs I see are in the masses of youth who didn’t quite make it as far as grade 12, and also the need for public higher to let go of what they think they know, and re-engage with real-world needs if the qualifications learners are going to achieve are really going to equip them for the world of work properly”

This requires we consider the present and deal with the problems of the present while at the same time taking cognisance of the future.

Perhaps those who have pulled out of or failed prior to grade 12 should be encouraged to undertake a qualification at a FET College fully subsidised by means of a 1 to 3 year learnership grant. I say a FET College because I am referring to the ned for a trade or technical qualification. The subjects offered to these people should be related to the skills shortage as set out in the NSDS. Learners however would also be required to gain apractical workplace experience.

This can be achieved if companies are approached and requested to take in such learners and to put them under the guidance of a coach or mentor for the duration of the practicals. We could also make use of the expertise of unemployed, highly experienced individuals, to assist companies in providing the coaching service. There should be no expense involved for the companies involved but they could be offered tax incentives as an enducement.

We need to offer the current unemployed youth and the current school “drop outs” some help, assistance and encouragement. We need to give them a goal, we need to offer them an opportunity for self empowerment and assist them in achieving a sense of self worth and achievement.

We need to live in the present while considering the future and leaving the past behind

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About Des Squire

I specialise in Employment Equity and Skills Development issues. Qualified facilitator, assessor, moderator, verifier and SDF. Available for any related assignments and or freelance work. If ou have a need let's meet to discuss. Quotes for training on request.

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9 thoughts on “Re considering the NSDS3

  • Bosole Chidi

    I do agree that we must live in the present and consider the future but the past are also the best teacher for the present to leave the past we can not learn the future.

    Bosole Chidi

  • Bosole Chidi

    I believe that the NSDS3 will encourages Equity at most of the workplaces especially in terms of Class- wage distribution, race-racial distribution, gender-gender distribution, age profile , disability profile and HIV/Aids.The RPL access route should start upfront rather than 2016 as a National Programme.This is one of the sucess indicator.
    Bosole Chidi

  • Johan van der Merwe

    If you read the published document, you will find that the grants used by the SETA’s for training will now be used to upgrade public FET Colleges AND to pay their salaries, what do you think will be left for accual training? This is opening the door for so much abuse, it is scary!

  • Selwyn V H Schrieff

    Well said Des, I totally agree. Too little is being done to encourage the youth to learn “Hard Skills” DoL also funds projects to train the Youth in practical courses such as Plumbing, carpentry etc. In the Eastern Cape there is an Institution known as Eastcape Training Center – registered as both an FET and Apprentice Training as well as a Trade test Center

    Kind regards

    Selwyn Schrieff

  • Irene James

    As a previous employee in a higher education institution for 19 years, (culminating in being the Dean) I saw the light and escaped the public system in 2002 🙂 to form a private provider institution; therefore I feel that I am in the position to compare the quality of provision between public and private providers.

    Our little business has been very proudly fully accredited by Services SETA, and as a provisionally registered FET institution with the DoE, have had the opportunity to work with no fewer than 7 SETAs to provide full qualifications/learnerships to several blue chip companies throughout South Africa over the last eight years. And we are thriving. The support from our primary SETA and the other SETAs with whom we have extension of scope has been unwavering, and we feel very comfortable knowing that their support and requirements has always been about delivering a quality product and service. It’s all about continuous improvement in quality management systems.

    Not only have the ETQAs checked every detail throughout the process, concerning the suitability of learning material, but also the relevant subject matter expertise of facilitators and assessors,implementation capacity and procedures of the delivery of programmes to make a difference to the learners and their workplaces. Show me a public institution who can match this essential requirement. They are just not accountable.

