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Have the SETAs been gulity of wasting money?

This topic contains 17 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Skills Universe 2 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #6718

    Des Squire
    Participant

    Earlier this year, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande took his fight with the Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas) to Parliament, saying there was “little” to
    show for the R37,5bn ploughed into them since 2000.
    He says the Setas are not giving the government value for money, with the boards and management members enriching themselves.
    Mr Nzimande, who is trying to transform the Seta system, criticised “parasites” who had fleeced the system to make themselves “filthy rich”.
    The R37,5bn sunk into the Setas over the past 11 years was money “going down the drain with no accounting”, Mr Nzimande said. At the same time that all this wastage was taking place, there was a “ticking time bomb” of youth unemployment, he said.
    Mr Nzimande said the state should provide more learnerships and that no government tender
    should be issued without a commitment to provide training on the project.
    Baring this in mind I pose the question – should the monies spent by the Setas be ploughed into apprenticeships, learnerships, artisan training or internships ?
    Where can we and how can we get the best value for money?
    Should the discretionary grants be ploughed back to companies who have the necessary resoources for training purposes or given to FET colleges who do not?.

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  • #6731

    Hi Des,

    Maybe Dr. Nzimande should look at where the money goes he so desires to give to the FET’s as well. That in itself is a bottomless pit with very little to show for. A major problem in their thinking is that if you have a business, you must be filthy rich. Time to wake up and smell the roses, it is the government institutions that is so wasteful with the funds.

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  • #6730

    Hannes Nel
    Participant

    How about the Minister allows employers to spend money on the training that they need, specify a minimum amount to be spent on training annually and have them submit WSP/ATRs for training planned and executed? All right, this will never happen because the powers in being have other motives with the Skills Levies. Good governance will certain spoil their agenda. Hannes Nel

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  • #6729

    There appears to be a great deal of commonality between the productive output of the SETAs and most of the delivery mechanisms of government departments, provinces and municipalities. When one reads the in the news as to who has ripped off the system this week, who has had the hand in the till, how many CEOs and others are on suspended time (on full pay, but no action), one has to conclude that the common factor is the quality, skill and morality of the people in the positions to run these operations. The police structures are the current testimony to this. Simply changing the procedural system eg directing the funds elsewhere such as to the FETs will achieve nothing. It takes good people to make the world work well, and we seem to keep choosing the wrong people. This has reached such astonomical, endemic levels that the big fear is how do we reverse this? How does one unscramble an egg?

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  • #6728

    Hi Des

    I cannot comment for others SETA’s which I have not dealt with in the past BUT my experience has taught me very well that some SETA’s have been an absolute waste of money – the Construction SETA (CETA) in particular.

    I am sitting with at least 1 spreadsheet with hundreds and hundreds, (and) If I can add more spreadsheets I am sure it will be thousands of learners that are still waiting to receive certificates from the Construction SETA. With some programmes dating back to 2006. This is only from 1 accredited training provider, how many more could be sitting with the same problem?? All of this amount to increasing number of unemployment and contributes to reluctance of young people to get involved in training.

    Responding directly to your questions;

    1. Yes, the monies can be ploughed into apprenticeships, learnerships, artisan training or internships and those interventions be prioritised as vehicles to fight unemployment.

    BUT, for that to be successful;

    2. I think the CETA (and other SETA’s affected) again needs to consult with its stakeholders and the public at large, and not only focus on private sector entities but include NGO’s, Organised Labour Organisations, SMME’s, Public and Private Schools, Further Education and Training Colleges (Public & Private), Universities and other Member Organisations for the Built Environment Professionals (BEP’s).  

    3. I believe that best Value-for-Money is producing qualified people and evidence that these people have been integrated into workplaces or and are actively involved in the work of work, either employed or self-employed.

    That can only happen, through collaborative efforts of all stakeholders mentioned above BUT it will need the CETA (and SETA’s affected) to raise the flag!

