The Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) has joined forces with Tshwane North TVET College (TNC) to train 100 young unemployed learners as artisans.

Mduduzi Manana, deputy minister of Higher Education and Training, comments: “We believe that skilling our labour force will play a role in fighting unemployment directly by providing skilled people to a skills-starved economy, but also indirectly by providing a stimulus to economic growth and the development of new and existing industries and economic sectors.”

Unless South Africa ramps up its annual training of artisans to 30 000 a year by 2030, the country’s requirement for artisans in the construction, engineering and other relevant sectors will not be met and the impact will be felt in the sustainability of these industries and very importantly, economic growth. The decline in the training of artisans started in the mid-1980s and by 2013 was identified as an urgent priority for the country.

The national government policy titled White Paper for Post-school Education and Training: Building an Expanded, Effective and Integrated Post-school System was approved by Cabinet in November 2013 and in January 2014 the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, released the policy that not only directly supports the implementation of the National Development Plan 2030, but makes specific provision for the development of trained artisans.

The achievement of the artisan development targets that have been set is dependent on two factors. The first of these is sustained, committed and high profile political leadership and second is considerable investment and commitment by all artisan development role players in South Africa.

South Africa’s 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), as well as the 50 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges have a key role to play in reaching the target for trained artisans.

Since the launch of the Ten Year Ministerial Advocacy Programme known as the ‘Decade of the Artisan’ in 2014, numerous SETAs have actively pursued and enjoyed success in establishing programmes aimed at meeting the country’s artisan training targets. The Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) is no exception and has implemented some key projects.

In line with the Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET) directive of utilising South Africa’s TVET Colleges for the purposes of training artisans, the HWSETA has entered into a partnership with the Tshwane North TVET College (TNC) for the training of 100 learners in a two-year accelerated artisan development programme.

“The artisan training target of 30 000 artisans annually by 2030 is a massive challenge for South Africa, but if every role player that is able to participate does so, as a country we can succeed and it is because of this that the HWSETA sees this project as a valuable contribution not only to address the country’s artisan shortage, but also to address poverty, unemployment and inequality,” comments Yvonne Mbane, CEO of the HWSETA.

The HWSETA has committed R9,7-million of funding for the recruitment and training of the 100 learners over the two-year project period.