Document to DHET – Why it is so hard to understand the SD sub-sector


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    • #75211
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      To all members of skills-universe,
      The urgent need for Criteria and Guidelines for skills development sub-sector.

      It becomes apparent to me how national decision-makers have less than a full grasp of the economic implications of their decisions for the skills development sub-sector.

      This includes the economic impact for employers, and the financial hardship for many practitioners, those employed within the sector, and for youth and adult learners.

      I felt it necessary to try to exercise some leadership and intervene positively. My thanks to the many skills-universe members – both online and off-line, who assisted me in preparing this document.

      Please see attached, the document I prepared. Please circulate it widely to anyone you think could make a difference in getting the skills development sub-sector of PSET actively functioning again.

      The references include the Draft Report of the National Planning Commission on PSET. I have included very small quotations in this document, but I will attach it to a separate discussion. Please read the section on “skills”, and note the submittion date for comments.

      I submitted the document in the early of this morning (13 June 2020) to a range of email addresses I have for DHET & the NSA, (not entirely sure which are appropriate) & copied QCTO & APPETD CEOs. This is my accompanying email.

      “Dear all,
      Please see attached a document put together in conjunction with members of the http://www.skills-universe.com community.

      There is enormous concern, frustration, and fear among private skills development providers that the sub-sector has not received Criteria and Guidance to re-open. Given that the sub-sector makes a daily contribution to the economy, whereas educational institutions have a considerable delay before their students will contribute, there is concern regarding the apparent lack of understanding and appreciation for the economic contribution that the sector makes.

      Please see the attached prepared as a request to you for consideration in preparation of Criteria and Guidelines for private skills development providers.

      Within the community there is at least one proposed draft available, which may also assist to speed up this process – as many fear simply going out of business. The impact upon employers should they be unable to comply with the range of legislation – because there is no private provider available – is too horrendous to contemplate.

      Please can we work together to speed up re-entry of private skills development providers to the workplace.

      Should any further clarification or information be required, I will be more than happy to oblige.”

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    • #75213
      Willemien Kleijn
      Participant

      Hi Sylvia. Thanks for this and for incorporating the inputs received. Let’s hope the document is read and that we receive the needed response.

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    • #75214
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Thanks Willemien – I have copying a range of people I believe have the influence to make a difference, and I tweeted to both Minister Nzimande and Minister for Communications in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.

      I already have a response from the QCTO CEO Vijayen Naidoo.

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    • #75215
      Laura Klopper
      Participant

      Hi Syliva

      I am sorry I missed the request for information. Sylvia, thank you for intervening on a personal level, your support and dedication is truly appreciated. It is an excellent summary. I also want to thank all the other contributors and individuals who have been working tirelessly in an attempt to support SDP’s.

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      • #75219
        sylvia hammond
        Keymaster

        Thanks Laura, fully understand – we all deal with such pressures of communication.

        Please watch out for the next discussion I am about to post on the:
        National Plannning Commission Draft report on PSET – it has a skills section I want to discuss.

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    • #75216
      Charles Dey
      Participant

      Well done on this initiative Sylvia. However, I’m not sure whether this question is out of place, but would this document not have carried greater weight had it been addressed from APPETD, as the duly constituted and elected body representing private providers, rather than an informally constituted online interest group? Just asking

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    • #75217
      Willemien Kleijn
      Participant

      Good point, Charles. What is the possiblity of APPETD throwing its weight in behind this initiative?

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    • #75218
      Charles Dey
      Participant

      I’m not sure, you’d have to ask APPETD

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    • #75220
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      H Charles & Willemien
      Thanks – your questions are spot on. I have been in regular communication with Cynthia the CEO of APPETD and Linda Ingram has also recently come into the discussion.

      The point I have been making to Cynthia is that APPETD is not representative of the whole body of private providers. They have been serving their members only, and in addition, I was of the opinion that their members are far more representative of the large organisations than the whole sector.

      Then (I will ask Maryna of ASDSA to comment) – I questioned whether the other professional bodies are included in these consultations.

      Cynthia has now recently been working with Higher Health – who service the public sector HE colleges, and APPETD has now managed to get commitment that the services of Higher Health will now extend to the private HE colleges.

      Higher Health has grown out of HEAIDS & is now advising on the return to HE campuses.

      Cynthia & I have remained in communication – she has shared documents with me & I copied her on this document. Via Cynthia, I was invited to attend an excellent webinar offered by Higher Health & in the webinar Dr Ahluwalia indicated that there was recognition of all the sub-sectors of PSET. However, for Higher Health it will be an issue of unbudgetted activities.

