5th National Skills Conference

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Collaboration: Preparing today’s workers for tomorrow’s workplace

Innovation and digitilization must take centre stage of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Programme if it is to be a success. This is according to Dr Bonginkosi “Blade” Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, who was delivering the keynote address at the National Skills Authority’s 2021 National Skills Conference. The event was held at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Boksburg, Johannesburg. 

The Minister highlighted the importance of skills development in the context of the National Human Resource Development Strategy, challenging delegates to emerge with concrete suggestions and plans to strengthen industry partnerships between education, training institutions and the business sector. 

Thulani Tshefuta (PSETA Board Chairperson)

Programme Director Thulani Tshefuta from the Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA) opened proceedings by acknowledging that the conference theme of “Promoting innovation and digitalization in the skills development ecosystem and contributing towards a responsive future of inclusive growth” was a loaded one. The two-day proceedings, he said, would focus on the actions and skills needed to shift South Africa into the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and cement its position in the global digital economy 

While stressing the importance of this theme,  Tshefuta also urged delegates to engage critically with the topic at hand to combat social alienation in a machine-dominated world and to ensure that algorithms do not promote new forms of racism and class prejudice. The powers of new technologies should be harnessed to overcome the historical problems of oppression and exploitation. 

Represented at the conference were public and private stakeholders, Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs), quality councils and industry. And although the formal conference theme was one of digitisation, the underlying thread was how renewed and increased collaboration between industry leaders is needed for success. 

According to the Chairperson of the National Skills Authority (NSA), Dr Charles Nwaila, skills development as a pillar of economic growth has always been a priority.  It was, however, more important now due to “the unprecedented socioeconomic position we find ourselves in, further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic”.  

NSA Chairperson Dr Charles Nwaila

The aims of the conference included:

To strengthen public, private and international collaborations to enhance modern, high quality and agile skills development systems; 

To review the skills that would be needed in the future world of work;

To align processes with the National Digital and Future Skills Strategy; and 

To review the implementation of the National Skills Development Plan (NSDP). 

The conference, furthermore, provided social partners with a platform to pledge their support and commitment to the NSDP.  Development stakeholders could highlight their organisations and their needs, disseminate information and emphasise the importance of the skills development ecosystem and all its parts. 

In addressing the needs for the skills of the future, Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Philemon Mapulane, said that a National Future and Digital Skills Strategy was approved by cabinet in October 2020.

The conference heard that a curriculum focused on early childhood development, digital literacy and skills for the future of work for Industry 4.0 is critical to foster and implement digital skills as a core competency. The implementation of a District Development Model (DDM) will further help solve the problems of both vertical and horizontal silos that currently hinder integration and narrow the gap between the people and the government. The DDM will especially align skills development to the needs of district municipalities, and capacitate local governance for economic growth and service delivery.   

Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Philemon Mapulane

The skills development landscape was severely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing the ability to train and implement to a near standstill. Despite this, government, business, organised labour, community constituency and private skills and employment providers reported on progress made since the last Skills Conference in 2019. 

Some of the highlights from the government included:

  • 31 469 people have been permanently placed in government departments; 
  • A requirement for minimum work experience for appointment into entry positions in the public service has been introduced; and
  • A public service graduate recruitment scheme is also now a reality.  

Organised Labour reported that progress has been made in vetting the NSDP to ensure that the plan supports economic growth and employment creation, with specific focus on young graduates and unemployed young people. 

From the business sector, achievements were evident in the skills development programmes, learnerships, bursaries and apprenticeships as reported by all 21 SETAs that business had collaborated with. It also introduced a youth employment scheme and collaborated with various stakeholders to deliver a free-to-use web tool for SMME development. This was done to help small businesses with labour relations processes and mentorship. 

The Community Constituency boasted how it had started to unpack the 4IR to communities in a way that they can understand the impact thereof, and how it  can actively help mainstream system development. 

The Covid-19 pandemic, from a skills development and private employment standpoint, has significantly influenced the skills demand. The needs of  the labour market and  economic climate were forcefully redirected, which  caused an immediate shift towards full digitisation. In addition, skills development partners supported the government in ensuring  an effective  transition to digital modes of delivery to allow for equal access to skills development opportunities. 

