Skills Development in South Africa

Skills Development
in South Africa
Presentation by
Ms. Adrienne Bird
(Acting) Deputy Director General: Skills Development
Dept. of Higher Education and Training
South Africa
South African Labour Force
South Africa has a population of 50 million
South Africa Occupational Profile in 2009:
– Total labour force
12 974 [1]
– Legislators, senior officials and managers
– Professionals
647 [2]
– Technicians and associate professionals
1 521
– Clerks
1 462
– Service workers and shop and market sales workers 1 844
– Skilled agricultural and fishery workers
– Craft and related trade workers
1 568
– Plant and machine operators and assemblers
1 083
– Elementary occupations
2 888
– Domestic worker
Quarterly Labour Force Survey, Quarter 4, 2009
[1] 9 073 000 in the formal (organised) economy
[2] The majority are teachers and nurses
Unemployed & Unorganized
(Statistics South Africa, 4th Quarter Labour Force Survey).
– 4+ million officially unemployed = 24.3%
• 1.7 million were young
Not-economically-active population of 14 million
– 1.5 million discouraged work seekers,
• majority low skilled
Unorganised Sector:
– Of 13 million in labour force
– 2.1 million in the informal (unorganised) economy
• the majority of whom are in the trading sector
Medium Term Strategic Framework goals
adopted by the Zuma government in 2009
Quality basic education
A long and healthy life for all South Africans
All people in South Africa are and feel safe
Decent employment through inclusive economic growth
Skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path
An efficient, competitive and responsive economic infrastructure network
Vibrant, equitable, sustainable rural communities contributing towards
food security for all
8. Sustainable human settlements and improved quality of household life
9. Responsive, accountable, effective and efficient Local Government
10.Protect and enhance our environmental assets and natural resources
11.Create a better South Africa, a better Africa and a better world
12.An efficient, effective and development-oriented public service and an
empowered, fair and inclusive citizenship.
2009 Zuma Administration
came to power
• Planning Commission
– Performance Agreements for Ministers
– Targets for each Minister linked to MTSF goals
• New Human Resource Development Council
(cross-cutting all Departments) chaired by
Deputy President
• New architecture of government departments
linked to goals including:
– New Department of Basic Education
– New Department of Higher Education and Training
1994 - 2009
• National Qualifications Framework under SAQA
• Government departments:
– Department of Education
• Schools
• Colleges
• Universities
– Department of Labour
• Skills Development
– Sectoral councils (Sector Education & Training Authorities)
– National Skills Fund
– Other departments with HRD responsibilities e.g.
• Public service
• Health, Defence, Policing, etc.
1994 – 2009 responsibility split
Shared authority for SAQA
Department of Education:
– Predominantly ‘supply side’
– Focus on student access and redress, knowledge and citizenship
– Challenges:
• Throughput, success and post-learning placement at intermediate
Department of Labour:
– Predominantly ‘demand side’
– Labour market actors involved in programme design, mainly private
sector delivery
– Good placement levels
– Challenges:
• predominantly at lower levels of occupational hierarchy,
• weaker labour market currency at higher levels (weaker knowledge
National Qualification Framework
One of first Acts passed in 1995 – with systems in
place and NLRDB
To create a single integrated national framework for
learning achievements;
to facilitate access to, and mobility and progression
within, education, training and career paths;
To enhance the quality of education and training;
To accelerate the redress of past unfair discrimination in
education, training and employment opportunities and
To contribute to the full personal development of each
learner and the social and economic development of the
nation at large. (Section 5, National Qualifications
Framework Act, 2008 (Ac 67 of 2008)
NQF ‘issues’
• Tensions between ‘Education’ and ‘Labour’ – around
who set standards and quality assured programmes
(different ‘logics’ – ‘knowledge’ vs ‘occupation’)
• Finally, in 2008, legislation amended to have THREE
– One for schools and colleges
– One for universities of technology and universities – based on
– One for ‘trades and occupations’ based on ‘occupations’ (with
‘professions’ preferring university link although some straddling)