    I agree with many of the comments of the Services SETA CEO (see below). Who in their right mind would want to partner with public institutions that are considered “second rate” by industry? If public institutions were ‘so good’, why do blue chip companies choose to commission private providers at a much higher price? Industry is not stupid. They understand that “goedkoop is duurkoop”. You get what you pay for. Public providers receive enormous subsidies from government to produce an unemployable graduate to “pound the pavements” because the public institutions (with exception) still employ old fashioned traditional training methodology – lecturers who are talking heads, so that their learners can imbibe and regurgitate for a 47% passmark (which is often pushed up to a 50% passmark to get through within public institutions.) This flies in the face of true learner competence in an Outcomes Based system – which, incidentally we view as the best thing that has ever happened to South Africa (despite the ignorant view of certain politicians.) Industry want people who understand and can “do” – measured against outcomes or results of learning. Training is expensive, and major clients are prepared to invest in quality training because they know that they will get a return on investment.

    I also agree that the “bat brigade – fly by nights” should be shut down – (it’s been along time coming), because these organizations are the ones that jeopardize the reputation of quality private organizations.
    We, as serious private providers, with the intent of making a difference to the skills base in South Africa, definitely need better representation from representative organizations. But we are also at fault, because we don’t shout loud enough to be heard.

    The bottom line is, as a private provider, if you do not deliver quality, you go out of business – unlike the public providers who are constantly bailed out by government to continue delivering a sub quality product and service. The statistics speak for themselves. And it is at the cost of poor parents who want a better life for their offspring, that they themselves were denied.

    Would we partner with a public provider? – not on your ‘nelly’ – we prefer to business partner with private providers within industry who exhibit learning culture and are serious about developing people to be more efficient.
    Irene James – Dionysus

  • Clinton Branders

    What Public Service’s umbrella will we then be able to fall under if your Private Provider only offers generic training – i.e Customer Services, Call Centre Ethics, etc, as mentioned by Ivor?

  • Johan van der Merwe

    Read this letter from Services Seta below. Unfortunately I must agree with him, the FET Colleges are and will not be able to train good artisans, they do not have the practical know how of how industry operates.

    If I were a Private Training Provider in South Africa……

    By Ivor Blumenthal, CEO : Services SETA

    As a SETA CEO, I am generally pleased as punch with the NSDS III, except with respect with what it has to say about both Public and Private Training Providers. When we were appointed in 2000 to establish SETA’s it was a very clear mandate to become agents of change and this is no better expressed than through what is envisaged in NSDS III. However where I believe the drafters have got it wrong is the role of Public Providers as this massively injusticed group of victims, and the Private Providers as totally inconsequential to the objectives of this blueprint.

    If I were a Private Training Provider in South Africa:

    1. I would be incensed and insulted by NSDS III in what it intends for me, as a Private Training Provider
    2. I would resent my tax funding being used to create unfair competition against me within a framework which artificially benefits Public Providers and forces me into a servile relationship with those Private Providers
    3. I would be angry at APPETD for acquiescing and the National Skills Authority for consenting to patronise me into a corner where I have no choice but to enter PPP’s with Public Providers if I wanted in any way to be a player in the skills agenda of this country
    4. I would ask where the ETDP SETA, my SETA has been in this argument for the new NSDS III given that I pay my levies to the ETDP SETA
    5. I would look to myself and ask: Have I done enough to lead my community of Training Providers into forums of engagement where we force respect from our so-called social partners – Organised Business, Labour and Government.

    NSDS III implies that because Private Providers are successful in their relationships with SETA’s and Public Providers are cast, as second-class citizens in their own relationships with SETA’s, there must be something nefarious that got Private Providers into this relationship. It ignores the reality that Private Providers have sweated blood for a decade in establishing their relationships with SETA’s in-spite of often insurmountable DOE and SAQA bureaucracy forcing SETA’s to apply outdated systems and standards against the Private Provision community. Bad IT systems implemented by SETA’s and under-trained and immature ETQA Departments taking years to process applications.

