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Address to Sector Education Training Authorities

by lloyd last modified 2008-07-30 14:36

SETAs review meeting

Speech give by Minister of Labour at SETAs review meeting on 22 January 2004

Programme Director,Constituents of Seta Boards as well as SETA staff members,Distinguished Guests,Colleagues and Comrades

As the commander in chief of the skills development revolution, I am delighted to join my troops as you assess progress to date and begin to strategize, and to prepare yourselves to go into the battlefield for skills development.

I came here today specifically to congratulate all those SETAs that are on-track to meet their GDS and Sectoral targets, as indicated to my department. Let me also take this opportunity to thank all the employers and providers and most importantly, the young women and men of our country who are leading the learnership charge and are already enjoying the benefits of this new exciting programme.

In just two short months, another financial year will have elapsed and we will have concluded another year of the National Skills Development Strategy. We will again be expected to report our progress to the nation and we will again be judged by the people of this country. We will also be expected to report to the NEDLAC team on our achievements against the Growth and Development Summit commitments we made.

The theme for today?s meeting is Accelerating Learner Intake to meet the GDS targets.

According to the preliminary Quarterly Monitoring Report up to end of September 2003, I have noticed a significant improvement in terms of participation levels by young people below the age of 30 in learnerships and apprenticeships.

22 055 learners were in the various apprenticeship programmes while 23 843 were in the various learnerships programmes, bringing our total to date to 45 898. On these figures we still need about 27 000 learners between now and May to meet our target for May and of course an additional 8 000 on top to reach 80 000 by March next year.

Since the figure of 46 000 odd does not include progress in the October to December quarter, the target may be even less than this - but we?ll only know when the third Quarterly Reports are end at the end of January. I am optimistic that we will succeed, but of course there is no room for complacency.

We have seen a significant improvement in the matriculation pass rate and we know that relatively few young people will get opportunities to go to higher education full-time. It is for this reason that I urge you to double your effort to exceed the target. After all, youth unemployment far exceeds our national learnership targets - and there are great expectations of us.

The skills development strategy has been embraced throughout the country and there have been a number of initiatives developing in the various provinces. A few noteworthy initiatives includes:

  • Northern Cape Provincial Administration Learnership and Internship Launch

On the 05th of December, the Department of Education - Northern Cape launched their Learnership and Internship programme for 2000 learners across the entire public service departments in the province.

I believe that there are more initiatives like this in the pipeline. Indeed I am told that Durban Municipality is in the process of preparing a major project, of which you will be hearing later in this meeting today. I hear that this project, called the Siyaya Learnership project, aims to offer a structured learning experience to 1000 unemployed graduates who live within the boundaries of the eThekwini Municipality and is a joint a venture between the eThekwini Municipality, Local Government, Water and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (LGWSETA).

Ethekwini is also proposing to launch a Learnership Programme that accommodate 5000 matriculants which is very exciting. I trust that they will receive the fullest possible support from the SETAs - they can certainly depend on the support of my department.

I also know of a Community Development Worker Learnership registered at the end of 2003 being coordinated by the DPSA and the LGWSETA. This learnership I am told will accommodate 2840 learners.

There are other learnership programmes within the Department of Public Works where in 500 contractor learnerships are to be employed by end of January 2004 and 225 learners are to be appointed within the Department of Labour by April 2004 in the ESDS Learnership

My own Department has committed itself to launch (20 pilots) to test the concept of an Employment and Skills Development Lead Employer by March 2004 especially to assist SMMEs - as a precursor to the ESDAs which are due to be formalised later in the year. It is anticipated that each lead employer in this pilot will manage about 550 learners. This translates to 11000 learners that will be trained by this pilots.

I know that there are many other initiatives taking place within Setas and it will be important that we give such initiatives maximum publicity. From my side, I will endeavour to respond positively to the many invitations I have received to participate in launches of individual projects - however, sadly, I cannot be everywhere, and please do not be discouraged if I am forced to decline an offer - my heart will be with you!

I have published proposed amendments to the current Funding Regulations to make sure that we are able to use SETA reserves for learnerships as well as for ABET and other programmes where we need to focus if we are to achieve our NSDS targets. I have also published proposed Regulations regarding Service Level Agreements to make sure that we tighten our management processes whilst remaining accountable and using resources effectively.

My department is geared towards assisting all Setas with the evaluation of learnership and the registration process, development of curricula, development of learning materials, registration of assessors, accreditation of providers and workplaces, establishment of learnership support agents, and developing a communications and marketing strategies.

Through our provincial and local offices, my department is also committed to assisting SETAs and their member companies with the assessment and recruitment of potential learners. Processes are in place in developing and implementing a careers information system linking interests of potential learners to available learnership opportunities. The implementation of this, the Lesedi programme, will allow more effective management and selection of learners.

Having said that, I must indicate that we still face a number of challenges. I urge all of us to consider the following:

  • Not to lose sight of the equity targets set in our quest to meet the GDS targets
  • To continue to encourage every employer to participate in learnerships
  • To support training providers (both public and private) to participate in the delivery of learnership programmes
  • To work together to develop realistic and responsible exit strategies for learners after completion
  • To increase co-operation between and amongst SETAs in delivering learnerships

Finally, I thank you for your commitment and hard work to date. The next four months requires us to roll up our sleeves and deliver on our commitments. We have talked enough. Lets continue with our efforts - together we are sure to succeed.

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