• ‘Under’ overarching body – SAQA = ‘communication, coordination and collaboration’ (i.e. agreement to disagree
and then to ‘talk’ …)
Pre-2009 Dept. of Education
initiatives at intermediate levels
Schooling (not addressed here but note that insignificant vocational
programmes although general technology / entrepreneurship / management
programmes introduced)
Public colleges: 152 colleges merged into 50 with 284 sites to address
apartheid racial divides:
– Old trade theory programmes phased out (‘N’ courses) because out-of-date, few
apprenticeship contracts and poor placement for those with no apprenticeship
– New programme NC(V) = National Certificate (Vocational) introduced
• 3 ‘fundamental’ subjects (language, maths, ‘life orientation’)
• 4 vocational subjects chosen from one of 14 vocational areas
– ‘not focused on narrow occupational skills’
– To provide EITHER access to HEduc. OR trade
– First graduates in 2009 (not yet evaluated but low pass rate)
Adult education learning centres
– Focus on young re-taking school leaving certificates
– Remedial adult learning (e.g. literacy and school qualifications)
Pre-2009 Dept. of Education
intermediate levels financing
• Provincial responsibility
• Initially formula linked to number of trainers which was
linked to number of ‘full-time equivalent’ number of
• In March 2007 (pre-Zuma)
– Shift to programme-linked funding per learner (major focus on
– Greater control of College councils
– Subsidy covers 80% of programme costs;
– Capping college fees (limiting fees for 20%)
– Bursary scheme for poor, able students
• Some staff uncertainties resulted …
• Link to SETA funding discouraged as argued ‘double
Pre-2009 Dept of Labour
1. 1998 Skills Dev. Act; 1999 Skills Dev. Levies Act
2. National Skills Authority (NSA) – advisory body – 5 parties
3. National Skills Development Strategy – 5 year targets to ensure that
levy addresses not just ‘powerful’ organised sector, also weaker end
of LM.
4. Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs)
– Defined by SIC codes for industrial clusters initially (25>23> 21???)
– ‘Public Entities’ run by Boards (half Employer / half Union)
– Roles:
Skills voice of the sector (study and report on skills demand)
Developed Sector Skills Plans (informed national scarce skills list)
Design and manage skills interventions in sector
Disburse sectoral skills levy (see later)
Initially qualification design and quality assurance (post 2008 – coordinated
under ‘trades & occupation council’)
5. National Skills Fund
– Under Dept. of Labour, advised by NSA, key role of Director General;
– Role:
• Strategic Projects (behind key government strategies)
• ‘Bottom up’ projects (community requests)
DoL Levy scheme
• 1 % payroll levy (above threshold) collected through tax
revenue agency
• 80% sent directly to SETAs (each company given an
SDL number)
• 20% sent to DoL for National Skills Fund (less cost of
collection paid to SARS)
• Spending of Levy:
– Initially 60%, then 50% repaid to firms who sent Workplace Skills
Plan and Annual Training Reports (research showed stimulated
changed behaviour in medium sized firms)
– Initially 10%, then 20% for SETAs ‘discretion’ (sector projects)
– 10% for SETA administration and services
– 20% for National Skills Fund projects
Pre-2009 Dept of Labour
• Learnerships: SDA (2008) Chapter 4, Section 2:
– A SETA may establish a learnership if it has:
a structured learning component;
a structured work experience component
lead to a trade, occupation or profession qualification on NQF and
registered with the Director-General.
– Linked to ‘learnership agreement’ i.e. s/t learning contract with
employers – ERs given GRANT and TAX BREAK (NB)
– ESDA (group training) – create ‘employer’ and place in small firms
– SETAs given targets through NSDS
– Study: across12 SETAs (201 employers) in 2004 found:
• 77% previously unemployed people placed after completion and
• 73% were employed by the same employers
– Criticism:
• Mainly partnerships with private providers (public sector? Cost? Quality?)
• Focus at lower end (although not exclusively);
• Weak on ‘knowledge’ / ‘citizenship’ component;
National Skills Fund projects
Focus on unemployed and vulnerable
• Targets set for literacy and numeracy programmes, training for
income generation in rural areas, co-operatives etc.
• Link to major government initiatives e.g.
Training embedded in Expanded Public Works Programmes and
Training component of National Youth Service
Training for prisoners with Correctional Services
Active Labour Market Strategy etc.
• Strategic Projects:
– NSDS I: SETAs to ‘reach into’ unorganised segments e.g.