Stakeholders were urged to rise to the challenge of delivering  equal access and equitable skills development opportunities for all South Africans. It is only by working together that the workers of today will be prepared for the workplace of tomorrow. — Jamaine Krige

The NSA Evaluation Study indicated that:

1.3 million (80% African; 76% youth) benefited from the skills development interventions in South Africa, as per the National Skills Authority Evaluation Study of the National Skills Development Strategy 111, for the period between April 2011 to March 2016.

– 80% of firms reported that skills interventions increased productivity.
– 74% of firms reported that interventions improved work readiness.
– 73% of firms noted a decrease in in workplace errors by young employees.

– Before the Covid-19 global pandemic, just over 24 000 (24 049) artisans were produced by the country for the period from April 2019 to 31 March 2020. This number dropped to just over 15 000  (15 107) for the period from April 2020 to  March 2021, due to the pandemic. Important to note is that about 80% of artisans produced during this period were young people below the ages of 35 years old.

– The Department conducted an Employment Index Study or tracer study for those who were found competent  or passed their trade test for the period between April 2018 to March 2019, with a total of 19 627 artisans produced, of which about 4 285 were sampled for the tracer study, which was equal to about 22%. The tracer study discovered that about 81% of the artisans smoothly transitioned into the labour market, with 79% employed and 2% self-employed.

– South Africa has developed the Skills Strategy to support the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. To date, the Skills Strategy has identified 103 occupations that are critical for the successful implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

– Currently the PSETA in collaboration with Microsoft South Africa launched a digital skills programme in April 2021 to benefit about 20 000 young people in all nine provinces.

Inclusion is key

The struggle for people with disabilities is not one for grants, but rather for independence. That, said Dr Olwethu Sipuka, (NSA Member) representing – Community Constituency and member of the Disabled People of South Africa is why the inclusion of persons with disabilities in national and district skills development efforts is important. Studies across the world have highlighted that persons with disabilities are among the most committed workforces globally. “But more than that, a diverse workforce provides industries access to diverse markets,” he explained. 

Dr Olwethu Sipuka (NSA Member) representing – Community Constituency and member of the Disabled People of South Africa

Persons living with disabilities are not homogeneous and skills development practices among this group should reflect this. “When we talk about skills development in this context, we are talking about broad-based programmes from within all 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) in the country.” 

Living with a disability does not mean living a half-life, and certainly does not mean that a person cannot contribute fully to society or the economy. “At AgriSETA, for example, we have partnered with the National Lotteries Board and other private sector donors; the community gardens run specifically by persons with disabilities are doing very well, as do the bee and aqua farms.” 

Referring software developed for and used by workers with hearing impairments, he said: “We are learning to appreciate that technologies for  persons with disabilities can also make the next person’s life easier.” 

Society and the economy are worse off when people with disabilities are excluded. “South Africa is not performing well; in other countries, people with disabilities participate in the economy, and the schooling system accommodates them.” 

The journey of lifelong learning and skills development must start in early childhood. Despite a number of framework policy documents that address inclusive special needs education. Not enough is done to help children with disabilities access their full potential. 

In a post-school environment, training institutions need dedicated units that provide assistance and support for students with disabilities. This includes software, hardware and other tools to facilitate effective learning, as well as the data needed to access online learning material.  

For this situation to improve, Sipuka said a change of will — political and otherwise — is needed: “The public sector, for instance, is supposed to have a hired workforce of 7.5% of persons with disabilities, because our most recent census shows this as the percentage of our population living with disabilities. They, however, fail to appoint even 2%.” 

The private sector, he said, fares better than the state. Most private sector companies appoint disability and inclusion ambassadors at executive levels, thus championing the rights of other people with disabilities. “That is the type of leadership we need to see from the government and other stakeholders.” 

Skills for persons with disabilities, he said, do not have to centre around formal employment, but should instead focus on allowing members of this group to develop sufficient skills to be independent and allow them to contribute towards an inclusive society. — Jamaine Krige

Solution-focused skills development needed to bridge gaps

South Africa is fast approaching a time where the majority of young people will not only be unemployed, but also unemployable, unless the skills gap is addressed. This was the warning from industry experts and stakeholders at the  National Skills Conference 2021. But, says organised labour, in order to address the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), it is necessary to go back to basics. 

