Leveraging 4IR for VET in South Africa


Apprentice voices during Unconference

The showcasing of technologies showed how fast the world of work is developing, skills to utilise emerging changes as well as skills to operate digital technologies are already in demand with a rapid growth in demand forecasted. Only industry which uses these emerging technologies can define the skills needs emerging and this requires a more pertinent need for closer public-private collaborations.

Platforms for more engaging public-private dialogue and exchange could facilitate greater and richer forms of cooperation between public and private stakeholders, particularly to inform more relevant, demand driven training, more aligned to labour market realities. In light of this, it would be useful to document and share existing good practice examples of public-private collaborative interventions on VET content, delivery as well as linkages to employment opportunity.

It became evident that the fast pace of technological development, as well as the growing numbers of unemployed youth calls for more agile, demand led training, as well a greater attention to interventions that assist young people to transition from training to employment. It is thus be assumed that quality short courses, tailor made and aligned to industry demand, as well as post training support can feasibly address employability of youth.

A key issue regarding fast-evolving technologies, is how to assure that the VET system, the TVET colleges and especially lecturers can be capacitated to utilise emerging technologies for more effective teaching and learning and thus improve the employability of VET graduates. There was a unanimous call to assure that lecturers are continuously trained and capacitated, aligned to the concept of continuous professional development. Even more important is the exposure of lecturers to workplaces and the fostering of work integrated learning overall. In this context the need to exploit the potential of new digital technologies for the delivery of education and training was also recognised.

Regarding the funding of VET, there were suggestions raised for the alignment of numerous public programs and initiatives including suggestions that funding be more performance based and impact oriented and thus linked to the employment of programme graduates.

New business models and processes are rapidly expanding and shaping the world of work and this acknowledgment highlights that besides the classical “soft skills” more pertinently referred to as essential skills for employability, there has also been an increase in the value of entrepreneurial skills for youth, not only to facilitate possible self-employment, but also confirmed as relevant for employment settings as such skills enable young graduates to be more enterprising and more proactive, attributes that are valuable also in work contexts.

The development of mechanisms to facilitate the transition of young VET graduates from education and training to employment was also highlighted as an area requiring innovative solution seeking.

Overall, unconference participants expressed an eagerness to continue the joint development of the various initiatives suggested.

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