Skills Development Providers (SDPs) & Training Providers


Should occupational qualifications – skills development – move back to DEL

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    • #75313
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      When I am frustrated with things going badly – it remember the advice – that is when there is opportunity to make changes.

      The Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET) has failed to issue criteria & guidelines for skills development providers to re-open. All attention is focused upon universities & TVET colleges – educational institutions.

      Clearly the DHET does not understand the implications for all employers of labour – does not understand the workplace and workplace based training. It is entirely different to educational institutions.

      So – solution – move the all skills development responsibilities back to the Department of Employent & Labour.

      Remember skills started in the Labour Department under Minister Membathisi Mdladlana – “the skills revolution” he called it.

      Let’s move all OQSF – occupational qualifications sub-framework on the NQF – developed under the QCTO – Quality Council for Trades & Occupations – back to the Department of Employment and Labour.

      The title tells you why – they understand employment – they understand labour – they understand the workplace.

      Instead of being a Cinderella under the DHET we should move – lock, stock and barrel – to the DEL.

      What do you think?

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    • #75315
      Lynel Farrell
      Keymaster

      HI Sylvia,

      We are frustrated for sure, and disappointed in the lack of action from the DHET. It is concerning.

      It would be awesome to be recognised, but during the past couple of years, it was clear that the one Act did include SDPs, where another Act did not recognise them at all. Now that the Acts are being amended, future wise (definitely not now) SDPs will be recognised. The National Skills Authority? They only look at TVET Colleges – I don’t see them doing anything for private SDPs. The DHET have clearly shown that they do not understand the private sector – why not speak to the SETAs (been here for two decades) and the QCTO (been here for a decade now)?

      Some of the largest companies in South Afica have training departments that are accredited by SETAs and QCTO. The DHET keeps hammering on workplace, but guess what? SDPs have more engagements with these large companies, to upskill and educate the skills that are required within the workplace.

      I have even sent a request to the Department of Labor – no comment, no response whatsoever – education does not fall under them, and that is why the First Aiders have been in battle with for the past 4 years now. DoEL might understand the workplace, but definitely not the knowledge and practical components together with quality assurance of NQF learning programmes.

      The DHET, QCTO and SETAs must all get together – sit around the same table and fix this once and for all.

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    • #75317
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Hi Lynel,
      Yes I hear you – but remember it is the DEL – then Labour that set up the SETAs – and the original concept of the Learnership – and understood the concept of Host employer.

      We certainly could have an argument about whether the SETAs have improved under the DHET.

      When the PSET White Paper was issued in 2014 I really thought we had something good going. But delivery for skills has been a disappointment.

      Attention has been focused on universities, TVETs & CET. That must certainly continue – that is the next generation.

      But skills is the current workforce – the people in employment & the 18(2) learners. That is our current economy – not something in 5/10 years time.

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      • #75320
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        Hi Sylvia,

        I cannot comment on whether the SETAs have improved under the DHET at all. In my personal opinion, I think the DHET have seriously let the industry down, and perhaps hoped that it will just disappear in a couple of years. The gap exist, and the providers are there to close it, with their expertise and quality of learning programmes, specifically addressed for workplace. The provider goes to the employer and/or the learner (we take the learning where learning is required) which have been powerful and unique. Don’t you dare tell a university or a tvet college to go out in the field – it doesn’t work like that (they will use providers in any way). Again, SDPs are willing to work with Universities and TVET Colleges – we go where we are needed to upskill and educate.

        The next issue for providers will come in once the NQF amendment act is approved/signed/promulgated by the President. Public comment ended on the 30th May, so who knows where they are in the process.

        You are 100% right, the DHET have only focussed on TVET, Universities and Higher Education Institutions. Although SDPs form part of PSET, they completely forgot about this industry. What is the reason?

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    • #75321
      Nathaniel Tshuma
      Participant

      This is my point exactly. The minister of Higher Education and Training just doesn’t understand the difference between Education and Training and Skills Development.

