Higher Education and Training Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, has warned that any college principal who does not promote work placement has no place in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college system.
Nzimande was speaking at the WorldSkills South Africa (WSZA) National Competition opening ceremony held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday.
Nzimande said in line with the department’s expansion plans in the TVET sector, the colleges should implement “quality industry driven curriculum”, by engaging employers with the purpose of strengthening and improving the curriculum, so that students can be directed on the right path.
“We have now also incorporated into our plans that all college principals must have in their performance agreements with the department the issue of work placement and partnership with industry. Any college principal who does not promote work placement has no place in our TVET college system!
“As we near the end of what has been a successful Decade of the Artisan Programme and the 10th Anniversary of the White Paper for Post School Education and Training (November 2013 to November 2023), we need to escalate artisan training and deepen partnership with employers and industry,” Nzimande said.
The WSZA National Competition, which kicks off on 7 – 10 June 2022, is an important mechanism to promote artisan skills as a viable career choice, as well as to open up potential partnerships with industry.
The national competition, supported by regional competitions, provides a critical platform from which the country is able to assess the levels of apprenticeship and artisan training, in addition to advocating for the uptake of artisan careers as careers of first choice.
Nzimande said through the WorldSkills competition, they want to help the youth to change their lives, and the fortunes of their communities, and help develop our country.
“Our skills competitions measure excellence, celebrate champions and encourage hundreds of thousands of young people to turn their passions into a profession or occupation, and change the trajectory of their families and society at large for the better,” Nzimande said.
He added that the WorldSkills South Africa National Competition will offer the participants huge benefits and opportunities.
Finding new innovation methods as dictated by 4IR
Nzimande said the competition is more than “winning and taking the prize home”, but it is about the improvement of South Africa’s vocational skills, coupled with finding new innovation methods, as dictated by the 4th Industrial Revolution in order to grow the economy and create more jobs.
“We joined this competition just under 10 years ago because we wanted to judge our own skills and knowledge gains the best in the world. This will allow us to know exactly the nature and scale of the challenge we face and what needs to be done to produce truly excellent and competent artisans.
“Much as we aim to win, but we must also learn from our failures! Through this competition and the WorldSkills International Competition, we want to create opportunities for learners to become the very best version of themselves possible,” Nzimande said.
R200 million to fund skills programmes
Meanwhile, Nzimande announced that the department has taken a decision to fund skills programmes offered by former Adult Education Centres, now known as Community Education Training (CET) colleges, to the tune of R200 million.
He said the department is also reviewing its five-year enrolment plan for CET colleges, and develop a sustainable funding model for the sector.
Furthermore, in helping drawing more young people into the economy, he said government has, under the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, initiated various youth development and empowerment initiatives to support young people.
“These range from formal education and training; learnerships and internships as well as support for youth entrepreneurship. Our initiatives provide the necessary support for young people to take on their challenges and succeed.
“I therefore urge all the students to look out for these opportunities, especially the Workplace-Based Learning opportunities, as presented through our Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) in partnership with the private sector,” Nzimande said.