Lazelle van Kramberg (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Organised Labour

Before South Africa can fully participate in the 4IR, it must address its failing in the three industrial revolutions that preceded it. This was according to  Lazelle van Kramberg, (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Organised Labour. “We must pay attention that we have not sufficiently addressed even the first industrial revolution, which dealt with railways, rail infrastructure and rail transport.” 

The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has seen the vandalising and looting of South Africa’s limited existing rail infrastructure.“As industries are reopening, workers are left stranded and trains, on what used to be their normal routes to work, are not operating as they should.” 

The second industrial revolution, she said, dealt with electricity. The challenges South Africa faces in this regard are still evident; rolling blackouts and loadshedding are commonplace occurrences.

“The third industrial revolution introduced us to computers and to the internet.  While middle-income households now all have laptops, our poor and working class don’t even have old desktops. This hinders access to skills development, training and other online resources,” she said. “We are pushing 4IR, but this revolution needs elements from the three that came before it if we are going to achieve our goals. We need to ensure that nobody is left behind.” 

The poverty gap and the skills gap have always gone hand in hand. Organised labour, she said, has called on the government to address the outstanding historical issues. With money it is easier to acquire the skills you need to remain relevant. Today, a third gap — the digital divide — further hinders access for most South Africans. 

“We want to participate in digitilization and the global economy, but not at the expense of the majority of workers,” Van Kramberg explained. “This means ensuring equal access to technology, technological platforms and hybrid training opportunities.” 

Organised labour fully supports the localisation of industries, and this will help develop people, especially the youth, as innovators. “At the moment we are importing our technologies,” she said. “In terms of skills development, we must, as a matter of urgency, develop our young people to develop those technological devices, and then prioritise their use in primary sectors, such as agriculture.”  

She said 4IR should not be promoted and supported for its own sake: “Instead, we should support technological disruptions that speak directly to solutions needed on the ground. Let’s take young people and train them in technology for farming and agriculture; train them to solve our electricity problem. Let’s not train them to become coders and programmers at the top level of digitilization. These might be solutions for other countries, but not for us. Our technology needs to work for us at a grassroots level, in every sector and every industry.” 

She acknowledged that the move towards robotics, automation and digitilization makes sense in countries with older populations: “We are a country of young people, and ours is not an aging workforce. Our young people need to be empowered and equipped to develop technology so that we can close the gaps and develop our primary sectors and our youth.” 

If this cannot be achieved the gap between the haves and the have-nots will continue to grow, and too many people will be excluded from economic participation. “We often talk about the crisis before the crisis. In South Africa we have our legacy of unequal education that affects the majority of black South Africans, and now the Covid-19 pandemic and the technological disruptions are further excluding the poor and the working class,” she explained. “The conversations around skills development and actionable outcomes are even more important today as we continue to try and close the gap between rich and poor, in order for every citizen to access skills development and achieve their full potential.” 

Technological disruptions can, and should, result in more opportunities for the working class, not less. “We need to focus, not on job shedding, but rather upskilling and reskilling our workforce.” She said as industries advance, they must take their workers with them, and equip them with the competencies to continue contributing to society even should their positions become redundant. — Jamaine Krige

The Covid-19 cloud has a silver lining

The global Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the South African skills development landscape and subsequent challenges took centre stage at the National Skills Conference 2021. But it was not all doom and gloom as delegates learnt that even the Covid-19 cloud has a silver lining! 

Thandeka Masondo, (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Education and Training Providers

Covid-19 has exposed us to more gaps and worsened the triple challenges that we face of inequality, unemployment and poverty. We therefore need to look at where we are and what we need to do regarding policy issues and structural changes. What are the innovations and key enablers that will allow us to not only bounce back, but accelerate our progress? These were the words of Thandeka Masondo (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Education and Training Providers.

She said the adoption of a culture of change management are some of the unanticipated but welcome opportunities presented by the pandemic. 

“We need to be able to look critically at ourselves and question what we need to unlearn to replace the old with the new.” This means new skills, new processes and a new culture. 

Thembinkosi Josopu,  (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Community Constituency, agreed, and said that while Covid-19 has exacerbated many of the existing challenges, it has also brought with it lessons. “We have learned that we can, and must, be agile. We had to learn so quickly, and didn’t even need to go to school or college for these new skills.” 

