Technical and vocational training and education (TVET) colleges are finding creative ways to expose students to workplace training, while much-needed support from the private sector to provide students with opportunities for experiential training they need to receive their qualifications remains a challenge.
Sunday World spoke to TVET college heads who highlighted the importance of the private sector in bridging the gap between the curricula of the colleges and rapid technological developments.
Acting deputy principal for innovation, partnerships and linkages at the Central Johannesburg TVET College (CJC) Balanganani Matsila said with the high unemployment rate among the youth, the college had to look beyond the limited
opportunities available in the private sector to ensure students get practical experience.
According to the latest unemployment figures from Statistics South Africa, the unemployment rate is almost 34%, with unemployment among those aged 15 to 34 at 46.5%.
“TVET colleges in South Africa have to help students find placements for experiential training, unlike in the UK, for example, where 80% to 90% of students who go to the colleges already have job placing.
“We are viewing the college [CJC] as a workplace … Government departments and municipalities are also potential workplaces,” he said.
“We are setting up a factory in our clothing production campus in Alexandra … We said we cannot continue to procure overalls for students and staff. We have called back the students who have completed N6 [in clothing production] to do their 18-months experiential training at the factory,” he said.
Tshwane South TVET College principal advocate Joseph Chiloane said though colleges are finding other ways to get students workplace exposure, through projects that are available in-house, the support of private companies is invaluable.
“They have the newest machines and our students will learn a lot,” he said adding that the government must look at giving incentives to companies that provide training for TVET college students.
“Companies must also see it as an opportunity to train a workforce that is tailor-made for their industry’s needs.”
Professor Dipiloane Phutsisi, the principal of Motheo TVET College in Free State, said the college has established a National Artisan Development Academy to fast-track the development and provision of artisans.
“Soon, the construction of Maritime Academy in a form of a megaship will commence at our Thaba’Nchu campus,” she said.
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