Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has reiterated his call to transform places of work into training areas for young adults from Further Education Training (FET) colleges to assure placement opportunities.
“We need to open each and every workplace into training space, both private in addition to the municipalities must become spaces of education,” Nzimande said.
Talking at the National Skills Conference, Nzimande stated it was inconceivable to take in everyone into universities simply because at this time there was not adequate space. He stressed the necessity to adjust attitudes in communities when it comes to vocational training.
“The country won’t be able to have productive jobs creation without skills development. Skills development makes it possible for our people to take advantage of job opportunities… We have to absorb a large number of people with matric to obtain skills training at FET colleges to enable them to initiate jobs,” Nzimande said.
A worried Nzimande pointed out that the department expected to see a balance in the volume of young people in universities and FET colleges.
“Less than 9 000 students are absorbed by universities and a quarter by colleges. We strive to see that transforming within the next five years. The numbers should balance.”
The two-day conference, organised by the National Skills Authority in collaboration with the department, is meant to bring together stakeholders to talk about experiences, examine challenges and ways in which tobest to address them and also look at the state of skills development.
National Skills Authority chairperson, Eddie Majadibodu, said the stakeholders will get a agreement regarding how to fast track the issue of artisan development.
“We have high hopes that the discussions will yield public interest on artisanship and information and facts on the role of SETAs since the majority of individuals don’t fully understand its functions and cannot make use of its services,” said Majadibodu.
He noted that learnerships were not an expense, as most employers think, but rather an investment in the country.
“There is certainly an issue on the low levels of skills development in the country and without the skills, we simply cannot do anything… We need to generate more artisans.
“We now have set a target to produce 10 000 artisans in the next 12 months and 50 000 over a five-year period and we believe this is achievable,” said Majadibodu.
The department not too long ago signed a National Skills Accord with organised labour, business and community constituencies, committing themselves to combine efforts to bolster skills development as a critical pillar of the New Growth Path.
In the accord, business wholly commited to develop a strategy for workplace exposure to FET college lecturers in discussion with FET colleges; as well as to help support initiatives of engineers to teach either part-time or as guest lecturers at colleges to make certain that learners are able to reap the benefits of their experience.
Business further committed to offer support by sponsoring equipment for training laboratories in their adopted colleges.