Address by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Buti Manamela, at the Launch of the 2018 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (Tvet) Month

Representative of the uMhlathuze Municipality � Councilor Mhlongo Chair of the uMfolozi TVET College Council � Dr Fakazi Principal of uMfolozi TVET College � Mr Zungu Acting DDG of the TVET Branch at DHET – Ms Magnus President of the SRC of uMfolozi TVET College � Mr Masondo DHET Acting Regional Manager for KZN � Dr Nzimande Senior officials of the DHET and other government departments SETA representatives.

It gives me great pleasure to launch the 2018 TVET month at uMfolozi TVET college this morning.

This is the fifth year that the Department of Higher Education and Training is hosting TVET Month. TVET Month 2018 takes place in the centenary celebration year of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Albertina Sisulu. These struggle veterans believed that education can change the world and empower all South Africans.

In democratic South Africa, we have created many, many more opportunities for our young people. It is our desire that young people take up these opportunities with the commitment to be successful, and to serve communities and the country.

We launch this TVET Month in August which is also Women’s Month. There was a time when we regarded the trades and technical vocations such as construction, engineering, welding, fitting and turning as men’s work. Those days are gone. They are long over.

We see thousands upon thousands of young women entering the trades in South Africa. They are changing the male dominated trade landscape and are showing that they can compete with the best. We support and encourage this and want to see even more women enter the trades.

During this Women’s Month, we also want to encourage all South Africans, especially young women to emulate the example of Albertina Sisulu. Let’s walk in her shoes. We must speak out against women and children abuse. We have this responsibility to do so and I therefore encourage both men and women to take this responsibility seriously and do your part to stop this scourge.

The Department has 50 TVET colleges covering all of our nine provinces, of which nine are located in KwaZulu-Natal. This is the largest number of colleges in any one province. All the nine colleges are represented and exhibiting here today. Our colleges offer occupational qualifications, which combine knowledge, practical skills and work experience in the learning journey of the student.

We have fully funded qualifications such as the National Certificates (Vocational) and the REPORT191, offered in all of our colleges. I am pleased to note that some of the colleges also offer scarce skills programmes, funded through the National Skills Fund and the SETAs.

Some colleges are even funded by employers to deliver fit-for-purpose training programmes for their staff. I want to take this opportunity to emphasize that vocational education in the twenty-first century requires both head and hand skills. Actually, with the increasing use of integrated technologies, less and less is done by hand.

We need to increasingly manage machines, devices, programmes and software to do a lot of the work. Motor vehicle diagnostics is an example known to most of us. This way of working will intensify and become more challenging as we operate in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.

The nature of TVET education is changing to meet the demands of the 21st century and beyond. South Africa participates in the bi-annual World Skills Competition which brings together many countries to participate in trades related skills competitions. The department holds regional and national competitions to select the team to represent South Africa at the next competition to be held in Russia in 2019. I encourage you to participate in these competitions.

In September, South Africa will be hosting the BRICS Future Skills Challenge, a competition involving the five BRICS countries. The Future Skills Challenge will feature manufacturing, digital and transportation skills that are emerging and undergoing transformation as a result of Industry 4.0.

We need to have these competitions if we are to appreciate and prepare for the future skills that this country will require. South African students have to think creatively and stretch their imaginations if they are to book a space in the future of work.

All our TVET colleges have declared the month of August as TVET Month since 2014. Our TVET colleges encouraged to organise their own events that focus on skills development, entrepreneurship, industry partnerships and employer engagement. Potential students are invited to attend these events with the aim of attracting them to pursue a vocational career path.

The Department has invited the 21 SETAs, as well as KHETHA, to offer you information on career pathways and financial aid. They are career guidance experts that are trained in assisting young people such as yourselves in identifying your passion, career interest, and educational pathways. You will also be provided with more information that you can take home and read. Hopefully by the end of the day, you would have absorbed various information around education and training opportunities. We hope to see you next year or in the coming years as students in our TVET Colleges.

This event and the month of August is about sharing as much information as possible about our Post- School Education and Training institutions. Through such events the Department also aims to assist learners with information about the various programmes that are available. These include learnerships, apprenticeships, skills programmes, and the programmes in universities, universities of technology, and of course TVET colleges.

We need plumbers, electricians, builders, carpenters, panel beaters, motor mechanics, fitters and turners, toolmakers, welders, all of these in their numbers if we are to build our economy and have a world class skilled Labour market.

However there is a misnomer out there in society about technical skills and vocations. These skills and jobs are regarded as of a lesser prestige because we have to dirty our hands.

Society punts only the jobs that require us to wear a suit and tie, with a large corner office, as the top jobs.

Through unwarranted peer pressure, we even see young people going to study programmes that are of no value to time or to the market either because there is no longer a demand or the market is saturated with such skills.

Don’t fall for this incorrect misperception.

Getting a TVET education is a step in the right direction towards a career in the technical fields. Government is making significant investments in our TVET college system. You can study for free at a TVET college. We are expanding TVET college student enrolment. We are also expanding our artisan development, particularly through the Centres of Specialisation in just over twenty colleges, covering 13 trades.

Since 2013, the Department has been implementing the Decade of the Artisan Campaign. The campaign promotes artisan development to meet the needs of our economy. Through this advocacy campaign, youth development is promoted and prioritised, specifically development in artisanal skills in engineering – electrical, civil and mechanical and in hospitality studies.

Our National Development Plan 2030 targets the development of 30,000 artisans by 2030. We are getting close to this number but we need to encourage more youth to pursue an artisan career pathway.

To the Grade 12 learners, I wish you all the best in your upcoming examinations and hope all learners who have attended will be able to make the right decisions towards their future careers. To the teachers accompanying our learners’, thank you very much for your dedication and hard work � I know your job is not an easy one, but I daresay, that when you succeed, it is an immensely rewarding one.

Help us make TVET Colleges the institutions of choice for learners who want to follow a vocational career path.

I thank you.

Source: South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information