SKILLS DEVELOPMENT: A VITAL CATALYST FOR SA’S ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT


South Africa has grown substantially since 1994 and while progress has been made to reduce poverty and inequality, the country still has its shortcomings. Millions of South Africans remain unemployed and unskilled, and as a result many households still live close to the poverty line.

The Statistics SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey recently revealed that during the first quarter of 2012, the number of unemployed individuals rose by 282 000, reaching 4.5 million and accounting for 25.3% of the population. The recent Adcorp Employment Index also highlights that permanent employment has fallen from 11 million to 9.1 million since 2000.

According to Kekeletso Khena, Director of the Skills Development Summit, South Africa needs to urgently tackle these high levels of unemployment by addressing the issue of skills development within the country. She says that one way of doing this is to instill skills development programmes in both the private and public sector. “Employment creation and poverty eradication are both dependent on the skills levels in South Africa. In order for the economy and business to grow and develop, the public and private sector need to work together to assist with skills development.”

The 4th annual BHP Billiton Skills Development Summit taking place on the 25th and 26th July, which aims to address these issues and create a platform for corporate South Africa, government, Skills Education Training Authorities, Trade councils and the public to join together and discuss the business of skills development, as well as conceptualise effective solutions for the skills development challenges facing South Africa today.

“The National Development Plan for 2030 highlights that the key to national development, sustainable employment and economic growth in South Africa is through education and skills development. The 2012 BHP Billiton Skills Development Summit will discuss the extent at which new policies, institutions and delivery mechanisms are succeeding in building a new, inclusive and high-quality skills development system.”

Forming part of the summit is the 2012 Achiever Awards, which was developed three years ago to encourage, recognise and promote leading companies and departments from the public and private sector that make a contribution towards building the skills of South Africans.

“The Achiever Awards applaud the impact of the various skills development strategies and programmes from the private and the public sector that address the legacy of economic segregation and prevalent skills shortages. The awards provide recognition to those who have demonstrated their commitment to the advancement of their employees’ skills base, by implementing skills development and training programmes that are relevant, innovative and effective,” says Khena.

There are 13 award categories open for entry, including Best Training Programme for small, medium-sized and large companies, Best Public Sector Training Programme and various sector categories such as engineering and tourism. A new category to the awards this year is the CBO & NGO award, which applauds the invaluable roles these organisations play in South African society.

Companies of all sizes, government departments and organisations interested in entering can fill out a nomination form online at www.skillssummit.co.za/articles/Nomination-form, as well as interact with fellow entrants and businesses on the Achiever Awards social media platforms: Facebook and Twitter. For additional information on the BHP Billiton Skills Development Summit and Achiever Awards, please email info@skillssummit.co.za or contact Beverly Stone on 021 681 7000.

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