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The Apprenticeship Game Changer

To achieve sufficient, appropriately qualified technical & vocational skilled people to meet the needs of prioritised economic growth areas in the Western Cape by 2019.

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The Challenge

One of the biggest challenges facing the Western Cape and the rest of the country is the millions of young South Africans who want to work but are unable to find employment.

While the Western Cape has the lowest youth unemployment rate in the country, it still stands undesirably high at 29.9% and has deteriorated by 4.0 percentage points in the past 5 years.

At the same time, South Africa faces a major skills shortage in a number of key economic sectors, indicating a major mismatch in the supply and demand for skills.

It is estimated that approximately half a million jobs remain vacant because of a lack of the appropriate skills.

These shortages are felt particularly in the fields of maths and science, with a lack of skills in fields such as engineering and ICT as well as a growing shortage of vocational and technical skills (artisans) such as electricians, welders and mechanics, which is seriously hampering economic growth.

There are a number of reasons for these shortages, which include:

  • Poor maths and science pass rates at schools;
  • Lack of awareness of scarce skills and related employment opportunities;
  • Learners preferring to enrol at universities, which they view as superior to technical colleges;
  • Negative societal perceptions of the status of artisans; and
  • A shortage of funding and workplace based learning opportunities.

The Solution

The Western Cape Government’s Apprenticeship Game Changer is focused on tackling these challenges in the province in order to increase to number of young people qualifying as technical occupations over the next few years.

The Game Changer focuses on five specific economic sectors, namely: Oil & Gas, Tourism, Agri-processing, Renewable Energy and Information Communication Technology.

Three of these have been prioritised under the provincial government’s growth strategy – Project Khulisa – due to their high growth potential.

Our overall is introducing just over 11 300 qualified apprentices into the labour market within these sectors by 2019 by working with schools, TVET colleges and employers.

We have worked with employers to identify the most in demand technical and vocational jobs most needed in our five priority sectors in the province and are now focusing on ensuring there are sufficiently skilled young people to meet this demand.

The key focus areas of the Game Changer are:

  • First, ensuring that learners leave school with the qualifications that employers want – most important is a 50% or more matric maths result;
  • Second, changing attitudes towards technical and vocational careers. Learners and parents need to see these as important and attractive opportunities, as they are seen in the world’s best and fastest growing economies, like Germany, Switzerland, India and Vietnam; and
  • Third, getting employers committed to a “learn and earn” model of training and increasing the number of young people in formal apprentices and other training opportunities linked to the workplace.

Role of Employers

Critical to the success of the Apprenticeship Game changer is the active involvement of employers.

Employers need to be at the centre of our game changer, creating the bridge that will enable learners to move from educational institutions into the workplace as apprentices in large numbers.

In order to make it easier for employers to take on apprentices, we have we have an apprenticeship specialist team standing by to guide you through the process.

To find the answers to all your apprenticeship queries, contact us on 0861 888 126 or at redtape@westerncape.gov.za.