Minister Pandor’s speech at the launch of a centre of specialisation at Ekurheleni TVET college Ekurhuleni TVET College Kwa-Thema Campus
Youth unemployment is our central challenge. Government has embarked on a number of initiatives to tackle this challenge – not alone but in partnership with employers.
The shared aim of all these initiatives is to assist young people to progress from school to work and, once there, to both meet their own needs as well as to play an active part in building the success of the
workplaces they enter so that our economy and country can prosper.
The contribution that the Department of Higher Education and Training can make to all these initiatives is to ensure that our public education and training institutions, in particular, are well positioned to
provide the learning needed for their success.
One way in which we’re doing this is to work with industry associations to train artisans. The programmes are not geared to the needs of a single firm only, but to any firm that requires that one or
more of the bundle of skills that an artisan is trained to perform.
We’re piloting this approach in the Centres of Specialisation Programme, launched in October 2017.
We chose thirteen trades, and we sought industry association partners and in the first round we’re working with the Retail Motor Industry for the automotive trades, the Institute of Plumbers of South
Africa for plumbers, the Southern African Institute of Welders for welders and with the Steel and Engineering Industries of Southern Africa for the remaining nine trades.
With these partners we have identified two TVET colleges to become a Centre of Specialisation for that trade. Together we’re ensuring that the curriculum is up to date, the facilitators are prepared and that the workshops are well equipped.
Together we’re also scouring the landscape around each college to identify employers willing and able to provide the workplace learning required for the specified trades.
By motivating employers, across both the public and private sectors, to partner with these TVET colleges, there is an opportunity to build a valuable apprenticeship system.
The colleges will then become both institutions of choice for employers and apprentices alike. I’m really pleased to be here to open a Centres of Specialisation for plumbers, electricians and
All students here already have a workplace where they will practice the skills they have learned at this College.
The funding provided by the National Skills Fund has ensured that infrastructure is upgraded and facilitators are trained.
The Programme is paving the way for the transformation of our TVET colleges - making them more relevant, more responsive, and more attractive. We are getting closer to the NDP target of producing 30 000 artisans annually by 2030.
The opening of this Centres of Specialisation is notable because Ekurhuleni East was one of the four colleges involved in our Dual System pilot programme for plumbers and electricians.
The Dual System pilot programme is, in many ways, the precursor of the Centres of Specialisation project. It’s where we tested the integration of workplace learning and college learning towards
achieving a trade qualification. The first of the three-year cohort will complete their studies in June this year and then take their trade tests. We are looking towards this cohort of learners with great interest
to see what the trade test outcomes will be as well as their employment prospects.
Ekurhuleni East College has decided to make this particular facility a dedicated occupational campus by adding the Boilermaking Centre of Specialisation to the electrical and plumbing centre.
The East Rand is known to be one of the largest economic hubs in the country and we trust that this centre will serve industry in the surrounding areas.
I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank the German government, through the German International Cooperation (GIZ), for their contribution in the work done to date in the dual-system pilot
GiZ has partnered with us in implementing various ambitious education programmes, focusing not only on skills development but also on youth development.
Together we have tested a dual-structured apprenticeship for electricians and plumbers at four TVET colleges, and it provides the South African Government with a reference point for the demand-driven
and business-oriented training of skilled workers.
In conclusion, I would like to conclude by wishing all the students who will be participating in the programme well, and I would also like to thank those businesses who have partnered with us in making
this programme a success.
The TVET college sector is poised to make a huge contribution to South Africa achieving its humanresource development goals.