     

    Regards

    Siyabonga Dilimeni

     

     

     

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  • #6727

    I had high hopes in 2000 when I was a Board Director of the LGWSETA, but when I experienced the political games being played out that soon faded. I spent time in the UK with their “SETA’s” learning the ropes. We had, or have, one of the best systems in the world, but because of personal and political greed and short sightedness we have failed. It is time to scrap what we have and to review the entire system with the learner and South Africa being the focus not political survival. Is it possible that elements in the ANC government have kept the youth dumb so that they can manipulate votes and stay in power, why else are we one of the least educated African countries. We should have taken a leaf out of Mugabe’s book and kept the good/international education standards. I have employed many Zimbabwean engineers who have good degrees and education. What a tragedy that we have put greed before the growth of our country. I salute all of you who have fought valiantly to keep education and industry going, whilst fighting against all odds. At least there is a glimmer of hope that common sense may yet prevail.  

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  • #6726

    Des Squire
    Participant

    Thank you Siyabonga for your very to the point response. Thanks for all the other comments also. I really would love more comment on my specific questions as I personally believe the monies need to be distributed to employers who have the infrastructure in place to train and give learners the necessary workplace based experience. 

    Where the money is being wasted, in my opinion, is in granting large amonts to training providers(many not even registered with Umalusi as required) to train large volumes of unemployed learners. This results in the learners not receiving workplace based experience or minimal exposure to a workplace. They then remain unemployed and become professional learners being funded by the SETAS. 

    I know of companies who have applied for discretionary grants to train say 20 employed and unemployed learners only to be granted 5. Employers are willing and have the infrastructure in place but are refused funding when they want to assist.  

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  • #6725

    I think the SETA’s have done a good job under the circumstances to the benefit of many many unemployed youth who eventually were able to find jobs.  In the past 9 yrs Divisions of The SPAR Group Ltd have implemented a number of Warehousing & Logistics Learnerships through TETA to the benefit of more than 100 unemployed youth, 95 % of whom have been placed in various divisions within the SPAR Group and other companies.  Yes, i agree in some projects we are still awaiting Certificates from as long ago as 2006, maybe the blame could be with training providers as well.  Have also successfully done learnerships in 2008 for 25 unemployed learners and within 18 months had at least 15 of the certificates processed, printed and delivered by TETA.

    Personally i would rather the SETA’s continue doing the Learneships in partnership with private sectors that are willing and have the resources.  I don’t think giving the money to FET / HET will be of more benefit to the country because in the past they have produced thousands of graduates who have never been exposed to the world of work, they may be educated but perhaps not employable.  Through learnerships the private sector has been willing to open their doors to the unemployed youth of S Africa to give them workplace experience and exposure – companies have benefited in that we contributed in youth development and also sourced brilliant young people to join our organisations on a permanent basis.  As a practitioner in the field of Learning and Development i doubt we’ll be able to accellerate the process better if we redirect the funds to FET/HET and not give the money to companies.  After all companies invested even more in terms of various resources (time, knowledge, training rooms, libraries, internet, refreshments etc), amounts which far exceeded the Discretionary Grants given by SETA’s.  So it is not really about money to organisations but working in partnership.

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  • #6724

    You are spot on Des!

     

    So how do we send this message accross or how do we change this situation?

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  • #6723

    Hi Rebecca,

    There are SETA’s that have done incredibly well, in my experience TETA, FASSET, SSETA are visible and striving for the best and to me are on top of their game. (That’s my personal experience with them)

    I think for the SETA’s to produce even better result and real value for money an adoption of the best practice model currently being implemented by the Development Bank of SA and Department of Treasury on JobsFund will very helpful, that Model is best and there funding is channelled through ‘specific’ funding windows (Institutional Capacity Building is one of the 4) waste of money is not a subject at all.

    The criteria is set and the goals are very clear!

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  • #6722

    Ashwell Glasson
    Participant

    Thanks very much for that thought-provoking posting Des.

