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Setas open workplace doors for young people

Yoliswa Sobuwa Journalist
Higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande.
Higher education and training minister Blade Nzimande. 
Image: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

The department of higher education & training has increased  its targets for workplace-based learning for the financial year commencing on April 1 to above its annual target of 107,000.

Minister of higher education Blade Nzimande was on Friday speaking at the first media briefing regarding learning and training opportunities provided through the Sector Education and Training Authorities (Seta).

Nzimande said in addition to the 107,000 workplace-based learning opportunities which include learnerships, internships, and work integrated learning, for the financial year 2022/23, the department was targeting 20,500 opportunities for apprentices, 22,500 for artisanal trades, 31,300 for those completing learnerships and 148,000 for learners entering  various other skills development programmes, such as digital skills, crop production and plant production.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address 2022 said the department of higher education will place 10,000 unemployed TVET graduates in workplaces from April.

“I am happy to indicate that each and every Seta in relation to the president have committed to place no less that 500 TVET learners in various workplaces,” Nzimande said.

“In addition, the AgriSETA, working together with the National Skills Fund, is going to focus on placement of not less than 500 work placements of students coming out of agricultural colleges and agricultural programmes offered in some of our TVET colleges,” he said.

He said Setas were finalising their annual performance plans to reflect these commitments.

Nzimande said in the meetings he had with all  21 Setas earlier this week, he particularly urged them to give priority to the work placement of TVET college graduates who require workplace exposure to complete their training and to facilitate the transition from learning  to working.

“As you know, the year 2020 was seriously affected by Covid-19 adjusted lockdown regulations. Our skills system own revenue dropped from our projection of R19.4bn to R12.4bn, as a result of  the skills levy holiday for employers who contribute the 1% skills development levy. However, our Seta system remains resilient in the midst of the challenges imposed by Covid-19 and the economic downturn,” he said.

Nzimande said the bank Seta has set aside R54m for 2022/2023 to reskill and upskill workers in the banking sector.

Nzimande said for the past five financial years, Seta has been focused among others on the delivery of workplace-based learning programmes.

“Through our Setas we have created  572,345 opportunities and produced 96,317 artisans with 124,925 learners entering our apprenticeship programmes. Though we lost much revenue in 2020/21 due to the skills levy holiday and Covid-19 global health pandemic, we still registered some significant progress for the year end,” he said.

He said the Setas combined placed 44,619 unemployed people into learnerships, of which more than 34,710 were young people below the age of 35 years old and more than 25,550 were females, at the cost of about R1bn.

“In the same period, we placed 9,901 interns, of which 9,096 were young people below the age of 35 years old and 6,455 were females. Our Setas spent just over R883m  in this regard.

“For TVET placement, Setas placed about 8,539 learners, with females at 5,656,  at the total cost of R393m. “For the university placement, Setas placed 5,183 learners in workplaces at the value of R300m,” he said.

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