      I have also been in communication with the QCTO CEO.

      There are slight differences of opinion/emphasis between all of us – my view is that the economic contribution of the skills development sub-sector is not understood – and certainly the activities, which are not accredited training are not understood.

      As I am sure Willemien will agree – because a training activity is not accredited does not automatically mean that the provider is somehow nefarious. There is a vast amount of unacredited training that takes place in various communities.

      The inspiration for my actions (apart from the horror of noting that apparently – a senior Minister on the Parliamentary Committee does not understand what SETAs do), has been that in all my interactions it has been very clear to me, that there is insufficient awareness & understanding of the diversity of skills development sub-sector – and definitely a lack of understanding of the contribution to the economy.

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    • #75224
      Bernard Botha
      Participant

      Sylvia,

      First of all may I congratulate you on an excellent document it really cuts to the core of the problem.

      If I may I would also like to comment that most of the contributions came from the upper echelon of the skills providers; did you receive any inputs from the SMME sector?

      I was on the point of commenting on Charles’s reply when I saw your answer. My comment was to amend Charles’s comment to ‘APPETD, as [unfortunately] the duly constituted and elected body representing private providers’.

      The second paragraph of your reply highlights the issue:

      “The point I have been making to Cynthia is that APPETD is not representative of the whole body of private providers. They have been serving their members only, and in addition, I was of the opinion that their members are far more representative of the large organisations than the whole sector.”

      APPETD does a wonderful job; however if you were to ask virtually any of the smaller providers who or what APPETD is you will be met with a ‘HUH?’

      Lynel gave the figure of accredited SDP’s – it is something in the region of 13 000 and of that figure about 95 % would fall under your category 4, the micro SDP’s in fact I would go one step further and define then as pica providers (pica is one million times smaller than micro). These are the providers who operate within the AGRISETA, LGSETA, EWSETA, even MERSETA and similar environments. Their clientele also comes mostly from the rural areas and normally cannot even afford the registration fee.

      Some of them might have been members of APPETD in the distant past when they could use their membership of APPETD to qualify for the (then) mandatory insurance required by the DHET. For a variety of reasons most of them stopped being members quite a while back and did not renew their membership.

      I will try and distribute your document to as many of these providers as possible.

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      • #75226
        sylvia hammond
        Keymaster

        Bernard – so good to hear from you.

        I cannot tell you how many times I remember what you said to me about training bricklayers – that they don’t need to know about Pythagorus to make a right angle.

        Anyway, thank you for the pica – wonderful. I will remember that now too.

        And yes please distribute as widely as possible to pica rural providers. And when the Criteria & Guidelines are published we can work through them to see how they apply to the smallest of private providers.

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    • #75225
      Colette Heunes
      Participant

      Hi Sylvia

      I think this is an excellent document. Thank you for adding all the contributions. Thank you for caring about our sector and the learners in our sector.

      Let’s stand together and take this forward.

      Take care

      Colette

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      • #75227
        sylvia hammond
        Keymaster

        Thanks Colette – as soon as I hear anything I will post.
        Stay safe.

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    • #75228
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      I have this very encouraging email from Vijayen Naidoo, QCTO CEO:

      “As the QCTO we have recognized the informal sector
      (convened a seminar on this in 2018 as well). In fact in our current context in the country some 80% of the economy is located in the informal sector.

      The revised OQSF does make provision now for Skills programmes which will be managed by the QCTO. We have already developed 20 odd short skills programmes awaiting registration. These are mostly practical on the job training. We will be embarking/reaching out to this sector not to regulate as much as to ensure quality training and recognition of learner achievements through certification etc.

      We have worked closely with CIE thus far and will be extending the consultations soon.

      Admittedly we have a lot of work to do in this area but we have commenced the incorporation of these into policy documents.”

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    • #75229
      Bernard Botha
      Participant

      Sylvia,

      This email from the QCTO has made me saddle my favourite hobby horse again. I am fully aware of the skills programmes as I was fortunate to be part of the programme. These programmes are based on the relevant Occupational Certificate but is much more concentrated; it is most certainly not a light version of the OC but rather a concentrated version! Underestimate at your peril.