      The first thing he did when the Setas were moved from the DOL to DHET was for the minister to divert the NSF from its original mandate of developing skills to the establishment of public TVET Colleges. The funds to establish the TVET Colleges was taken from the NSF. The same funds were used through the Setas to Procure learning material from private providers and that material was given to the public TVET Colleges freely with accreditation while us private training providers were being still struggling to develop our own learning material. The second blow was our deregistration with Umalusi and the reaccreditation fees being exorbitantly increased that we can no longer afford them so that we are taken out of the training arena. We need a powerful lobby group that can fight this kind of approach by the Higher Education Approach.

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    • #75322
      Nigel Shipston
      Participant

      Hi Sylvia, I have to agree with you regarding the White Paper. Had DHET implemented the recommendations for Registering SDP’s it would have been so much better. My only concern with moving back to DEL is how many people are there now at DEL to take up the reins of what they started many years back? They are better suited to addressing our environment in particular, but will this mean re-starting a process with which many may not be familiar in managing?

      The DoL Directive issued late in April spelled out that employers are still obliged to comply with the OHS Act, so in particular, Regulatory training such as First Aid, LMO and Dangerous goods must be carried out. While we may not have been directly specified in any of the Regs and permitted business categories, we have nowhere been specifically prohibited from operating.

      With the current relaxation of COVID Regs and the application of responsible and recommended prevention practices, perhaps returning to operation will ensure future appropriate attention to SDP’s?

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    • #75323
      Lynel Farrell
      Keymaster

      I don’t understand why Skills Development Providers cannot operate. They don’t deal with thousands of learners on a daily basis – much smaller face-to-face classroom based learning, easier controls (small groups of learners). The Minister only addressed TVET Colleges and Universities, so when will SDPs receive the Criteria and Guidelines? Will they need to report to each SETA/QCTO that they are ready, or will they be going through the same as what Colleges and Universities went through? They had to report on their readiness to open, then they received site visits by DHET to monitor the readiness to open.

      Here, it won’t work for SDPs, as there are thousands of them. The SETAs and QCTO do not have the capacity to conduct site visits to all SDPs – imagine that? Perhaps, this is the main problem: How will SDPs report on their readiness to open, to whom, what must be in place? Whatever the delay is, for some SDPs it will just be too late.

      I don’t know what to say to SDPs anymore. It feels like I am hitting a brick wall every day, with no outcome, no guidance, just nothing.

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    • #75325
      Willemien Kleijn
      Participant

      Maybe the alternative is to simply resume activities adapting existing guidelines of TVET, retail etc.

      We have opted to continue using eLearning. When it comes to external moderation, our internal moderators will write a report motivating the reason for absence of handwritten comments (ETDP SETA demands physical files with handwritten assessor comments).

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      • #75328
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        This could be an easy option, although the QCTO memorandum was published. The question that I had on a similar conversation was: If you open and follow the TVET guidelines, and an inspector walks in your premises, could they fine the SDP R150k for non-compliance? I have also requested that the fines and penalties given verbally on television be seen in writing. We all want to comply, and all SDPs will adhere to the criteria – just give it to us.

        I guess if you want to take the chance, then you are ready for the consequences and accountability. I wish I had answers, but it is an impossible task – we have been attempting to get answers for weeks now, and still we wait.

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    • #75327
      Nigel Shipston
      Participant

      Hi Lynel, Agreed. The SETA’s are already under pressure and there is no way they could also address site visits to all providers to ensure COVID compliance. However, as many, if not most providers will be training and assessing on employer premises, they are already familiar with OHS requirements to which they are subject under the employers policies. The same applies with COVID precautions, training provider personnel will be subject to the employers COVID procedures.

      As I said before, there is nothing specifically prohibiting SDP’s from operating under these circumstances. If anything, the DoL Directive expects this to happen. Our SDP’s survival depends now on getting back into operation and until somebody takes note that our sector exists, go for it! My goodness, hairdressers are more important than us!

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    • #75329
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Thanks Nathaniel your comments are very useful input to the whole picture. I will remember that.

