Launch of the Provincial Skills Development Forum
Media Statement by Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape
Today, we are proud to launch the Provincial Skills Development Forum (PSDF), our government's comprehensive plan to address the skills shortage and future skills demand in the Western Cape.
In line with our first Strategic Objective, we have put economic and employment growth at the front and centre of our agenda for the province. Key to achieving this is a population with the skills aligned to, and relevant to, the needs of a growing economy.
While the Western Cape, relative to the other eight provinces, has better access to critical assets such as internet and computers, a better educated population, excellent school and tertiary institutions and a burgeoning services sector, we are faced with numerous challenges when it comes to job creation and skills development. These include:
- Skills development initiatives are not aligned to the economy.
- Youth unemployment is high particularly amongst young people who have no education, complete GET or incomplete FET (an estimated 75% of job losses during the recession were suffered by people under the age of 35).
- The working population is increasing faster than the number of jobs being created.
- There is a mismatch between the supply and demands of skills (quality vs quantity).
- Employment is becoming increasingly skills intensive across most sectors.
Accordingly, the primary purpose of the PSDF will be to coordinate skills development in the Western Cape so as to ensure that skills development interventions translate into real opportunities for our citizens.
In addition to the above, the PSDF will bring all three spheres of government, higher education, organised labour and business together to:
- Create public/private partnerships aimed at leveraging funding and services for targeted and relevant skills interventions.
- Pilot innovative skills development interventions that not only meet the demands of the labour market but are flexible to its needs.
- Provide on-the-job training for entry level, GET and FET learners to increase the relevance of their education and skills in order to improve their chances of finding long-term employment.
The forum will consist of the following three structures:
2. A Technical Working Group (TWG): This group will ensure that the skills agenda developed by the PCS is translated into practical interventions that are implemented. It will also be responsible for monitoring and evaluating these interventions and dealing with any bottlenecks that arise. The group will consist of government officials and representatives from the business sector, organised labour and higher education. Under this body, several theme specific working groups will be created.
3. Secretariat: The secretariat will consist of provincial government officials who will be required to provide technical, professional and administrative support to both the PCS and the TWG. This body will also house the knowledge that is created and develop key proposals and policies for implementation.
1. The Premier's Council on Skills (PCS): This body will be comprised of representatives from government, higher education, organised labour and business, and will be responsible for providing leadership and direction. The council will determine the skills priorities for the province and will define an agenda for producing these needed skills. It will also play a critical role in ensuring that the public and private sector work in close partnership to drive skills development in the province.
We are pleased to be launching the PSDF during Youth Month, particularly in light of this year's theme - "Youth Action for Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime" - which focuses on youth development and their participation in the economy. A key focus of the PSDF will be coming up with solutions aimed specifically at addressing youth unemployment. Envisaged interventions include bursary schemes and an expanded at-work training scheme.
We are confident that by providing a platform for business, government, higher education and organised labour to collaborate on a skills development vision and action plan, the PSDF will ensure that our province produces an appropriately skilled citizenry that is able to find work and contribute to the economic growth of our region.
Skills development is a top priority from the Western Cape Government. We look forward to working closely with all stakeholders involved in the PSDF to provide opportunities for our people to prosper and live lives of value.
Spokesperson for Premier Helen Zille
Cell: 072 617 4798
Spokesperson for Minister Alan Winde
Cell: 082 378 2235
Follow Minister Winde at: www.twitter.com/alanwinde
Workforce Development, Department of Economic Development and Tourism
Tel: 021-483 9435
Cell: 072 452 6197