Address by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, MR Buti Manamela, to the Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) Skills Summit, Birchwood Hotel, Gauteng, 27 March 2019
Chairperson of the Accounting Authority - Ms Nomagcisa Tsipa – Sipoyo
Accounting Authority Members of the Transport SETA
Chief Executive Officer of the Transport SETA
Representative from the Industry and Organised Labour
Ladies and gentlemen
Let me first thank the Transport SETA for having organised this event at the opportune time when the country call upon us, to do more, in the provision of the skills required for our socio economic development. I am aware that some, if not most of you have attended the National Skills Conference that was held from 14-15 March 2019, here at Birchwood Hotel.
The Minister amongst others, introduced the theme of the Conference, which was “building a demand led skills development system that focuses on an inclusive growth”. You will agree with me that this remains for ever relevant, if we are to have impact in our society, especially in addressing the question of youth unemployment.
The need for building a demand-led skills development system remains our focus for inclusive economicgrowth. This need is well articulated in the ANC January 8 Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa when he said,“We will draw more women, more rural people and more youth into the economy by expanding access to digital skills training to young people, by developing and supporting technological and digital start-ups, and a more concerted focus on SMMEs, cooperatives and township and village enterprises our education must prepare”.
We are meeting today at this Skills Summit at the time, when we have just received Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) figures on gross domestic product (GDP) regarding the performance our economy in 2018. I am pleased that despite the recession, there is a positive growth in the third and fourth quarters of 2018 whilst the real annual growth rate stood at 0.8% in 2018. However this growth can be better, in fact, it must be better for us to effectively counteract unemployment and poverty.
As this Skills Summit we must identify practical steps, to confront the challenge of the youth unemployment, which stands at 54.7% for the ages between 15-24 years and 33% for the ages between 25-35 years by the fourth quarter of 2018. I am sure that you will agree with me that this is unacceptably high.
I have noted an anomaly in the Transport Sector. The growth for both Quarter 4 of 2018 and Annual Growth was positive at 7.7% and 1.6% respectively.
But when it comes to employment, the Sector shredded jobs in Q4 of 2018 to the region of 30 000 with the majority affected being women at 22 000 and men at 8 000. There is a contradiction between the sector that is growing but shedding jobs at the same time. This Skills Summit must assist helping us understand this problem and how must we speedily resolve it, so that we grow South Africa together.
The transport sector has entered a global transformation that is characterized by the convergence of digital, physical, and biological technologies in ways that are changing both the world around us and our very idea of what it means to be human. Currently there are eleven South African universities offering programmes and modules in 4IR and related fields of artificial intelligence and robotics. This Skills Summit will have not completed its work, if does not reflect on addressing the matter of the fourth industrial revolution skills with practical solutions, as there is no time for dialogue in perpetuity.
The presentation by International Labour Organisation (ILO) at the National Skills Conference, indicated that some, 10%-18% jobs may be automated, but many new jobs will be created, hence we need to embrace the fourth industrial revolution with all our hands.
You will agree with me that already demand for routine and manual tasks is decreasing whilst demand for higher- skilled tasks, problem solving and interpersonal skills is on the rise.
The SETA working with all related parties must ensure that college curriculum, which is at the heart of the South African vocational education and training system, is restructured to enhance responsiveness to industry needs and requirements and to improve Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) standards.
In line with South Africa's proposed reforms, international experience suggests that vocational lecturers and teachers should be encouraged to spend time at the workplace.
One option is for existing teachers to spend short periods in industry. For example, in Finland, the Telkkä programme allowed teachers to spend two months on the-job and brought a wide range of benefits to teachers.
One benefit of lecturer-internships is that lecturers become more familiar with current workplace requirements, particularly those of the hosting employer, and teach these in their course. For the employer, this may ease the recruitment and training process for new workers.
While South Africa needs more skills, it also needs to ensure the right set of skills for the labour market. I am aware that the Transport SETA currently has working relationship with Universities, Private Training Providers and TVET colleges based on areas of priority identified by the relevant parties, such as bursaries, lecturer development, capacity building and accreditation support.
We need to intensify these initiatives, especially on learnerships, apprenticeships and internships.
Lastly, the Minister in the National Skills Conference, also launched the National Skills Development Plan (NSDP) which has been consulted extensively, especially with social partners at NEDLAC.
It was gazetted on 7 March 2019. In the NSDP there is an explicit acknowledgement that South Africa needs to join hands and minds to generate the solutions to our challenges. The slogan of the NDP emphasises this cooperative paradigm in “Our Future – Make It Work”.
The NDP calls for an improvement in the quality of education and training to enhance the capabilities of our people so that they are active participants in developing the potential of the country. The NSDP is therefore crafted as key to enabling government and social partners to contribute towards economic growth, employment creation and social development. I invite all of us, to read, read and read the NSDP as it will be implemented from 1 April 2020, by all of us, especially within the skills development system. I am looking forward to the deliberations and outcomes of this Skills
I thank you.