Leveraging 4IR for VET in South Africa

Conclusion

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The Innovation Lab presented a good opportunity for all participants to bring VET issues pertinent to them to the fore for broader reflection and discussion, presenting an opportunity for joint solution seeking.
Some of the suggested activities are more relevant to transfer to the HRDC Skill Summit process in May 2020 than others. The following initiatives will be included in recommendations for addressing during the HRDC Skills Summit process:

  1. Public-private partnerships to enhance VET
    • Skills development Initiatives should be linked to the broader economy, thus any training conducted should have labour market relevance – this requires public-private collaborative actions
    • The imperative for more labour market-oriented research to explore, amongst others, the links between VET and industrial strategies
    • Exploring how efforts to support localisation in manufacturing can be linked to the VET agenda
    • Connecting Industry Supply Chains to self-employed youth - explore opportunities for more inclusive procurement practices that acknowledge and take cognisance of youth skills, especially in the trades, enabling the provision of services by youth currently operating in the informal sector – thus linking them to outsourced, downstream services.
  2. Demand led, agile training, focused on priority skills aligned to the following targeted sectors:
    • Manufacturing
    • Tourism
    • Agriculture
    • Business Process Services
    • Social Development

The skills recognition milieu could be motivated to contribute to and enable greater inclusion of youth in employment opportunities, but this would require more creative thinking, e.g. facilitation of more flexible SETA funding mechanisms, providing incentives (BEE credits) for business that provide work integrated learning opportunities for youth, enabling professional bodies to recognise job designations/competitions rather than an exclusives focus on qualifications. All these were suggestions presented for further discussion and exploration in the lead up to the HRDC May 2020 Skills Summit.
In addition to the recommendations pertinent to the HRDC Skills Summit process, the other innovation lab topics raised issues relevant for alignment to other key country processes, both government and / or private sector initiatives, while others could be championed directly by persons who championed and hosted the discussions. Examples of such processes include the initiatives of the Alan Gray Orbis Foundation to build the entrepreneurial capacities of VET apprentices involved in occupational programmes, the efforts of the Sasol Foundation in Work Integrated Learning by College Lecturers, the efforts of the YES program and broader job summit initiatives aimed at link young people to training and skills development aligned to employment opportunities, etc.
What is imperative is that stakeholders understand the value of connecting to existing processes and projects wherever possible, instead of having several parallel, but unconnected VET activities.

 

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