      Lynel, yes how will the DHET be able to follow the same model as the universities & TVET of inspecting for re-opening – they will be here for a month of Sundays – they do not have the capacity.

      But following Nigel’s comment – I have been thinking – we are making this too difficult.

      1. There are many providers who train on site. All they need to do is comply with all the company on-site guidelines, and for themselves – all the general guidelines.

      2. Then for slightly larger groups where providers hire venues – they must comply with the venue company guidelines, and for themselves – all the general guidelines.

      3. Then the very large providers who have their own premises, and on site training – they must comply (as with a university and TVET) and be inspected to open.

      Then also all the various safety training courses – they comply with DEL – who actually have inspectors who do go out – so they could be inspected by them. As with First Aid providers.

      Such specialist providers could be approved by their individual industry professional body, who would have a much better idea of the potential problems, and the specific requirements to be met.

      And a further thought on DEL – they have Inspectors who do go out.

      And finally, my other red hot button – implementation. If I asked the DEL how should I go ahead and implement a Learnership in my operation, where we run continental shift, compressed work week – 4×4 or 4x2x2 – the DEL would know I’m not referring to planks of wood.

      Just my opinion – it’s implementation that matters – not the documents.

      Thanks to all – I really think we need to throw all the sticks in the air and re-plan what we need, and what we are actually doing to implement skills development.

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      • #75330
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        Hi Sylvia,

        I keep going back to the QCTO Memorandum 3, which was published. The question I have (that no one wants to answer) is: If a provider opens up face-to-face learning whereby the directives are not signed off – what are the penalties or fines? Can a provider be fined R150k?

        Majority of providers will not have that amount to pay a fine. I have asked SA Labour Law if they could find the penalties and fines for businesses that are non-compliant or does not adhere to the lockdown regulations and specific industry requirements (we were the forgotten ones again).

        So, do we ignore memorandum3, and continue as if it does not exist, or do we ……………. I am out of options. I dont know where to beg and plead for answers at this stage.

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    • #75331
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Hi Lynel – sending email to you now.

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      • #75333
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        Hi Sylvia,
        Ready for your email!!

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    • #75332
      Nigel Shipston
      Participant

      Hi Lynel,
      I have a number of providers who service, for example, mines that have been operational for some time already. There are a number of others servicing other permitted/essential businesses. No one has questioned these activities and in the light of not being directly specified in the Regs or any other Directive, it would require some very dubious acrobatics to fine these providers. As Sylvia picked up, in most cases providers operate under other policies and procedures by virtue of where their activities take place. In this case, what could they be fined for?

      Memorandum 3 is not a cease and desist order, it merely notifies that Criteria and Guidelines will be submitted to the Minister. It is a little late in the day to submit Criteria and Guidelines as an afterthought when SDP’s are folding. The choice is simple, work and survive or don’t work and disappear. There is a time for compliance and then there is a time for backbone.

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      • #75334
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        As per the QCTO CEO (18 June 2020): 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 hands but I am assured that by DHET officials that it is en route to Minister. It is only the Minister that can approve!

        The QCTO, SETA COVID Task Team, NSA and DHET Skills Branch have been working on these Criteria and Guidelines for a number of weeks (they have been working on this for some time now). We await to see what needs to be in place in order to re-open face-to-face learning. Other than that, some SETAs have assisted and approved online learning for the time being in order to get some providers that can use virtual learning to continue.

        Some SETAs have indicated that they are awaiting the Criteria and Guidelines accordingly. Each industry is different, and some services do fall under essential.

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    • #75335
      Dave Riekert
      Participant

      Hi ALL

      We are training in the agricultural sector and does most, if not all training, at the recipients venue. The guidelines we follow are those set by the various employers. They have specific COVID 19 guidelines which had to be in place for them to comply with GlobalGap, SIZA etc. In essence we keep classes limited to 10 – 15 learners with a metre space between them. All learners and facilitator wear masks, temperatures are taken prior, information sheets per learner completed and venue and learners sanitized.

