Premier Zille and Employers Discuss Apprenticeship Game Changer
Earlier today, Premier Helen Zille addressed Western Cape employers on the Province’s Apprenticeship Game Changer.
The Premier was speaking at the annual Premier’s Council on Skills, established in 2011. The Council is a platform for all skills development role players within the province to discuss areas of potential economic growth, and how to develop the skills required to meet the demand of our priority sectors.
The Apprenticeship Game Changer was launched in October last year. The main goal of the Game Changer is to achieve sufficient, appropriately qualified technical and vocationally skilled people to meet the needs of prioritised economic growth areas in the Western Cape. The provincial government has set a target of introducing 32 500 qualified apprentices into the labour market by 2019.
“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. It is also important that the retention in the workplace of registered apprentices is improved,” Premier Zille said.
In her address, the Premier identified 8 employer interventions that will make it easier for businesses to partner with government and other stakeholders. These include:
- Taking on workplace-based learners such as Apprentices;
- Supporting career awareness campaigns;
- Getting involved in the Technical Advisory Forums or TAF’s;
- Supporting Maths in TVET Colleges and Schools;
- Supporting the development of Recognition of Prior Learning Toolkits;
- Supporting and participating in the identification of specialised training needs;
- Supporting mentorship training of employees; and
- Participating in the A21 model (Dual System) programmes we are piloting in key occupational sectors.
Premier Zille gave an update on progress made to date. Since October last year, several key milestones had been achieved:
- 7 500 young people successfully completed their work place based learning programmes in the occupations required by the priority growth sectors of the province.
- When it comes to improving maths results of learners, we are focusing on rolling out eLearning in our technical schools. We are currently rolling out digital maths programmes to approximately 3,000 matriculants to enhance their learning environment. 4 TVET College campuses will also receive math assistants in the coming months who will provide support to lecturers and students.
- We have also established Technical Advisory Forums per priority economic sector. These are operational and working towards continued refinement of curriculums for specialised skills needed in high-demand occupations.
- In terms of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), 3 toolkits have been developed and approved (Diesel Mechanics, Motor Mechanic, and Welders). 29 RPL candidates have been successfully trained and are awaiting their trade tests.
- In terms of Mentorship Training, an initial 17 mentors have been trained and our intention is to consistently support the development of more mentors, as they are critical to companies being able to increase the number of apprentices in the workplace.
- We have also facilitated a Blockman training programme which included employer participation in the curriculum development and design. 30 learners have been placed with Spar, Food Lovers Market and Excellent Meat Market.
- Various other partnerships are also yielding results with funding in the pipeline from MerSETA – and more Setas are likely to provide additional funding. We also have new employers that are participating in our placement programmes such as EOH, Marriot, Nautic Africa; and we are looking forward to creating new partnerships toward strengthening the skills development of learners.
- At a national level, the Centre for Enterprises and Development is also currently considering including our Apprenticeship Game Changer in their formal policy documents that is focused on tackling youth unemployment in the country.
- In addition, the Human Resource Development Council of South Africa is considering the Technical Advisory Forum mechanism as a best practise model to link key stakeholders within a priority growth sector. The Institute of People Management has also requested a formal paper and presentation on the Apprenticeship Game Changer at their international conference in November 2017.
- The introduction of the Apprenticeship of the 21st Century or the A21 model (commonly known as the Dual System) as a pilot programme in two occupational sectors. We plan to pilot this model in the Bicycle Mechanics and PV installers certifications, and are looking for more pilot opportunities in this financial year.
“Negative political developments in South Africa led to the country’s credit rating being downgraded to junk status recently. Despite these developments, the Western Cape economy has resisted headwinds rather remarkably,” said Premier Zille.
“However, we recognise that our economic growth will be limited by our ability to deliver the required skills needed by our priority sector. That is why we are driving our Apprenticeship Game Changer; which focuses on key partnerships between government, tertiary education and employers to achieve sufficient, appropriately qualified technical and vocational skilled people to meet the needs of our economy.”
“While we are pleased with this progress, we know there is a great deal that still needs to be done if we hope to achieve our targets and contribute towards increasing job opportunities for young people in the province,” said Premier Zille.