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QCTO prevails over artisan certification

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    sylvia hammond
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    Many skills-universe members come in to the site on a Friday to update themselves before the weekend. So in a deeply depressing world, it is so good to be able to report on a South African success.

    The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) has triumphed over artisan certification. Now you may think that was a simple thing to do – not at all. Director Annemarie Jansen van Rensburg, who is the QCTO Director of Certification explained the complexities at the ARM* Symposium in Cape Town last week. As the session Chairperson Leon Beech explained, this is all about the Red Seal Certificate – a document that will find the holder a job pretty much anywhere in the world. So if it’s just a certificate – where’s the complexity you ask?

    Well, her presentation took us back in time to the days before computerisation – the days when everything was on paper, and also reminded us of our history. Once there was a 3 page apprenticeship contract, between: the apprentice, the employer/company, and the Department of Manpower! (There were smiles from the audience remembering how many pages there are now.) Imagine you had one of those certificates, and it goes missing – will you expect the QCTO to provide you with a duplicate? You may wonder, where the copy – from decades ago – has been all this time, and is there a copy still accessible.

    We know the QCTO is one of 3 quality councils and responsible for the overall quality of implementation of occupational qualifications. Prior to the Skills Development Act (SDA), there was the Manpower Training Act of 1981 (amended in 1989), and before that the Apprenticeship Act of 1944. Under all of this legislation there have been trade tests conducted and certificates issued. The format of the various certificates going back to 1944 represents our history. There was the Bedryfsdiploma/Trade Diploma in Afrikaans/English, then from 1981 the Trade Certificate English/Afrikaans, the SDA brought in the Trade Certificate in English, and now the Occupational Certificate: Trade in English. These certificates have been issued by various authorities: the old Department of Manpower, then Department of Labour, the Industry Training Board, Indlela, and Department of Higher Education and Training – and now the QCTO has brought all the certificates under one roof.

    Under the SDA section 26D, no artisan qualification is achieved without a trade test by an accredited trade test centre. The QCTO has brought in the External Integrated Summative Assessment (EISA), which for trades is effectively the Trade Test and can arise from an apprenticeship, learnership, or via recognition of prior learning (RPL). One of the major features that the QCTO deals with is fraudulent certificates. The updated certificates have the Red Seal, and also a very necessary range of sophisticated safety features. Employers and other members of the public requiring confirmation of a certificate may verify authenticity at: Verification @ QCTO

    The extremely encouraging good news is: to obtain a copy of one of the recently issued certificates, you should expect a turn-around time of approximately 5 working days. However, although you will probably be able to obtain an older certificate, if it goes back to historic times, it will take longer – but should still be available from the QCTO. Additional emails for information, or complaints are:
    Info @ QCTO and for the Director personally: Annemarie Janse van Rensburg

    * ARM is an acronym for Assessment, Recognition of Prior Learning, and Mentor Development, under the Apprenticeship Game Changer initiative of the Western Cape government in conjunction with the Department of Higher Education and Training.
    sylvia hammond 18 August 2017

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