You just have to laugh . . . . 8

Having been in the NQF game for a good 18 years plus it never fails to give me a few good laughs . . . those of us who know the system are sadly quite used to the marvelous inefficiencies, delays and frustrations.

But today  . . . well today wasn’t really special or any different I suppose. Trying to get a learnership registered with a seta i generally don’t deal with – I found out that the process involved something along the lines of sending in a letter of intent written in ink ground from the knee-bones of the lesser Peruvian ink-moth, and transcribed by blind Nepalese monks fed only on a diet of juniper berries. In quadruplicate. The forms are then lost – found- sent to Vannuysoppietafelonderdiekonfytfontein – lost again – buried in peat moss for 6 months – found – sent to Pretoria and filed in interpretive dance order – lost and finally found. This escalates your request to a mildly annoyed admin person (who hates her life but hates YOU more, especially as you addressed all this to HER)  – so you will receive your application back with sundry random errors involving the wrong font size and the fact that the form is now outdated – marked in red or perhaps highlighted in yellow, and it will be rejected! 

Yes – rejection is inevitable and almost required as otherwise these people have to actually do their jobs. Inconceivable really!

IF you are lucky when you call in  – after many years of being shunted around the phone system sadly echoing your request like a lost ghost, wailing about delays – you may be told that they have realised you have addressed everything to the wrong department – well, yes it WAS correct when you mailed them back in 2000BC but NOW there is a new process so you have been queued and will have to wait to be lost and found once again. That’s just how it is.

At which point your learners have aged about a decade or so and if they haven’t lost all interest in the training, you can then put THEM in a lever-arch file and send them in triplicate with a new form and really hope they survive the peat moss experience . . .

 . . . and we wonder why we have skills shortage issues?

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8 thoughts on “You just have to laugh . . . .

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Yes I agree with you about really daft internal red tape.

    I have always thought that the limited incorporation of SETAs is also a problem – why would one go to work for an institution not knowing whethere it will still be there in a few years time. It’s bad enough in the corporate world with “lean” strategies and retrenchments always a risk.

    However, I was looking at the very good looking Services SETA DG portal today. It’s very impressive. It is entirely spoilt because the DG Policy has been scanned with all the pages upside down! So to read it, one either has to do a yoga head-stand, or turn the laptop upside down, or print out all the pages so one can read them. Now that is just poor performance, lack of pride in performance, and no management quality control of performance.

  • Melanie Harvard Post author

    well those are some pretty good thoughts . . . although i do think that internal seta staff probably face as much built-up red-tape as we do . .. which can breakdown anyone’s motivation to perform. so maybe management performance paired with a shake-up of all the unnecessary extras which people do but have forgotten why. and yes – i did have some reservations before pressing the submit button on this piece – if not careful humour can be easily misinterpreted sadly. Shapiro gets away with it but maybe i wouldnt be so lucky 😉

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Hi Melanie,

    I have every sympathy for your frustration – as you know how we battled – I think it was 3 years – to obtain certificates from Services Seta.

    Currently, I am still waiting – I think it is 3 years now – for ABET payments from Foodbev Seta.  

    However, I have a concern about humour being misinterpreted with potential for all sorts of allegations about “isms”.

    My view after a few decades of HR management, is that it is not the junior admin people who are at fault.  It is poor management:

    • People are put in positions for which they are not qualified or suited by personal interest and aptitude. They are not trained or given the appropriate instruction, guidance, and performance feedback.  
    • If the manager comes in late, ducks off for a long lunch on Fridays, and does not deal with their own work, what example is that for juniors? 

    So the solution lies with DHET and the QCTO managing the performance and delivery of the Seta executives and management.

    Those institutions should also be looking at the various administrative “procedures”. Currently, I can think of a number of extraordinarily time-wasting documents for completion – when the information is all already (or should be) with the SETA.  Forms should come to the SDF pre-populated with current information – only requiring editing if there is a change. 

    Anyway – my thoughts for the day!

  • Melanie Harvard Post author

    Lynel – that would be great . . . it will probably never change though. I have seen so many people start out at a seta all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and then after a few years they become as dispirited as the others – bowed down by the red tape in their own jobs etc . . . those thumb-suck rules frustrate everybody and really i wonder who they actually benefit? Maybe we shall see some improvement when QCTO gets more active . . . here’s hoping. In the meantime I am thinking of keeping up a comedy blog to keep us laughing rather than crying 😉

  • Lynel Farrell

    Melanie, we hear you load and clear, we feel your pain/frustration.  What we need here is “quality management”, something we have been forced with for many years, and we have adhered to every stipulation, rule, regulation, thumb-suck requirements (which doesn’t even make sense).  We have made changes to every Seta’s sudden stipulation/rule, and have been doing what we are told.  It would mean the world to us and to the learners out there, to have the same respect, professional service delivery, quality feedback and developmental guidance (which we do on a daily basis for our learners, because we care about skills).  Solutions to all these problems would be a miracle for sure, and it’s time that standards are set and those Setas not performing should be monitored by strict monitors or even closed down – some authorities are just not up to the standard that our country needs desperately.  Perhaps DHET or the QCTO should implement a fine structure – if a deadline is not met or if documents are lost by a Seta after acknowledging receipt of your 100 files, they get fined (the money collected from these fines, go towards the business that submitted the application/files.  Maybe we will see some improvement then?