Skills Development Providers (SDPs) & Training Providers


QCTO taking steps towards Criteria & Guidelines for Skills Development Providers

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    • #75156
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      The Quality Council for Trades & Occupations (QCTO) has issued Memorandum 3 which explains:
      * the QCTO steps towards developing Criteria & Guidelines;
      * the Skills section of Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET) & the Sector Education & Training Authorities (SETAs) role; &
      * the National Skills Authority (NSA) role.

      The Criteria and Guidelines are not yet finalised.

      Memo 3 makes reference to Memo 1 & Memo 2, so for those who may have missed them they are all attached.

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    • #75160
      Nathaniel Tshuma
      Participant

      Why their first priority is Public Institutes and public TVET Colleges. Something has to be balanced here. We need a strong voice that will change this kind of treatment towards SDPs. We are part of the private sector so we must be treated as such and be given support as we contribute to the the GDB or economy growth.

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      • #75162
        sylvia hammond
        Keymaster

        Nathaniel, I totally agree with you.

        While I fully support the development of students & NSFAS funding – there is a long delay until that investment in students provides a positive contribution to the economy.

        It is the private sector – directly in the workplace – that could be contributing immediately – today – to the economy.

        One provider – improving the skills & competencies of employees through work-based and work-integrated learning – immediately gives the employer & the economy a return on investment.

        This is why I keep harping on – the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET) needs to have a much better understanding of the contribution of private skills development providers – even the single micro/survivalist provider makes that contribution.

        I would have prioritised skills development at the workplace.

        I will be very happy if someone can prove me wrong in this opinion.

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    • #75161
      Lynel Farrell
      Keymaster

      Thank you so much Sylvia! It is fantastic to see that what the Minister had said in his briefing yesterday about working towards finalising the criteria and guidelines for SDPs and working with the Quality Council. It cannot be an easy task, and we appreciate their continuous hard work.

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    • #75163
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      By the way – a further thought occurs to me – Memo 3 refers to the process of consultation.

      Is it just me – or are all the people who are consulted sitting in offices – or homes?

      Was there any consultation with the people on the ground – the actual providers – who would be affected – of the draft Criteria & Guidelines?

      Was the draft document circulated to the professional associations – Association for Skills Development South Africa (ASDSA)?

      Have any of the Sector Education & Training Authorities (SETAs) actually circulated the document to their accredited private providers for comment?

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    • #75164
      Nigel Shipston
      Participant

      Hi Sylvia, was that a rhetorical question? From my SETA, the only circulated Memo was the one regarding extension of scope, but it appears that without having been enlightened by QCTO regarding this topic, there was big debate about different interpretations regarding to which providers this was applicable.
      Comes back to my previous comments regarding participation and people “speaking” on behalf of these providers. The current communication process contains too many assumptions that effectively nullify intent.

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    • #75165
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Good morning Nigel,
      Yes you highlight a good point – who speaks for and represents the private providers?

      A discussion I had recently with Cynthia Reynders who is the CEO of APPETD.

      My point – the National Skills Authority (NSA) advises the Minister. But how do the NSA know what the private providers need? APPETD represents their members.

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    • #75166
      Lynel Farrell
      Keymaster

      This is a very difficult time, not just for Employers, Providers and learners. This pandemic have hit everyone, including the government, the Councils and the Sector Authorities. I have been following government departments for weeks/months, trying to find answers (we all want quick solutions and answers). Going back, there have been surveys conducted, various engagements with providers from different sectors. The consultation part – have been continuous between the DHET, DoH, Higher Health, QCTO and the SETAs (to mention a but a few). We know that the first priority was to get the Health Workers whom was finalising their studies, to finish. Why? Because they will be used to help with this pandemic – we need all the health workers across the country.

      Then, the next priority was the Universities and the TVET Colleges/Private Colleges. Here, there are large buildings, whereby thousands of learners need to complete their studies (this includes their accommodation) – measures needed to be put in place, in how this will be controlled, saving the academic year – but also ensure that the spread of the virus is minimized. These institutions had to first conduct deep-cleaning, put measures in place, ensure they have sick-bays, protocols to use from entrance to exit daily, or staying on campus, or going out to private accommodation returning daily. If my understanding is correct, classes at 33% will commence next week. Which is phase 1, the next phase will be at 66% and then phase 3 would be at 100%.

      Now, that those institutions are dealt with (I think overall it could be less than 500 combined institutions if one takes the Private Colleges, TVET Colleges and Universities (private and public). Now it is the private sector’s turn.

      These consultations and engagements have not only started now, but it has been ongoing for some time. According to the last stats done on the number of providers in 2014, the total number of accredited providers were 12860. Ok, majority of providers are SMEs and they might have their own small training rooms/premises, and they work off-site (whether it is at an Employer, conference centre, municipal premises, churches, schools etc). In lockdown level 3, hotels and conference centres are closed – some Employers are still not operating (this depends on the industry). Seeing that our industry is so wide, it must be a daunting task to approve a set Criteria and Guideline to suite all SDPs. Some industries are busy with legal action – for instance: Hairdressers. Now, we cannot obtain a generic criteria and guidelines, if they are not included.

