6 years ago

South African Business 2017 edition

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South African Business is a unique guide to business and investment in South Africa. In addition to an up-to-date economic overview of the country, analyses of the main industrial sectors, plus profiles of the nine provincial economies, the 2017 edition of South African Business includes special features on key topical issues such as skills development and education, renewable energy and the REIPPPP programme, and trade with Africa.

FOCUS Building

FOCUS Building South Africa’s human resources through industry-education partnerships The Human Resource Development Council is assisting in bridging the gap between higher education and the needs of business. The HRDC is partnering to innovatively develop South Africa's human potential. Industry-education partnerships are collaborative efforts that bring higher education institutions, businesses and community together to address their mutual interest in higher and further education. While helping to advance the educational development in higher and further education institutions, the partnerships also address skills scarcity needs. They provide stakeholders outside the education and training system, like the private sector, with an opportunity to contribute in the development of educational programmes and related decision-making. The industry and education partnership initiative of the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) encourages partnerships between education institutions and other stakeholders, primarily, the private sector, SETAs and communities, to enhance the performance of the education sector. The point of departure for the initiative is an acknowledgement that there are generally low levels of human resource development among the majority of the formerly disadvantaged population and high unemployment rates, especially among the youth. The Post School Education and Training (PSET) system holds a key to unlocking the human resource development challenges. This includes unemployment, and ultimately contributes to the broader objective of socioeconomic transformation and a more equal society. There is good reason to believe that education institutions should work proactively with industry to deliver appropriately skilled and capacitated graduates to meet societal and economic needs. One of the main objectives of the White Paper is a stronger and more cooperative relationship between education and training institutions and workplaces. There are currently a number of partnerships that the HRDC is actively driving and working on, to ensure they succeed. Key among these is the recent partnership between the community colleges and Harambee to ensure that learners from these colleges are SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS 2017 42

FOCUS trained and successfully placed in jobs after completion. A number of private-sector companies and SETAs have responded to this call positively and declared themselves available to partner to ensure that youth unemployment is addressed. Standard Bank South Africa has also embraced the HRDC initiative of fostering partnerships and has developed a partnership initiative called SBSA Value Add Offering. This partnership offers a number of programmes to colleges depending on their needs. The overall purpose is to offer services ranging from expertise and standards to funding, workplace training, networks with other colleges and between lecturers and industry experts and employment opportunities for learners. This initiative was endorsed by the HRDC on 13 September 2016. SBSA Value Add Offering provides TVET colleges with programmes aimed at management, lecturers, students and the entire institution. The HRDC has a programme called “Adopt a TVET college” where industry is encouraged to adopt a TVET college so that the industry is able to make contributions towards what learners are taught practically in order to make the transition from college to the workplace a smooth one. “It is essential therefore that we work together with government, business and other stakeholders to improve the scale, quality and relevance of our TVET college system,” said the Deputy President of South Africa during the launch of “Adopt a TVET college”. Some of the colleges that have embraced this initiative include the Flavius Mareka College, which states that its partnership with Sasol is a key partnership born out of the HRDC initiative, and the Ekurhuleni West College, which has many partnerships including one with Ford South Africa. The partnership with Ford provides practical experience both at college and workplace to learners who are studying towards a qualification in motor mechanics. The Ekurhuleni East College has, among others, partnered with Samsung Electronics to ensure quality training and placements for Work Integrated Learning for learners who are studying electronics. The complex challenges of poverty, inequality, high levels of unemployment, illiteracy, crime and disease require collective efforts to respond appropriately and effectively. Neither government nor the market can develop the necessary capabilities required to address these challenges on their own. The collaboration between education institutions and industry will enhance capabilities to address South Africa’s complex challenges. The education and training system requires close cooperation with industry, especially in the programmes providing vocational training. This will reduce the mismatch of educational outcomes and workplace requirements. There is increasing need for universities and colleges to contribute towards the economic development of the country through the development of a knowledge economy that is competitive and open to innovation, adding value to the technological capabilities in industry. At the same time, higher education institutions can also benefit from collaboration and partnership agreements with industry, as in the above examples. When industry and higher education institutions work hand in hand to reach new heights of knowledge, they become a powerful engine for innovation and economic growth. The HRDC has prioritized these partnerships. The perceived disconnect between higher education and industry is partly due to the lack of adequately trained graduates for industry, mainly those with measurable skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. This remains a key concern for business. Business and post-school education have found common cause in recent decades in preparing a skilled workforce to preserve the nation’s competitiveness and economic opportunities in response to rapid technological change and increasing global competition. Where meaningful partnerships exist between business and higher education, the gaps between the supply of graduates and the demand for skills are significantly reduced, and the needs of businesses are more closely associated to the academic curricula. 43 SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS 2017

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