26 June 2024

GETC will steer young South Africans into vocational and occupational training – part two of a two-part series.

Of course, care providers at home must also understand the purpose of the qualification. Unfortunately, many parents still only value a university education, despite the high demand for artisans in the country. Trade skills that are critically needed include bricklayers; electricians; millwrights; boilermakers; plumbers; mechanics and diesel mechanics; carpenters and joiners; welders; riggers; fitters and turners; and mechanical and pipe fitters.

The employment rate for qualifying artisans is relatively good. This is especially for those individuals who qualify via an apprenticeship programme. According to the Department of Higher Education and Training, just under 80% of qualifying artisans are employed. 2% are self-employed and 19% unemployed.

Technical Education and Vocational and Training (TVET) colleges also need to be widely consulted as part of the introduction of the grade 9 qualification. Unfortunately, many individuals who have left school before matric are not accepted by TVET colleges. These colleges prefer to only accept NSC holders because they have higher literacy and numeracy skills. A quality certificate that demonstrates competency in NQF 1 fundamental learning areas may make it easier for TVET colleges to accept individuals who have decided to exit school at grade 9. Notably, there has been a decline in enrolments in public TVET colleges. They require significant investment to raise the quality of education that they offer. This is over-and-above the funding needed to expand the system to meet the NDP’s target of equipping 2,5-million South Africans with vocational skills by 2030.

In the same way that the GETC: AET was developed with input from industry for industry, so too must companies value the proposed grade 9 qualification.

This is considering that even matriculants are finding it increasingly more difficult to secure employment. In the first quarter of 2001, 37,7% of unemployed citizens were matriculants. This increased to 40% in the first quarter of 2022. In the first quarter of 2023, 40,7% of unemployed South Africans had completed basic education. This means that a NSC only granted matriculants a 7,6% improved chance of securing employment.

“If managed correctly, I believe the proposed GETC will address many shortfalls in the existing school systems that are directly responsible for the skills crisis that we are facing, at present. Importantly, this development also enables the Department of Basic Education to implement an additional quality control in earlier grades to ensure that learners pass grade 9. At present, it is being done too late to ensure that learners do not ‘slip through the cracks’. This could potentially raise the quality of school education, especially in the poor and outlying areas,” Maree concludes.

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