/ 13 January 2011

Nzimande: New strategy for skills shortage

An economy “constrained by a severe lack of skills” was behind the launch of the third National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS III), Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said in Midrand on Thursday.

While the first and second strategies had achieved much since the inception of the Skills Development Act of 1998, a severe skills lack was constraining the economy, he said in a speech prepared for delivery.

NSDS III was aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the country’s skills development system.

“This strategy represents an explicit commitment to encouraging the linking of skills development to career paths, career development and promoting sustainable employment and in-work progression. The emphasis is particularly on those who do not have relevant technical skills or adequate reading, writing and numeracy skills to enable them to access employment.”

The strategy promotes partnerships between employers, public education institutions such as further education and training (FET) colleges, universities of technologies and universities, private training providers and Sector Education and Training Authorities (Seta).

He said NSDS III will also addresses the scope and mandate of Setas.

“Setas are expected to facilitate the delivery of sector-specific skills interventions that help achieve the goals of NSDS III, address employer demand and deliver results.”

‘Shortage of intermediate skills’
NSDS III would also result in the formation of an “institutional mechanism” to provide credible information and analysis on the supply of and demand for skills.

“South Africa faces a shortage of intermediate skills, especially artisanal skills. The intention is to ensure that 10 000 artisans per year qualify with relevant skills and find employment,” he said.

He said NSDS III would aim to achieve a growth in FET colleges, as well as address the low level of youth and adult language and numeracy skills. — Sapa