      I like what I read where the QCTO acknowledges that the informal sector has such a big role to play. At one stage there was talk that these skills programmes would be offered at Community Education Centres (I think that was the term) but they suffer from exactly the same malady as the TVET colleges, i.e. lack of skills and resources to offer such training. Personally I would really like to see these skills courses being run, offered, administered and all the bells and whistles controlled by the industry councils, such as Master Builders Association, Electrical Contractors Association and the Plumbing Institute with NO input from the setas.

      These organisations have the infrastructure (in the form of their members with their associated tools and equipment) as well as the skills – in the form of their artisans to train these people. I have spoken to one or two people and they agree with the principle but immediately raise that ever present issue: Funding!

      Honestly not sure how to go about this and I would appreciate inputs from other more knowledgeable people. I have done some very basic research but it needs an expert hand and an aggressive driver.

      Sending the money to these organisations will go a long way to alleviate the skills shortage in this country and putting the control in the hands of the QCTO should eliminate the problems associated with for example the Work for Water project where zillions of plumbers were to be trained by the TVET colleges but the project got stuck with the practical training – no independent contractor in his right mind would touch this unless he has a hand and a say in the practical training (and of course gains something monetary).

      Another ‘problem’ is that very few of the professional councils read Skills Universe and these messages do not reach them.

      Please do not burn the midnight oil so much!

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    • #75230
      Ken Annandale
      Participant

      Sylvia, once again you have hit the nail on the head.

      Accredited and non-accredited Health and Safety training providers too are lingering in the shadows of uncertainty. Saiosh is preparing guidelines for its members.

      Some have reportedly returned to work while others could sadly not hold out any longer and closed shop.

      Stay safe!
      Ken
      http://www.safetytrainingkits.com

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    • #75231
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Thank you Ken

      I am so concerned with anyone in your OHS area closing down.

      Picture this – some months hence.

      Dept Employment & Labour Inspector @ factory.

      Why do you not have trained Safety Reps?
      The Certificate of your First Aider has expired. Why is it not renewed?
      Noone is trained – where is your firefighting & evacuation control team?

      Well, Mr DEL Inspector, I can’t find anyone still in business to train my staff. The 1 or 2 private providers left are so busy & their charges are now so high we can’t afford them – even if they were available.

      So if you can find a private OHS provider @ reasonable cost – then we will train.

      Scene II – a few months later
      Now there are a few new private OHS providers trying to become accredited.
      But there’s the QCTO & the HWSETA & the DEL…..

      Back at the factory, it’s cold outside & the office staff are freezing sitting at their computers, so they rig something up.
      But the Safety Rep still isn’t trained & he doesn’t realise it’s an unsafe act.
      The offices catch fire.

      Nobody knows what to do – everyone runs around shouting at each other.
      The fire extinguishers aren’t all working – they haven’t been checked.
      The fire truck arrives.
      But one of the managers has parked their car in the demarcated emergency vehicle zone.
      The Safety Rep is new – he didn’t know what that area was for.

      The factory burns down.
      The insurance company won’t pay out – because the company was not legally compliant.
      The owner can’t afford to rebuild – especially after the lockdown.
      All 500 employees are out of work – without a severance package.

      I’m not being sensationalist – that’s how the real world works.

      Of all the private providers, OHS providers are critical.
      We can debate it – but on a par with the private providers of food safety – remember Listeriosis?

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    • #75232
      Nigel Shipston
      Participant

      Hi Sylvia, while there are concerns regarding all SMME level SDP’s, the scope of OHS training interventions, being of a generic nature to all industries, are contained within the scope of a number of SETA’s and not restricted to HWSETA. What should also be considered is the DoL Directive signed on 28 April 2020, COVID-19 Direction on Health and Safety in the Workplace. In the preamble of this Directive, there are a few references to the continued compliance of the OHS Act and in particular that the Directive in no way reduces the obligations of employers to the OHS Act.

      What this indicates is that employers in operation are still required to comply with other Regulatory requirements. This in turn would make training of Lifting Machine Operators and First Aiders in particular a necessity, although carried out within the ambit of COVID safety measures. Risk analysis and measures to counter current risk factors need to be addressed for which training may be required. Fire fighting, working at heights and working in confined spaces for example, although less regulated than LMO or First Aid training, are still OHS Act required skills needed to address risk factors. Food safety is perhaps even more pressing under current conditions.

      Having not been directly addressed in categories under COVID Regulations and lacking any other appropriate guidelines specific to SDP’s, it is logical that SDP’s in these fields must be operational. How can an employer comply with OHS Act obligations if the very people who can provide the necessary training are not operational?