Instead, he said, many newfound competencies were self-taught and improved over time. “When platforms like Zoom and Teams became common, most of us could not use them, but look at us now!” He laughed. “It just shows that when focused and united, we can learn and we can change things.”  

He said the pandemic has redirected the NSA in responding to national and global challenges: “We have reconsidered how we can skill people to be self-reliant, not just to be employed. I don’t believe we must preach that people must be certified to get a job. Instead, people should be skilled in order for them to contribute to their lives, and of those around them.” How each individual uses that skill and decides to contribute, he said, is up to them. Certification is no longer enough. 

He said the pandemic also highlighted that a crisis for one is a crisis for all. “When we acknowledge that this affects everyone, then we become united …  we speak with one voice, and quick action follows.” 

Thembinkosi Josopu (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Community Constituency

This is a lesson that will serve the country going forward. “The Minister of Higher Education has said that we must not go back to how things were done,” he said. “We must instead take these lessons forward. We must be agile and adopt this new knowledge in response to other challenges faced in the country.” 

Lazelle van Kramberg (NSA Deputy Chairperson)  representing – Organised Labour also believes that the pandemic showed society’s interconnectivity. “In order to protect ourselves, we must protect all members of society. In order to promote the economy, we must safeguard the workers who drive it. Everyone must have access to health, education and skills development equally, because even the top 1% won’t be protected if the 99% aren’t safe.” 

She said the pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to capitalist systems globally. “As labour, we are socialists. During the pandemic we have seen that, when the systems crash, we have to revert back to putting people and communities at the centre of what we do.” Small, medium and micro sized enterprises (SMMEs) were adaptable to the changes required, and flexible in their service offering. “I think one of the blessings from the pandemic is that there is a renewed focus on SMMEs that highlights the need to invest more in capacity for these undertakings. When a crisis hits, we as a country will be more flexible in an SMME environment than in a big business environment.” 

With every crisis there is  opportunity. “The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation said that we must see this as an opportunity to map a better economy going forward and to relook skills development, because we cannot do things the way we used to do them anymore.” 

Training is often reserved for middle and senior managers, and this, she said, is simply not conducive. “We don’t send our general workers on training, and then these workers get retrenched and the economy takes a hit.”  The economy works if everybody works. “We have seen that we must accelerate skills development for general workers, because even if they get retrenched, they can still take those skills and employ them where the economy needs them.” 

The pandemic has served as a rude awakening, and one that is not wholly unwelcome, said Dr Olwethu Sipuka (NSA member) representing – Community Constituency as a community constituency member and a member the  Disabled People of South Africa. “Society is inaccessible for persons with disabilities, but Covid-19 has shown itself to be an equaliser,” he explained. “Slap-bang, in the middle of everything being normal,  here comes Covid-19 and everybody — like a disabled person — is forced to work from home … to worry about their health and do everything online!” 

Khani Mhlongo (NSA member) representing – Employment Services

He said, despite the challenges faced during the pandemic (and especially by persons with disabilities) Covid-19 can become a tool to advocate for a more inclusive society. Looking at the silver lining, he said: “The pandemic has caused so much uncertainty; and overnight you too could become disabled. We must, therefore, all fight for a space that allows for everybody to participate in an inclusive society.” 

Khani Mhlongo  (NSA member) representing – Employment Services also saw the silver lining. “I love how the pandemic has fast-tracked us and almost forced us to embrace change, technology and digitisation.” 

“This was always the direction we were moving in, but before Covid-19 there was a lot of resistance to these changes.” Now, she said, everyone understands the importance of harnessing the digital revolution to prepare individuals and industry for the future of work. 

“The world is moving and we must catch up and embrace it, because this is the new normal and it’s here to stay!” 

South Africans are thinking outside the box while embracing innovation, which to her is part of the silver lining. “We are looking at how we can create to solve our own societal challenges, as opposed to just adopting external solutions that are placed in front of us.  This excites me!” she said. 

“It presents a great opportunity — if we can just start unlearning the old, and start learning and relearning new skills and adopting new ways of thinking and of doing.” 

