The National Department of Tourism and the Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority (THETA) briefed the Committee on the Tourism Human Resources Development Strategy. The Department’s rationale behind the Strategy was amongst others to ensure that the sector was able to generate and sustain its human capital needs. It was a 5-year strategy and it was to be aligned with the National Human Resources Development Strategy.
The Committee appreciated the work that was being done by the Department and THETA members were unconvinced that enough effort was being made to reach out to rural areas with regards to the training of youth and women. Rural areas seemed to always receive the short end of the stick and members felt that efforts in rural areas should be intensified.
The Committee also approved its Draft Committee Programme for the second-term.
Department of Tourism Presentation
The Department of Tourism briefed the Committee on the Tourism Human Resources Development Strategy (THRD). The delegation comprised of Mr Dick Van Schalkwyk Acting Director General, Ms Bulelwa Seti Acting Deputy Director General: Tourism Growth and Ms Nozuko Ngozi Director Human Resource Development. Ms Seti undertook the briefing. The rationale behind the Strategy was amongst others to ensure that the sector was able to generate and sustain its human capital needs. It was a 5-year strategy and it was to be aligned with the National Human Resources Development Strategy. Ms Seti provided the Committee with a breakdown of the structure of the sector as at 2007. For example in the hospitality sub sector there was 28 000 employers and 290 000 employees. A service ethos and tourism culture was identified as one of the strategic imperatives or objectives of the Strategy. Members were also provided with a list of strategic initiatives of the Department. The National Tourism Careers Expo was one such initiative and it was in its third year of running. Key performance areas of the Strategy was the provision of decent work within the tourism sector, to provide excellent people development within the tourism sector by targeting young people and finally to ensure competitiveness of the sector. The Committee was shown by way of a diagram the progress that would be made each consecutive year for the next five years within each of the key performance areas.
The Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority (THETA) also briefed the Committee on its contribution of skills development initiatives to the Tourism Human Resource Development Strategy. Mr Joseph Maqhkeni Chairperson, Mr Mike Tsotetsi Chief Executive Officer and Mr Musi Muwandla Skills Development Manager represented THETA. Mr Tsotetsi conducted the briefing. One of the key roles of THETA was to support and assist employers to articulate their post structure (organogram) in respect of occupations on the Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO). OFO was a skills based, coded classification system. It was the Department of Labour’s tool for identifying, reporting and monitoring skills demand and supply in the South African labour market. THETA also identifies scarce and critical skills in their sectors using the OFO and develops a Sector Skills Plan in line with the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS). The Skills Development Act No 37 of 2008 and the National Qualifications Framework Act No 67 of 2008 were pieces of legislation which guided the work of THETA. Members were provided with a list of THETA’s list of scarce and critical skills for 2010 as well as a breakdown of THETA’s NSDS Targets. Mr Muwandla highlighted some of THETA’s achievements against the NSDS key performance indicators. He did not wish to go into much detail due to time constraints but referred to the presentation document for further perusal.
For greater detail on either of the two presentations please refer to the two attached documents.
Ms T Tshivhase (ANC) said that much of the training mentioned was for the youth. She asked what about the training of women and disabled persons.
Mr Tsotetsi conceded that THETA’s programmes were geared towards the youth. He pointed out that when THETA agreed to provide funding by way of a grant or tender the institution that was to deliver the programme had to fulfil certain criteria. THETA required that 80% of the trained persons had to be black, 45% had to be women and 4% had to be disabled persons. The aforementioned was the indicators for intake of learners by the deliverer of the programme.
Ms J Maluleke (ANC) said that she was impressed by the work of the Department in relation to the youth. She noted that access to information in rural areas was a problem. How did the Department come up with its figures? What was the provincial spread?
Ms Ngozi acknowledged that reaching the youth in rural areas was a problem. Hence the Department was engaged in attempts to reach the youth in rural areas. The Tourism Expo to be held in KZN was one such attempt to reach out to the youth in rural areas. She referred to figures on training and said that there were provincial quotas.
Ms V Bam-Mugwanya (ANC) asked what methodologies the Department used to get persons in rural areas involved. She asked how the Department identified the community that was to benefit. What was the Department’s reach out strategy? She referred to the concept of decent work and asked how it was classified.
Ms Seti said that tourism was a concurrent function. Provinces had a role to play. There was a tourism committee which sought to align national and provincial. A Tourism Government Communications Forum was established to plan and develop a communications strategy. She emphasised that all Department initiatives tried to incorporate rural areas. She stated that there was a plan in place relating to decent work for the current financial year. Work was being done from scratch. Research was being done and consultations with stakeholders was talking place. A framework for decent work for the tourism sector would be in place.
Mr Muwandla responded that attempts were being made to reach out to rural areas. THETA had allocated learnerships to presidential nodal rural areas. Employers were training individuals in those areas. A strategy was in place and it was being monitored. The training that was being offered was occupationally directed. Individuals were being trained in order to obtain employment.
Mr B Zulu (ANC) said that much had been said about the youth, unemployed learners and workshops had been held in different areas. He explained that the issue of rural areas came up time and time again because rural areas had no access to information. Rural areas always came up short. When work was done rural areas often missed out on opportunities. He suggested that perhaps THETA should become more involved in rural areas.