      So, will each Sector have a different Criteria and Guideline to suite each industry specifically? Is the provider protected should a learner be infected by this virus, but not showing any symptoms? If the provider conducts training at the Employer’s premises – are the Employer accountable for the administration, and what is the Provider’s protocol and administrative instruction when training off-site?

      So many questions coming through. It cannot be easy. We await the finalisation of the Criteria and Guidelines, whereby experts were involved – and we trust that these documents will ensure that providers will be able to operate in a safe manner.

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    • #75167
      Nigel Shipston
      Participant

      Hi Sylvia, unfortunately these communication channels, however well intended, create the perception among SDP’s that their input is either not required or is of no concern. Well intended ideas for inclusion are often mistrusted by SDP’s as a result of these perceptions, not to mention that most are currently scrambling for business in order to stay alive.

      The current survival anxiety among SDP’s is an almost tangible element and when survival is at stake, little else matters. More than ever, SDP’s need confirmation of their existence and importance in terms of their contribution to our country. Memo’s openly distributed do little to ease these anxieties, when these are still open to a range of interpretation by various authorities. When all the authorities agree on a consistent approach and speak with a common understanding of intentions, perhaps then we can move forward.

      Having not been directly addressed in any of the regulatory guidelines, left out in the wilderness to forge their own path back (perambulating on the verges of “legal” requirements), the timing of participatory initiatives for SDP’s is not ideal. Of all the support available to other SMME businesses, SDP’s are overlooked despite their input value.

      Irrespective of the legality or otherwise of DMA regulations, the damage has been done. Suggesting now that participation is convenient when SDP’s are in a mad scramble for survival is just further evidence of the lack of recognition to which this rather large Cinderella child has been subject.

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    • #75168
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Thank you Lynel for your excellent comprehensive response. See also my question below

      Thank you Nigel – you make the point about financial survival.

      Is it correct that providers wanting to apply for financial support have been told to wait until the DHET decides upon support for skills providers? One of the off-site comments I received. Are you aware of this?

      Lynel – have you heard about this?

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      • #75170
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        You are most welcome Sylvia. I am trying to look at the difficulties that everyone is having.

        Financial support: there have been support for registered companies, whereby they need to apply for this. Some of the relief support that I can remember of was: Sector Relief Funding – Tourism, Sports, Arts and Culture, Agriculture, SME Debt Relief Fund, Sukuma Relief Fund – Business Partners, IDC Working Capital Support. Some banks are assisting for example: FNB offers COVID assistance for business, whereby you need to upload your employee details, evidence that you have employees by means of payroll and payslips etc, and they assist with a lump-some if approved.

        Then there’s the UIF and TERS applications for individuals. For learners DHET gives support via stipends, here the SETAs also had to continue (although there was some miscommunication, this apparently is now rectified – but I speak under correction). Learnerships can be extended during this period too.

        Unfortunately, for the freelancers and consultants that work for themselves per contract – if they have not contributed to their own UIF or saved for when things are tough, then it will hit them the hardest.

        For now, I use my energy to focus on how to prepare going forward. I have learned hard lessons (and so have majority of us). Exploring online and eLearning, and obtaining as much information on COVID to gear up to start operating again (although I am not a provider, we have started obtaining free information and templates to assist in administrative protocols that will be implemented).

        Unfortunately you cannot pay out from what you haven’t earned. If someone offers you a hand out, it either has been already collected or will be. The fact that educated professionals don’t understand principle of “no such thing as free lunch” is concerning. I cannot see government picking up millions without a collection mechanism.

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    • #75169
      Nigel Shipston
      Participant

      Hi Sylvia, I haven’t had any feedback on this yet although I know of some who have applied. Sounds like passing the buck as a means of being selective as to who gets financial assistance.

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    • #75171
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Thanks Nigel- I must say I was very surprised that according to the report I received – an apparently state department was suggesting that the DHET would be funding private providers. I did think: good Durban stuff.

      Lynel, what a wonderful end point to your post – I always smile when I hear: the government will fund it. OK – they are funding – no problem – but how much more will we need to pay & through what mechanism? Are we talking VAT, personal tax, property tax, death tax, etc.?

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      • #75172
        Tass Schwab
        Participant

        I also always wonder who the consultants are. I am following this thread with great interest. Thank you all for your valuable insightful input always!

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        • #75174
          Lynel Farrell
          Keymaster

          Hi Tass

          There have been a number of stakeholders involved, which includes the SETAs, QCTO, DHET Ministerial Task Team, DHET Skills Branch, SETA COVID-19 Task Team, Higher Health, National Skills Authority to mention but a few. I believe that various inputs have been received from all over which included industry, providers, professional bodies, employers and the like. I don’t believe that it was one or two consultants – but all departments had to get involved. It would be interesting to see how the Criteria and Guidelines will look like – we wait in anticipation.

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        • #75175
          sylvia hammond
          Keymaster

          Thanks Tass –
          Yes there is always the danger of the same people talking to each other – non-inclusive of the people they are talking about.

          You know that expression –
          “nothing about us – without us”

          Something the private ETD providers should possibly be adopting.

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