This also means adopting a new culture when it comes to work, and a new mindset when it comes to skills development. “It’s a mindset of flexibility and agility, and of accepting change … because tomorrow will not be the same as today. Nobody is in a better position to know what innovations we need than the people most directly affected by the challenges we face.” — Jamaine Krige

Practical competencies are not enough: Soft skills for Society 4.0

Practical skills, certifications and qualifications are not enough to survive the future of work; what is needed are foundational skills, or soft skills. These skills characterise a person’s relationship to the social environment. The good news is that, like other practical competencies, they can be developed.

Zukile Mvalo (Deputy Director General – Skills Development Branch): Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

Zukile Mvalo (Deputy Director General – Skills Development Branch): Department of Higher Education and Training remembered marvelling at the level of synergy between some of the international teams at the World Skills Competition in 2019.  

“You could see how important soft skills are in any industry and sector … in any task that needs to be completed.” 

A workplace, he added, will not be very productive without problem solving or communication skills, or effective teamwork. “Soft skills are also important for work readiness and entrepreneurship. If you run a company but cannot communicate, it will result in your demise.” 

Thembinkosi Josopu (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Community Constituency said soft skills can be what stands between a job seeker and employment. “If you can’t communicate, you might not be appealing as an employee,” he explained. “These are skills that many employers expect.” 

An employee that can perform certain tasks, but is unable to interact with clients, manage their time or think creatively when problem solving, may be more of a liability than an asset. “This is why I believe that we must focus on foundational skills, as much as the other skills are important, because [then] we are skilling in a holistic and complete way.” 

Zamokwakhe Khuzwayo (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – State  agreed that skills development must take the whole person into account. “If we improve the [soft] skills profile of South Africans, we can shift the paradigm to a point where they can actually create new jobs and engage new players,” he said. 

“Sadly, the structure of the economy was never meant to be inclusive. One way to correct this is to empower people to expand the economy — from the auntie who bakes goods from home and supplies them to the corner spaza shop, allowing her to sell to the big multinational retailer, to the person producing resin for mining operations who is now empowered to export their products.” 

Khuzwayo said an entrepreneurial spirit is important, adding that many of the top soft skills identified tie in directly to their relevance in 4IR: emotional intelligence, social skills, analysis, and the ability to deal with big data and see the bigger picture. Also important, he said, are self management, time management, emotional intelligence and problem solving. 

Khani Mhlongo (NSA Member ) representing – Employment Services said: “Skills that immediately come to mind are critical thinking skills, communication skills, the ability to assimilate information and then, of course, creativity and innovation. Employers are seeking innovative candidates who can think outside the box and come in to co-create new ideas that organisations had never even considered!”

Qualifications are good, she said, but the people who shine are those who can apply themselves, think through situations, engage with others and learn to collaborate.  After all, nobody works in a vacuum. 

Lazelle van Kramberg (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Organised Labour said: “Worker education must speak to the whole holistic role that a worker has to play in his community and in a society, which will in turn help the company, because the more holistic employee is a more productive employee.” 

Change management skills and adaptability are important to foster, said Thandeka Masondo (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Education and Training Providers. “Lifelong learning is a value that we need to promote, because this mindset is key to changing the culture of workplaces and of workers.” 

Commitment to this learning process is vital, along with commitment, accountability and personal performance management. Soft skills development should tie into the personal and professional values that underpin them. 

“Soft skills speak less to the brain and more to the heart, and are important to entrench to make the workplace and the world a better place.” This, she said, requires a systems-thinking approach. “I need to ask myself what it is that I’m doing, and what bearing it has on the next person and within the value chain. What is it that I am doing that will change the life of someone one day?” — Jamaine Krige

A technical diploma carries as much weight as a degree

The importance of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges cannot be overlooked, despite increased focus on digitisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Even as more work moves online, the number of opportunities for digital-adjacent vocations and trades are opening up.    

Zamokwakhe Khuzwayo, (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – State

Khani Mhlongo (NSA Member) representing – Employment Services said the technical and vocational skills needed to drive digitisation are often overlooked: “There are roles in online marketing and telecommunications, but there are still jobs in construction, because somebody needs to build the towers for our networks to work. Someone must build products, lay fibre lines and maintain systems. And someone must still go out to the farm and cultivate the foods we need for sustainable health; bake the bread we eat!” 