• CTFL: Upgrading for outsourced homeworkers in geographical localities
• Banking: Reach to lenders and borrowers of small loans;
• Services: Training for Domestic Workers linked to career path into
specialised sectors e.g. health, social security etc.)
• Finance: Improve throughput of learners in accounting programmes in rural
schools and universities (significant increases achieved) …
– NSDS II: Provincial governments apply for ‘growth strategy’ linked
training programmes. E.g. ‘Financial management in one province, etc.
Active Labour Market Strategy
• Identification and systematic training of community
liaison workers (given stipend) – Funding from GTZ for
development, but moving to NSF.
• ‘Find’ unorganised entrepreneurs
• Engage with them on full spectrum of work from
technical to managerial /financial
• Mentoring provided
• Provide targeted workplace interventions
• Impact: improved productivity, employment and income
• Fairly expensive but effective programme
• Challenge: find linkage with Department of Trade and
Industry’s interventions for small businesses.
Education / Labour
• Education
Focus on pre-employed youth
Strong on ‘knowledge’ (cf. ‘knowledge economy’) and ‘citizenship’
Accepted as prerequisite at higher levels
Focus on public sector, registered private providers
Weak on labour market linkages at lower levels (linkages maintained at
higher levels through professional bodies)
• Labour
Focus on unemployed and in-service
Strong on work experience
Delivery partners mainly in the private sector (grew with levy )
Accepted as sufficient at lower levels
Relatively weak on ‘knowledge’ so not ‘stand-alone at higher levels
(some partnerships e.g. Accountants to get ER grants).
• Both experienced governance challenges
– DoE at college level (very uneven ability to execute new roles esp.
financing and staffing)
– DoL at SETA / NSF level – capacity to spend levy income well uneven.
Government intervention
• 2006 scarce skills persistent problem;
• Education not steering and Labour not reaching the
intermediate and high levels adequately;
• ASGISA (for economic growth) and JIPSA for priority
skills (e.g. engineers and artisans) – led by
• Focused on blockages and pipelines
• Highlighted need for institutions and labour market to
collaborate – took an occupation but not system view
• Employers embraced – key projects especially at artisan
Post 2009
Department of Basic Education (schooling)
Department of Higher Education and Training
(post-school including school drop-outs)
From Education:
From Labour:
• Colleges
• Universities of Technology
• Universities
Remain with Labour:
• Employment Services
New thinking … new possibilities
• NSDS III: New partnerships between institutions (colleges and
universities) and the labour market (SETA intermediaries):
Required qualification
Required for practice
Work Integrated
Occupational theory - can
be institution based &
workplace-based learning
qualification (without
necessary occupational
Workplace learning –
access prescribed
educational qualification
level - matric
Trade / trade
General to
New focus on youth /
pre-employed (although
also for workers)
Reduce WSP grant and
give grants to firms who
give work-based
learning opportunities to
graduates. Also
incentives to institutions
to find partnerships with
• Investigating ‘collaborative’ funding between public and private sectors – ‘IF’
Some lessons …
Important role at high level to overcome constraints and steer system – hence HRD
Council formally established
Government architecture matters … reconfiguration of departments has unleashed
energy and innovation … (danger – one ‘logic’ over-rides?)
Need to have steering mechanisms (i.e. planning based on good research and
funding steers are key in developing society … but need to ensure sufficient space for
local responsiveness).
Capacity to spend is as important as the capacity to collect a levy
NOT ‘knowledge OR occupation’ BUT ‘knowledge AND occupation’
Partnerships across ‘institutions’ and ‘labour market’ does improve employability of
learners and placement rates. Consider ‘collaborative’ funding models.
There is space for formal economy to ‘pull up’ informal (unorganised) sector,
especially where there is a supply-chain relationship (e.g. out-sourcing). But where
‘competitive’ then possibilities are limited.
Skills on their own cannot overcome underlying economic structure BUT raising the
skill base does create the environment for moving up the value chain … necessary
but not sufficient (cf link to financing, markets etc).
Thank you to
Institute of Applied Manpower Research and NORRAG
for this rich opportunity.
We remain committed to our
11th National Goal:
“Create a better South Africa,
a better Africa and a better world”
And look forward to further collaboration into the future.

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