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Injecting vocational skills into Gauteng’s economy

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The Sparrow Combined Technical Skills School in Sophiatown, west Johannesburg, and the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) have pioneered a new programme to help high school learners with cognitive disabilities enter the job market.
The qualification is called the General Certificate of Education: Technical Occupational.
The four-year educational qualification is registered with the Higher Education Standards Authority (SETA) and Umalusi, the private schools registration and quality assurance body. The NQF Level 1 Qualification is equivalent to Grade 9 and allows access to NQF level 2 courses at colleges.
Warren Thompson, Learner Support Unit (LSU) Manager of Sparrow Schools, says: “We are proud to partner with the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) in this unique, collaborative programme. It is a programme that we believe will provide those with barriers to learning with a chance to join the world of work.
“The pilot programme kicked off in February this year and our first graduates are expected in 2020. During this period we will fine tune the curriculum and assess progress, enabling us to offer the accredited technical skills qualification throughout South Africa.”
The curriculum comprises compulsory language studies in English and Zulu, Mathematics and Life Skills. Learners then choose technical skills subjects in either business, commerce and management; health sciences and social services; hospitality and civil technology: woodwork and timber.
One of the unique selling points of the programme is that it will provide prospective employers with a profile of learners competencies and skills matrix. Firms who participate in the programme have a pool of learners to employ as interns and later as job entrants.