TVET qualifications are not second-class or less than university degrees, said Lazelle van Kramberg (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Organised Labour. “Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) acquired qualifications face a similar challenge in South Africa;  people perceive these qualifications to be of a lower standard or quality than one obtained through schooling at a university,” she explained. “When it comes to RPL, how can you compare 20 years of experience to four years of schooling, and when it comes to TVET, how do you compare practical, hands-on work to theoretical knowledge?” The answer, she said, is that you don’t. Each has a specific place and function, but no qualification is superior or better than the next. 

When it comes to workplace readiness, however, Van Kramberg believes that holders of  RPL and TVET qualifications are better prepared. “In other countries a technical or RPL qualification often has a higher weighting and credibility than a university degree. People understand that these candidates come with experience and with skills that have already been demonstrated in a workplace.” 

Thembinkosi Josopu (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Community Constituency knows the difference between skills and certification. “Certification on its own is not enough, and certification does not equate skills,” he said, adding that TVETs allow sufficient skills for people to be absorbed into the workplace straight after graduation. “Again, we need to change the culture and the mindset about these qualifications; we need to make this fashionable, attractive and appealing as a career choice.” 

This must become a priority in the skills development sector, he said. “The mentality right now is that TVETs are inferior,” he explained. “With a TVET qualification you can start your own business and employ others.” To change this entails proper education and awareness drives to fight the stigma previously associated with technical training.

 Zamokwakhe Khuzwayo (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – State said influencers can be used to promote technical vocational qualifications and training; brand champions like artisans, mechanics and electricians must promote these as viable career choices.

“We are here for people who want to explore their options,” he said. “If you want to know what technical qualifications are available, or how to become an artisan, let us assist you. The work we do is not for our benefit: it’s for yours!” — Jamaine Krige

Practical advice for the future of work from skills development experts

Skills development experts advise young people and job seekers to think outside the box and have a future-focused approach to guarantee economic participation and future career sustainability.

Zukile Mvalo (Deputy Director General – Skills Development Branch): Department of Higher Education and Training: 
“Be curious — speak to career development counsellors and look to the future to see what skills will be needed going forward. As the Department we regularly publish a list of occupations in high demand – consult this, as well as the list of critical skills, when making career and skills development decisions. These are the skills you should be chasing.”

Thembinkosi Josopu (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Community Constituency: “We very rarely start at the level we aspire to reach, so start somewhere and develop your skills. Simply by participating in the workplace you will start creating networks and growing yourself as a person and as a professional. Also, never underestimate the importance of technical and vocational training. These artisans can start working the moment they qualify,  start their own businesses and employ others.”

Khani Mhlongo  (NSA Member ) representing – Employment Services: 
“Every person needs to understand their unique value proposition and their unique talents that they bring to an organisation, a team or a project, and then develop the technical skills to support that talent. This might mean developing a basic computer literacy, or focusing on soft skills.”

Lazelle van Kramberg (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Organised Labour: “Go for a qualification that is tangible and will give you work now. There’s nothing wrong with starting with a foundation qualification to help you on your journey, in a field that has easy access and can start generating you an income, even if you decide to study further later in life. Develop yourself in the localised industries around you and see how you can plug into the existing skills pipeline.” 

Zamokwakhe Khuzwayo (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – State:
“Align your skills development and career with people’s basic survival needs. Health workers will always be necessary, as will plumbers and electricians. If you’re good at baking – people are always going to eat! Stick to skills, qualifications and careers that will enable you to survive without having to seek employment from someone else.”

Dr Olwethu Sipuka (NSA Member) representing – Community Constituency and member of the Disabled People of South Africa: 
“Technology is your friend and will help you prepare for the future of work. Embrace it. Investigate what skills you need to participate in the ‘gig economy’. While your initial entry into the digital space can be expensive, see this as an investment into your future.”

Thandeka Masondo (NSA Deputy Chairperson) representing – Education and Training Providers: 
“Soft skills and work-readiness programmes are important. Participating in programmes that assist you in developing the mindset, the culture and the heart needed to succeed. Be willing to go the extra mile! “If you foreground those values from the start, then you have people who are ready, and who say ‘Whatever comes, bring it on, because my mind, my heart and my hands are ready!’ ” — Jamaine Krige

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