PRESS STATEMENT: Minister Nzimande

Extract from a press statement that was e-mailed to me:

Minister Nzimande discussion with leaders of business: Roundtable discussion on the artisanal training programme and the launch of National Artisan Moderation Body or the NAMB
The implementation of the occupational learning system as contemplated in the Skills Development Act 1998, as amended, continues to gain momentum. Today, the 30th November 2010, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr B. E. Nzimande, is holding a roundtable discussion with leaders of business to discuss a partnership between government and business that will work on increasing the quantity and quality of artisans.

The objectives of this roundtable discussion are to:
• Afford the Minister an opportunity to share his vision, plans and intentions with regard to the production of
artisans with business
• Seek advice, inputs, proposals and commitment from business
• Solicit commitment and partnership on the implementation of the training of artisans

We are moving towards implementing a simple, single approach apprenticeship based artisan development system
in the country as opposed to the current SETA/sector driven process that has resulted in a variety of confusing approaches to artisan development.

The current programme of training artisans, althou
gh comprehensive in that it represents all sectors of the economy, is not centrally coordinated with a monitoring and reporting system at occupational level (i.e. by trade) and there is no coordinated approach to monitoring and reporting between the FET College Sector and the SETA System. Furthermore there is no single national standard nor is there national moderation of the SETA quality assurance strategies.

The integration of FET and Skills Development infrastructure under the Department of Higher Education and Training will address the challenges of the current fragmented system.

The Department is committed to review the theoretical component provided in the FET colleges to ensure that it is relevant, of acceptable quality and standard. This includes the regular update of the assessment material and programmes. It is also committed to improve the qualitative elements of the artisan development system in South Africa to ensure that those exiting their programmes are competent.

To increase the number of artisans in the country will require a collective effort by all the stakeholders. This roundtable discussion is a call for a partnership with stakeholders, in particular industry to:
• Work much closer with FET Colleges to grow and fund the capacity and infrastructure needs of the FET Colleges to deliver the knowledge component of the artisan programme;
• Open more workplace opportunities for artisan learners including increasing the number of workplace mentors or journeymen to support artisan learners, even possibly agreeing to allow retired qualified tradesmen to return to the work place to become mentors for artisan learners.
• Provide support to improve curriculum development, governance, management, teacher support and learner support. Industry can play a significant role in providing mentorship to management at colleges; participate in curriculum development, supporting teaching through opening learning opportunities for teaching staff of colleges, etc.
• Increase the number and capacity of accredited artisan training centers, especially in rural areas where no such centers exist; be creative about how to provide training and learning opportunities and link with FETcolleges in these areas.

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