      Any operations need to be carried out with the necessary COVID safety measures applied. This would include both the SDP’s measures as well as those of employers where in most cases training will be carried out. You elsewhere indicated that the sub-sector is “opportunistic”, perhaps this should be seen as an opportunity to move forward and perhaps even include some simple COVID training based on the attached “Worker Risk Assessment” document (issued by the Dept of Health) as an additional value added element to OHS related training?

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      • #75234
        sylvia hammond
        Keymaster

        Thank you Nigel – I appreciate your input here because I know your area of expertise.

        Your sentence:
        “How can an employer comply with OHS Act obligations if the very people who can provide the necessary training are not operational?”
        That sums it up very nicely – that is the dilemma.

        I am happy to be proved wrong – but to me that again confirms my view – that there is a lack of understanding of what the private skills development providers contribute.

        In terms of risk assessment – my view is that employers need to ensure for every one of these critical areas for trained staff – that there is back-up, in case the trained staff are required at some time to go off and self-isolate.

        So I see an enormous training and re-training need in all the fundamental OHS areas – and a very big opportunity for private providers.

        The whole COVID-19 area is a training world in itself.

        On food safety – that has been my experience – and for those sectors, I do rank it with all the OHS & machinery essential skills development training.

        I have sent the email to numerous people – we can only hope that the urgency is understood.

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    • #75238
      John Arnesen
      Participant

      Thanks for this Sylvia. A very good document. I will also share it with my associates. The more we understand the better decisions we make.

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      • #75241
        sylvia hammond
        Keymaster

        Thank you John, & in trying to summarise & be succinct, the complexity becomes very clear – how almost each word requires further definition.

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    • #75251
      Retha Claasen
      Participant

      Thank you very much Sylvia for the initiative – looking forward to the feedback on this.

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    • #75261
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Thanks Retha – will post as soon as I hear anything.

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    • #75267
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Well I listened to our President Ramaphosa – and was disappointed that there was no mention of private SD providers, so I sent this email to the Deputy DG: Skills Department, DHET.

      “Dear Zukile,
      I am so disappointed that our President did not include private skills development providers in his announcement this evening.

      I had a conversation yesterday with a manager of a forecourt – a petrol station – their private provider for safety training is not working, so they can’t do their safety training!. So we have a petrol station with petrol attendants – and no safety training. This really is a very bad situation.

      We have people going out to play sports but companies that are open, do not have the training provider support that they need: safety – lifting machinery – food safety. Please remember that if a private training provider goes out of business, a new one can’t just pop up – it takes months to get everything in place – to obtain the accreditation required.

      The people I sent my email to, who have responded to me – tell me that they have done their part and that everything is with DHET. Please do whatever you can to move this forward, so that private skills development providers can return to work.

      Kind regards”

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    • #75268
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Hi Have an answer from the DDG Zukile already.
      He says:
      “…we are urgently undertaking regarding Skills Development Providers Directions/ Regulations”
      “We have already met with the National Skills Authority, comprising of Organised Business, Organised Labour, State and Community Constituencies, as per NEDLAC Act.”

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      • #75269
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        Thank you Sylvia, it is day 84 and SDPs are on their knees. Seen another message last night of a provider that have been trading for 17 years, and cannot continue any longer. They are closing their doors. It is clear that providers are in distress. For some, their urgency and continuous “we are working on it” will just be too late.

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    • #75270
      Des Squire
      Participant

      I love this response
      “We have already met with the National Skills Authority, comprising of Organised Business, Organised Labour, State and Community Constituencies, as per NEDLAC Act.”

      Who represented the SDP’s in that lot. Certainly not the National Skills Authority ???

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    • #75272
      Lynel Farrell
      Keymaster

      TODAY’S UPDATE:
      The QCTO took the initiative and in consultation with the DHET Skills Branch and SETAs and the NSA finalised the Criteria and Guidelines. It is now out of QCTO’s hands. The QCTO have been assured by DHET officials that it is en route to Minister. It is only the Minister that can approve! The QCTO will follow up again with DHET. Please note that the QCTO is just as eager awaiting the approval.

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    • #75273
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Hi –
      The Minister is today at the TVET in Umgungundlovu – somewhere I remember from childhood – in the depths of KZN, so I am not hopeful for progress today.

      Google it – it is beautiful countryside.

      But I did send the Minister a private message on his Facebook page indicating the urgency and our distress.

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