Pretoria – Access to Further Education and Training (FET) colleges need to expand to meet the demand for increased training opportunities, says Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande.
“Enrollment at FET colleges must be expanded substantially if we are to come anywhere close to meeting both the need for mid-level skills and the demand from youth for increased training opportunities,” Nzimande said at the National Skills Summit on Thursday.
Nzimande said that while the department was mindful of the need to maintain and improve the quality of education and training, they must also be bold in expanding enrolment of such opportunities without compromising quality.
He said South Africa currently suffers from high unemployment and a shortage of critical skills needed to drive economic growth and social development.
“The skills shortage underpins many of the challenges government faces with regard to service delivery, the expansion of decent work and social justice.
“There is both anecdotal and empirical evidence of skills shortage in a number of occupations and economic sectors within South Africa. It is clear that there is a tangible problem arising from the mismatch between the supply and demand for skills in the South African labour market,” Nzimande said.
He announced that in a few weeks, the National Skills Development Strategy III, the overarching strategic instrument for skills development will be implemented to guide sector planning for the next five years.
The two-day summit brought together all relevant constituencies and stakeholders for a consultative engagement on the skills challenge, including the mismatch between the supply of and demand for skills in the labour market.
Among the issues to be discussed at the summit are the minister’s performance agreement which include the establishment of a credible institutional mechanism for skills planning, increase access to intermediate and high level learning for youth and adults, who do not meet entry requirement for post school programmes.
The outputs will also include increased access to occupationally directed programmes in needed areas with special focus on artisan training, increase access to high level skills in target areas such as in the fields of engineering, animal and health sciences, physical and life sciences and teacher education as well as research, development and innovation in human capital for a growing knowledge economy.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who chairs the Human Resource Development Council, will in the evening outline government’s systematic response to the country’s skills challenge.
Source – BuaNews