      We could not wait for a provider guideline as these employers are dependent on this training for compliance.

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      • #75337
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        Hi Dave,
        Okay, so if you are conducting training at the premises of the Client, then you comply with their set rules. Should a learner test positive, then it is the Employer’s responsibility to act accordingly.

        Is there anything that you should do in this case (if you have any experience in this, where a learner tested positive, it would be beneficial to know what the process was that you followed, or will be following). I havent seen that either (only employees in the workplace) and learners in TVET Colleges and Universities where they have Isolation Rooms and protocols to follow.

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    • #75336
      Louis Nel
      Participant

      Hi all

      We have the same point of view as Dave, and have resumed all operations.We stick to the health and safety guidelines as provided by DHET and our clients ensure that they also implement all requirements in order for workers to return to the workplace. We are definitely not waiting for a directive from DHET.

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      • #75338
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        Hi Louis,
        It is sad that Providers have to wait so long, for those who have implemented online learning, they could at least carry on with some of the learning – but not all learning can be done online (or it can, but it could be extremely costly).

        I think the SETAs are also under pressure, trying to find the best option and solutions for everyone. We can work together, but goodness all we want is communication to us – if there are obstacles, then speak to the providers, get their input. What a frustrating time this is.

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    • #75339
      Nigel Shipston
      Participant

      Hi Dave and Louis,
      The way to go! There are already providers who have closed doors and quite frankly as long as you are responsible in your operations there is no reason at this stage for some “Johnny come lately” to tell you what to do.

      It is nice to be told to wait while SDP’s situation worsens. I have little faith in certain authorities appreciation of time (or lack thereof). Witness 3 years of SDP Registration finally coming to a grinding halt. Certainly the lateness of “appreciation” for SDP’s echoes falsely.

      We are responsible adults and understand the danger of this virus. Being subjected to criteria and guidelines (which may well be divorced from reality) is like a bunch of kindergarten kids being patrolled by teachers. What type of clothes we can purchase? Really? SDP’s may be reluctant to speak up, but I don’t think I have yet encountered an SDP that is intent on committing suicide by deliberately exposing themselves or learners to any COVID risk.

      Call it civil disobedience or call it survival. Regulations are supposed to serve the communities who placed people in the position of looking after the country. When these people take it on themselves to impose personal issues or agenda’s on the country it makes me think back to a comment my mother often made – people treat others based on their own weaknesses.

      They forgot us, overlooked us when it counted. What else can we do?

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    • #75340
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Hi Guys,
      Do I detect a gender issue going on here ;)) anyway I’m on the boys’s side.

      Really DHET has proved themselves unable to manage the situation. We can’t sit here while the economy plummets.

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      • #75348
        Nigel Shipston
        Participant

        Hey Sylvia,
        No gender issue at all, we are all in this together. I just cannot stand by and encourage people to wait while Nero fiddles. None of the desktop demons in any of the authorities bothered about us while they resorted to petty issues that lacked any logic or common sense. Now all of a sudden they are knights in shiny white armour?

        We have work to do, we have ourselves and others to support, we have skills to impart. This is not the time to theorise and chatter or to present false interest in defence of indefensible incompetence and hidden agenda’s.

        If we moved back to DoL we may be better off than under DHET who apparently still don’t get the picture some almost four years after announcing their gloriously flawed registration process.

        In the interim, go back to work SDP’s and show the desktop demons that we have value and importance. Show that we are responsible enough to do what is expected of us without nursery school attentions. Continue to show your commitment and stand firm. We have nothing to be ashamed of nor apologise for.

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    • #75341
      Laura Klopper
      Participant

      Hi everyone and thank you for sharing your concerns and recommendations.

      As a SDP we have to conduct the recording and monitoring of OHS Site Compliance monitoring for training delivery.

      We received a request from a client for on-site training delivery. We can ensure that we comply with all the rules and regulations while the learner is in class (screening (entering and during the day) sanitizing, complying with social distancing, wearing of masks etc) but who takes responsibility in terms of learner behavior when they leave the classroom e.g. breaks, using the ablution facilities, during breaks.

