[South Africa] Training programme targets thousands of youth in artisanal and skilled trade sectors
28-04-2017 06:35:00 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 2572 | Tags:

Artisan Training Institute (ATI), a leading technical skills training organization and the MasterCard Foundation have partnered to launch a program that will bolster the capacity of Training, Vocational, and Educational Training institutions (TVETs) to provide quality education to young people in South Africa’s artisanal and skilled trades sectors.

During the year-long program, ATI will offer 180 training modules for Education, Training and Development Practitioners (ETDPs) from at least eight under-resourced TVETs.

ATI will work individually with practitioners to strengthen and build upon their existing skill set, allowing them to return to their TVETs as better teachers. With an average of approximately 25 students in each classroom, ETDPs, have the potential to impact thousands of learners in just one year, and improve their opportunities for securing employment within the artisanal sector.

“The MasterCard Foundation and ATI partnership will provide technical training, and TVET lecturers will be immersed in the practical, structured training environment that prevails at ATI,” said Sean Jones, CEO, Artisan Training Institute. “This partnership will support South African youth by producing competent artisans able to support the industry’s growing needs for technical excellence.”

Through this training program, TVETs, ETDPs and ATI will identify each practitioner’s skills gaps and customize modules for a six-week training course in one of the following trades: electric, diesel mechanics, boiler making, millwrighting, plating and welding, auto electrics, rigging and tractor mechanics. ETDPs will also take courses in basic business, presentation and life skills, and in coaching so they can provide their students with a more holistic education.

Recent headlines indicate that now, more than ever, countries require a focus on vocational skills to address youth unemployment. South Africa currently has a youth unemployment rate of approximately 54.2 percent.

Despite efforts made by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), including a R2.5 billion investment in 2014, colleges remain under pressure to improve the quality of their training to meet developing industry requirements.

Currently, the competency levels of students graduating from these programs are poor. Technical staff are unable to adequately teach the skills young people require to find work, in part because the ETDPs themselves lack access to further education.

Moreover, as a result of retirement, immigration, and better work opportunities abroad, there are fewer and fewer experienced artisans in South Africa. Collectively, these issues impact the employability of the youth graduates who lack the skills needed to be successful. This does not bode well for South Africa’s future competitiveness.

“The cascade effect of this project will have a broad impact on the artisanal sectors in South Africa,” said Jane Baldwin, Associate Program Manager at The MasterCard Foundation. “The ETDPs trained through this project will be better equipped to provide their students with quality technical skills and to support them in securing tangible jobs.”

ATI has nine years of experience offering quality technical training for youth in South Africa and working together with the private sector. The organization has already graduated 5,174 young learners from its demand-driven artisan programs, and 90 percent of graduates have obtained employment by the end of their apprenticeships.

While ATI has worked with youth learners and corporate technical staff, this project will be the first time that ATI has worked with public TVETs to improve quality training education methods of the artisan sector.