Who do you have to call to get good service?


I was recently tasked with writing an article about hairdressing, in particular where to find the best part-time, short courses, and online courses in hairdressing (in SA).

During my search a came across a site which provided a list of FET colleges in South Africa that offer hairdressing or hairstyling courses. South Cape College was the only FET institute in the Western Cape listed on this site. So I called them to find out a bit more about this offering.

I was immediately informed that the college no longer offered this course. The receptionist could not tell me which other FET college in the Western Cape area offered this training, however she tried to help by providing me with a list of FET colleges and contact details in the region. Namely, Boland College, College Of Cape Town, False Bay College, Northlink College, West Coast College.

As I worked my way through the contacts I quickly discovered that each college viewed itself as a separate entity and likewise every campus a separate body despite falling under the bracket of FET Colleges. One receptionist told me with great confidence that each campus offers a different course listing and I would need to phone each one to find out which, if any, offered hairdressing courses.

In total there are 5 FET colleges and 39 campuses in the Western Cape alone.

This got me thinking. What if I had been a student wanting to obtain a hairdressing qualification? Would I have called each campus? What a daunting prospect!

This experience brought to mind another. In March the Skills Portal received an email from a 38 year old woman longing to complete her matric certificate. She had approached a number of higher education and training facilities to find out the best way to do this but the response had been so poor that she had all but given up hope of ever acquiring this certificate.

I remember the tone of frustration, desperation and despair in her email. We posted the question on the Skills Universe and the response we received was phenomenal. (see discussion: “How can you get a job without a matric certificate?”)We were able to pass the suggestions on to her and others in a similar situation.

We continue to receive these kinds of requests and do our best to point people in the right direction. But what about those who aren’t familiar with information sources such as the Skills Portal and Skills Universe. Where do they go? Do they eventually reach a point where they just abandon all hope?

The government has made job creation and skills development a top priority in the country, yet it seems there has been very little practical improvement in terms of service delivery in the skills development landscape.

Yes new plans have been drawn up and new objectives have been set, but what have these plans and objectives done for the ordinary man on the street. He still has to make 39 calls if he wants to upgrade his skills set, improve his prospects for employment, provide for his family and ultimately survive.

In the latest report the Seta forum categorically stated its firm support of the Minister’s decision to restructure the skills development landscape.

“At a Seta Forum meeting held in Rosebank, Johannesburg representatives of the 21 Setas held a meeting which culminated in the release of a formal statement. The statement delivered 100% support for the Minister of Higher Education and Training”  (See article “Seta Forum lines up behind Nzimande” http://www.skillsportal.co.za/page/skills-development/487999-Seta-forum-lines-up-behind-Nzimande)

Lets hope that this support is not misplaced and that the changes the Minister intends to implement will benefit ALL south Africans in a practical way.

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