    Its a mixed bag I am afraid to say, without recycling so many of the conversations that we have all deliberated and contributed to. Much of what the Honourable Minister has alluded to is specific to poor governance, corruption and sadly in many cases the miss-identification of sector needs, showing that their sector skills planning processes have been pure compliance exercises to meet their service level agreements with the then Department of Labour. Whom in turn had very little capacity to review and analyse the various SSP documents that were submitted to them for final approval. DoL have also had to take some responsibility for the poor performance of the SETA’s in this regard. The flawed SSP’s then became the primary priority-setting and budgetary tools for informing the SETA spend. Some SETA’s have performed well in their spend and most importantly have had high-positive impact for their spend, whilst others have truly struggled to have a meaningful impact in their sectors. To counter this specific issue the SETA’s have to focus on building purpose-led labour market planning and human resource development (HRD) evaluation capacities, otherwise these glaring gaps will just continue. Of several SSP’s that we have had to review on the behalf of another National Department, very few were of usable value for decision-makers. We were appalled at the poor quality of research scoping, meaningful analysis, verifiable data, proven collection methodologies and overall level of insights and most scarily their recommendations. We did note that stakeholders often make the difference and should be acknowledged for guiding the SETA’s when it got to implementation. Making practical cases for specific spend in high-demand areas and in some cases we noted that private sector, NGO and civil society bodies were able to redirect certain SETA’s into appropriate spend.

    This points to reality is that if you have not quantified the sector objectively and its specific needs properly and in a robust fashion, there is no doubt that you are going to miss-spend public funds inappropriately, or that you are going to have hope that the ‘shotgun’ or ‘spread’ approach will achieve some good.

     

    I prefer a solutions-neutral approach, that takes into account the specific labour market dynamics of each sector and their key performance requirements as well as specific entry, skills enhancement, retraining and exit points for workers.

    Funding should also be tied to the different stages of workforce development, looking at new sector entrants (workplace readiness), enhancing skills (performance) of existing workers (addressing gaps), positioning workers for growth (career development and succession), retraining workers in declining or rapidly evolving industries, refocus long tenure workers on mentoring/coaching and supporting professionalisation of careers or roles (professional bodies).

    Instead of using the obvious example of the need for artisans and engineers, lets try another one. The environmental and biodiversity sector has no registered learnership to meet its needs. The sector has traditionally focused on recruiting of graduates seeking workplace-readiness experiences and undergraduates needing experiential learning blocks in order to meet their degree requirements and graduate. Here internships and focused workplace experiential opportunities are far more effective interventions to (a) encourage new entrants and (b) should funded in some form by the SETA’s.

    As a practical example, consider a small national park and its staff complement. The following interventions could form a needs driven approach these would include internships (recent graduates), certification-led experiential training for nature conservation diplomates (HET/FET-driven to lead towards awarding of certificates, diplomas and degrees), continuing professional development (CPD) for existing practitioners to become registered or certified natural scientists or environmental scientists through the South African Council for Natural Science Professions (SACNSP) plus management development programmes for the reserve manager and other managers and finally conservation guardianship learnerships for unemployed individuals. Not a bad mix at all and obviously not necessarily comprehensive but certainly addresses some of the different skills and workforce performance needs at different levels within the park.

    Learnerships in their current form just do not meet the needs of certain sectors and in many cases the lack of other alternative and viable funded structured learning interventions constrains skills formation and people development. The inherent problems that seem most culpable in contributing to this situation start with the Skills Development Act and the Amendment which still promote and entrench learnerships as the primary toolkit to deal with mass-unemployment and to improve employability of the youth at the expense of other potential interventions such as artisanal programmes, trade-derived apprenticeships, internships and certification-led experiential training. The SETA’s are so focused on learnerships that they forget that many sectors do not have learnerships, or that learnerships are not viewed as viable labour market improvement tools. As mentioned by Siyabonga earlier, the DBSA and the Treasury have a really interesting model in terms of the Presidential Jobs Fund which we are a participant of. Their capability and quality development approach versus the SETA-compliance approach has been very interesting to be engaged with and we have found their focus on how we believe we can deliver against their needs very empowering. It has been a far more reliable and engaging process than many of the SETA approaches that I have worked with to date.