    NSDS III ignores the fact that Public Providers have derided and avoided doing business with SETA’s for 10 years. Often with National and Provincial directives “not to do business with SETA’s”. SETA’s have been treated by the DOE and Public Providers as second-class and inferior citizens, except where their funding is concerned. DOE representatives on the National Skills Authority have attended NSA meetings and played along with well-intentioned decisions towards integration and a seamless education framework, while going home to the DOE afterwards and strategically doing the very opposite. Preparing and implementing draconian regulations and legislation in a unilateral fashion with no social partner consultation. It is a joke in DOE that they have consistently managed to by-pass NEDLAC where legislation and regulations should be consulted in a tri-partite forum, and simply taken it from conception straight to Parliament.

    This draft document goes far enough to state that the best role for the Private Provider is in its pursuit of the objective of capacitating the Public Provider. Why should I as a Private Provider have to sacrifice my market position because the Public Provider has chosen to be arrogant rather than collaborative over the past decade?

    The real question in this scenario must be that if the only recognized Association representing my interests on the National Skills Authority, (the body which contracted for the writing of this NSDS III, which once received has now passed it on to the Minister for release) is APPETD, the Association for Private Provision, has been a member of the NSA since inception, where have they been in this discussion all along and more importantly why have they not taken a mandate from me their member or at least informed me that this regulation was imminent? Why have there not been workshops and proper organisation around creating a groundswell of interest in the implications of this blueprint?

    As importantly the question must be asked where the ETDP SETA has been all along. I am a member of that SETA as a Private Provider. I pay my Levies to and am supposed to be serviced by that SETA. The ETDP SETA is supposed to represent me at least equally in the way it takes care of the interests of the Public Training Provider on important issues. It is supposed to be charged with my best interests. Why has the ETDP SETA not been effectively used as a forum and partner for consultation, research and mandating in this regard? Is it that they have been co-opted into siding with the Public Provider entitlement as the opportunistic thing to do here?

    There is no doubt that in reading NSDS III, SETAS are given an absolute directive. If, for whatever reason, and no-matter how justified, in the last 10 years your benefits have favored the Private Training Providers – they are the ones in your ISOE. They are the ones who are listed in your 4-party agreements as the Providers. They are the ones who you have sought Constituent Assessors and Moderators from, you are now as a SETA instructed to change course. Actively court the Public Providers. Find them and bring them into a relationship with your stakeholders. Make them the Providers of choice. Fund their classrooms, their programmes; even pay their teacher’s wages. Actively reward them for success and force the Private Training Providers into a relationship of Public Participation with them whereby the Public Institution becomes an umbrella under which the Private Providers operate.

    The problem with this notion of course is that whereas there are hundreds of Public Institutions there are literally tens of thousands of Private Training Providers around and accredited. The capacity therefore for PPP’s as envisaged by these regulations is very limited unless a system of regional or provincial accreditation of Private Training Providers by Public Providers is envisaged, a form of Franchising, licensing to operate under a Public Providers brand. But nowhere is this expressed and it would certainly need to be debated.

    If I were a Private Provider perhaps the largest question I would look to answer introspectively is where I as a stakeholder in this debate have been all this time. I have been so intent in becoming accredited and making money to exploit the opportunities, that I have lost track of the national debate. I have savored the failure of the Public Provider and pounced on the opportunity to step in and form the relationship with the Private Sector, as is my right.
    I am not an idiot. I am a big boy and hence cannot have believed that this one-sided relationship, a reality for whatever reason, can have continued for much longer. Why have I of my own volition not spurred the debate and participated in creating a groundswell of engagement to correct this imbalance?

    Personally as a SETA CEO I would favor a system of privatisation of the obviously failed Public Provision network, certainly at FET level. At the HET band I would endorse a system of Private providers acting in the US-framed role as Associate Colleges – Community Colleges with the express purpose of offering Associate Degree’s capable of earning for the graduate not only access into latter years of Public Degree’s but also credit for what has been evident in Portfolios of Evidence.

    In this way we give expression to the articulation debate.

  • Nicci Attfield

    Hi Des, I always love your posts because you think things through and offer something perceptive. I agree with you, we need to explore future possibilities and perspectives which benefit all people.