Speech give by Minister of Labour at SETAs review meeting on 22
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
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
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
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
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
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
- 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
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.