Mr Tsotetsi noted that for the current year the Director General of Higher Education had not signed a service level agreement. The Director General of Higher Education had required the service level agreement to be aligned with the government’s Ten Point Plan. He said that exhibitions had been held in rural areas. The youth and women were being targeted. The programmes required there to be a trainer, a learner and an employer. Statistics on work done in rural areas would be forwarded to the Committee.
Ms M Schinn (DA) asked the Department for detail on the Centre of Excellence. She asked who ran the centre. Was it government run? She also asked for detail on the Decent Work Framework and asked whether it would consider industry needs and the seasonal nature of the tourism industry. She further asked what happened to big event ambassadors when there were no longer big events.
She felt that the THETA presentation was heavy on bureaucracy. What about industry indicators? It was all good and well to train a great deal of people but were there jobs for these individuals. Reference was made to new venture creation and it was asked what support was given to persons after they were trained.
Ms Seti pointed out that the Centre of Excellence was a new initiative. No baseline had been set as yet. Further consultation with stakeholders was however still needed. The intention was for government and industry to participate. Communities were encouraged to get involved as well. She stated that it was still early days and that a concept document was still to be developed.
Ms Ngozi added that the Centre of Excellence was a place where individuals could have access to all facets of tourism. It was especially important in those provinces where tourism information was lacking.
Mr Tsotetsi said that the belief that learners were being trained without there being jobs available was not true. Companies were requested to forward their plans to THETA. It gave THETA an indication of what was needed within the industry in terms of how many persons the company could possibly absorb job wise. He noted that companies were required to forward their plans to THETA in order to qualify for grants. Grants were available to companies who were prepared to take on unemployed graduates.
Mr Muwandla pointed out that THETA aimed to create business people who owned and ran their own businesses. THETA was supposed to support these individuals for a year after training. Some were being supported but it was a challenge. THETA had plans during the new financial year to partner with employers to assist learners.
Mr Maqhekeni said that the THETA Board had taken a decision that THETA provincial offices were to be opened in certain provinces. Western Cape and the Eastern Cape were amongst those provinces where offices were to be opened. If a province did not have an office the National Office in Johannesburg had to oversee things in those provinces. He felt it better to train individuals even though there was no guarantee of jobs. It was best to be prepared in the event that jobs did become available.
Ms M Njobe (ANC) referred to the training of frontline staff for the upcoming World Cup and said that she would have thought that some of the 250 000 staff for the event would have received training by now. She also asked when the concept document on the Centre of Excellence would be made available to the Committee.
Ms Seti said that the approach to the training of frontline staff was based on international experience. Countries who had previously hosted World Cups had only trained staff one month before the event. The training was more a motivational seminar the aim of which was to create excitement for the event. The training was to take place between 28 April 2010 and 6 June 2010.
Ms X Makasi (ANC) suggested that data that was available at constituency offices be used when planning the training of individuals in certain areas.
She asked what was the amount of the levies that was being paid by employers and what was the benefit attached to it.
Mr Tsotetsi appreciated the reference to data at constituency offices. He noted that levies differed from company to company. The levy depended on the size of the workforce of the company. If the company had a payroll greater than R500 000 then a levy needed to be paid. He noted that 50% of levies paid were paid back to companies and there was a further 20% which was discretionary that could be paid back as well. Essentially 70cents from each R1 paid by employees was paid back to them.
The Chairperson commended the presenters for the work that was being done but said that a great deal more had to be done. He proposed that radio should be used as a medium to reach persons in difficult to reach areas. Radio was an effective medium and could be broadcast in a variety of languages.
Mr Tsotetsi agreed that radio was a good medium to get the message across. It would be considered.
Committee Programme for the Second-Term
The Chairperson placed the draft programme for consideration.
Mr G Krumbock (DA) stated that he had in the Committee’s previous meeting requested that the South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) be invited to appear before the Committee and should be placed on the Committee Programme for the current parliamentary session. SATSA however did not appear to be on the Committee Programme.
Mr Jerry Poltina, Committee Secretary, replied that the suggestions made by Members in the previous meeting were yet to be incorporated in the programme. Once it was done the Committee could approve the Programme.
Mr Krumbock asked how the Committee could approve a programme that did not contain changes which the Committee had agreed to.
Mr Poltina said the Committee had not obtained approval to hold meetings on the 11 and 18 May 2010. The denial of approval for both dates was difficult to comprehend since both dates were Tuesdays which were usual days when the Committee met.
Ms Schinn asked whether the Committee had to first obtain approval for dates for meetings before organisations could be invited. She asked whether SATSA had been invited already.
Mr Poltina answered that SATSA had not yet been invited.
Ms Schinn asked what the problem with the two dates was given that the Committee always met on Tuesdays.
The Chairperson agreed that the denial of approval for the two meeting dates was unacceptable. He agreed to query the matter and report back to the Committee the following week.
The Committee adopted the Committee Programme.
Mr Krumbock wished to have it on record that he approved of the Programme on condition that SATSA was given a slot on the Programme before the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The meeting was adjourned.
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