      If a learner does not comply with the necessary control measures or guidelines in class, when do you implement disciplinary action and refer it to the on-site Compliance Officer? These learners could be placing others at risk.

      We conducted desktop reviews and tried to think of every possible scenario to conduct on-site and off-site training. The other frustration is the mixed feedback we are receiving from registered OHS registered consultants in terms of their interpretation of legislation and appropriate policies and procedures that must be implemented.

      Finding the correct OHS consultant that understands the training and development environment we are operating in seems to be a challenge. I don’t want to re-open checking a few boxes, I want to ensure the safety of all our staff and learners.

      Any suggestions would be appreciated.

      Be blessed, Laura

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    • #75342
      Des Squire
      Participant

      My, my, what a response to a suggestion. Sylvia, you are a brave lass and I do agree 100% with you. I also love Daves approach which in my humble opinion is correct. Companies are permitted to have conferecnces etc as long as the regulations are adhered to. There should be a COVID policy in place dealing wiht conferences, meetings and classroom based training. Company policies must be adhered to so a failure to comply by any delegate would and should result in disciplinary action and all employees must be made aware of this. In response to your concerns Laura, these issues must be covered in the policy also and the employer and employee will be responsible for compliance. So yes, lets gt back to training, lets take care and lets be adult in our approach to COVID.
      Regarding Sylvias suggestion about returning workplace based education to the department of employment and labour I for one would be in total agreement. It’s high time the objecties of the NQF were achieved. We are not (and I am fed up saying this) TVET colleges we are providers of education and training in a workplace environment.

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      • This reply was modified 3 months ago by Des Squire.
    • #75347
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Hi Des,
      Yes, the more I think about it the more it makes semse – we need to have all the educational institutions together – remember it is only since 2009 that we split off DHET from education.

      That’s working fine – but the workplace is another kettle of fish. This is one of those top down – or bottom up times.

      Education is all set out from the top down.

      Workplace training should be set out from the workplace up. What do we need to support a successful training intervention from the perspective, and reality, and needs of the workplace.

      Yes we still train to achieve qualifications but we do it in a way that makes sense on a daily basis in the workplace. Not an imposition from above.

      What sector are you in?
      We make ice cream. OK then you won’t be doing training in the summer season.
      We supply heating equipment, fire places, etc. OK so your peak season is the winter period. We plan accordingly.
      Not one size fits all.

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    • #75349
      Simphiwe Mdikane
      Participant

      Hi everyone.

      A client of mine also asked me fo onsite training. They obviously have everything in place and they comply since they never even closed during the hard-lockdown. Now, all I have to do is incoporate my own procedures in place to the existing ones-which by the way would not be different from everyone else-and carry on with the training.

      My question is, how will my SETA assist me with the verification, as some SETA told me I need to wait for level 1 to get my learning material evaluated. This is something they could do using soft copy material, but they only want hard copies.

      If they can’t extend my scope to online/blended learning mode of training, how will they conduct verifications? Will we have to wait for level 1?

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      • #75350
        sylvia hammond
        Keymaster

        Hi Simphiwe,
        Thanks for your post – you raise a very good question.

        I can’t answer but here we seem to have another one of those times when SETAs all do different things – and nobody ensures consistency. I would have thought that an essential part of quality is consistency.

        So QCTO is responsible for all qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework – so I would suggest that you approach the QCTO. They have issued a policy document on online delivery.

        Please try there – and let us all know the outcome.

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    • #75357
      Des Squire
      Participant

      Hi Simphiwe, As a verifier for some SETA’s we have made provision for on line verification and delivery of POE’s etc via courier. Verifications carry on with most SETAS as far as I know.

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      • This reply was modified 3 months ago by Des Squire.
    • #75367
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Hi Des,
      That last sentence – please can you update on the SETAs that you are familiar with – what is the progress to move back to the QCTO?

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