New Era for Skills Development in South Africa


It is a while since I circulated a newsletter - as most of my regular readers know, I generally only put pen to paper (or finger to the keyboard) when I have something to say....

This year is already 25% done which is a bit mind-boggling.  With the Easter weekend and school holidays falling the way they have, April will be gone in the blink of an eye.  The first part of the year has, however, been an interesting period and there seems to be a sense of optimism about the economy that is not entirely connected to the World Cup.  I hope that this gathers momentum and is not squashed by the various price increases with which we are being bludgeoned.

After more than two years of waiting, the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was launched on 23 February 2010, and will be ably steered through at least its first few months by Adrienne Bird.  Although only operational from 1 April, this signals an end to a long period of limbo and uncertainty for many training providers and is to be welcomed.

The Skills Development Amendment Act (SDA) 2008 provides for the QCTO and also a change in name from "training" provider to "skills development" provider.  It heralds the introduction of a new occupational qualifications sub- framework on the NQF, and an occupational learning system.  Current registered qualifications will see out their “natural lives” and will then be replaced with new qualifications that conform to the new structure and curriculum requirements.  The good thing about this is that we can prepare for these changes over time, and we will learn more about this as the QCTO begins its work.  This will include calls for comment on policy proposals and the regulations to support the implementation of the SDA.  I urge you to watch for these developments and to contribute to the dialogue by submitting your comments either through the appropriate channels, through FIONA CAMERON CONSULTING or through forms such as the SkillZHub.

Minster Blade Nzimande’s new Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) became operational on 1 November 2009, and is headed up by Mary Metcalfe, former MEC for Education in Gauteng, who is also a former teacher and Dean of Education at Wits.  The consolidation of the functions that have been transferred from the Department of Labour is well underway, and it is understood that the transfer of staff came into effect on 1 April.  The DHET has produced a strategic plan for the sector.  Encouragingly, the plan takes a long term view on higher education and training.  This, with the integration of all aspects of post school training (academic, occupational, vocational and workplace) suggests a welcome move to better coordination and a more systemic, coherent approach to skills development.  In his budget vote, Minister Nzimande indicated that we will not have to wait too long to find out about the new SETA landscape or the next skills development strategy; the early track record of the department suggests that we will not be disappointed.  Both the budget speech (courtesy of the SkillZHub) and the DHET strategic plan can be downloaded here.

Obviously we shall continue monitoring policy and related developments to keep you informed as they emerge.  Sometimes in-depth analysis of the implications of new plans and policies in relation to your organisation is essential - please get in touch if we can help with this.

FIONA CAMERON CONSULTING continues to offer a range of services and products to the skills development sector, through our national network of associates, each of whom have specific areas of expertise. 

In addition to Winning Essays and MyMoneyforLife, we have developed the following new products and services which may be of interest to you:

Coaching Skills for Team Leaders and Supervisors

A short, unit standard aligned course for team leaders and supervisors who muct coach co-workers and team members who need improve their performance.  (US 113909 Coach a team member in order to enhance individual performance in work environment). 

We have also developed a unit standard aligned course that will help team leaders and supervisors to plan, run and review on-the-job training (US 117877 Perform one-to-one training on the job).

Interpersonal Skills for Managing Poor Performance

This is a one-day workshop has been developed in association with Arlene Adriaanse of Forefront Training, for team leaders and middle managers who are expected to apply company procedures and the Labour Relations Act.  Often these people have the technical skills related to the operational aspects of their jobs, but face serious challenges when it comes to addressing misconduct or incapacity issues.  This course has been successfully piloted in a private hospital setting and sets out to combine the guidelines as set out in the Labour Relations Act with a softer, human skill that enables managers to maintain and enhance the self esteem of the staff member being counselled. 

For more information about these courses, please contact us.

Boutique conferencing services

Organising a conference that is professionally run and cost effective for both the hosts and the delegates is a challenge in this sector.  Our understanding of this specialised market, the importance of continuous professional development, its associated challenges and dialogue in the sector, equip us to help clients organise niche conferences and seminars that are cost effective and professionally managed.  Click here for more information about this service.

I trust that the indicators of South Africa’s recovery from the recession supported by today's announcement from the SA Chamber of Commerce and industry, that business confidence rose in March increased by 0,2 index points to measure 83,2 (M&GOnline 8 April 2010), are realised and that this bodes well for us all during 2010 and beyond.

Best wishes

Fiona Cameron-Brown