    The primacy of learnerships as the blanket tool to cure all skills development ills must be changed and allowances be made for mixed approaches that would help ensure that both the quantity and quality of the spend is truly more responsive and needs-driven.

     

     

     

     

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  • #6721

    Des Squire
    Participant

    There is no denying that some SETAS have done exremely well and painting them all with the same paint brush is shortsighted on the part of the Minister. I have read the varous comments with interest and thank you all for these – however I am still not getting answers to my questions!!!

    I pose the questions again – should the monies spent by the Setas be ploughed into apprenticeships, learnerships, artisan training or internships ?
    Where can we and how can we get the best value for money?
    Should the discretionary grants be ploughed back to companies who have the necessary resoources for training purposes or given to FET colleges who do not?

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  • #6720

    Hi Des,  your question and the lack of answers.

    I thought that SETAs such as the Merseta were in fact funding apprenticeships and artisan training. The questionable learnerships have not succeeded in producing properly qualified artisans as the historically proven apprenticeship process was “modified” to be both shorter and cover less training and working exposure. When the parastatals provided this apprencticeship training and did so in an oversupply mode, it was done to feed the skills into the economy. They followed well proven apprenticeship processes. These organisations also had the facilities to give the whole spectrum of requirements. It seems that the beancounters decided that as the parastatals must be profit driven, this had to stop. It resulted in the typical short-termism for which beancounters are famous. The country cannot produce artisans unless the facilities are available and the work place provides the proper, typical work environment. We need to go back to that proven strategy. We now pay the price of endemic lack of qualified artisans across the whole economy. We can redirect the money but with it the necessary conditions must be in place to provide the effective result. A lot of industry is very depleted in terms of capacity to train, but they need to focus on this need. This topic has been aired frequently but seems to remain in chat show mode, and our famous ability to get no action perpetuates.

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  • #6719

    Skills Universe
    Keymaster

    Great article, it is my believe that SETA’s still do not invest the money in the right place.

    We still have SETA’s where the board/management makes more money from training and development than what they get paid to do by working for the SETA.

    Training providers who really want to make a difference by developing people, and yes make money the honest way are being scrutinized by SETA’s it same way that they do investigations on criminals.

     

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  • #19521

    Skills Universe
    Keymaster

    Great article, it is my believe that SETA’s still do not invest the money in the right place.

    We still have SETA’s where the board/management makes more money from training and development than what they get paid to do by working for the SETA.

    Training providers who really want to make a difference by developing people, and yes make money the honest way are being scrutinized by SETA’s it same way that they do investigations on criminals.

     

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  • #37625

    Skills Universe
    Keymaster

    Great article, it is my believe that SETA’s still do not invest the money in the right place.

    We still have SETA’s where the board/management makes more money from training and development than what they get paid to do by working for the SETA.

    Training providers who really want to make a difference by developing people, and yes make money the honest way are being scrutinized by SETA’s it same way that they do investigations on criminals.

     

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  • #43212

    Skills Universe
    Keymaster

    Great article, it is my believe that SETA’s still do not invest the money in the right place.

    We still have SETA’s where the board/management makes more money from training and development than what they get paid to do by working for the SETA.

    Training providers who really want to make a difference by developing people, and yes make money the honest way are being scrutinized by SETA’s it same way that they do investigations on criminals.

     

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  • #44253

    Skills Universe
    Keymaster

    Great article, it is my believe that SETA’s still do not invest the money in the right place.

    We still have SETA’s where the board/management makes more money from training and development than what they get paid to do by working for the SETA.

    Training providers who really want to make a difference by developing people, and yes make money the honest way are being scrutinized by SETA’s it same way that they do investigations on criminals.

     

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