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ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS & TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
10 March 2000
TRANSFORMATION OF TRAINING IN THE TOURIST GUIDING SECTOR AND THE TOURISM AMENDMENT BILL [B50-99]
Two representatives from the Hospitality Industries Training Board (HITB), Mr C Poultney and Mr C Knowles, and a facilitator from the Tourism Learnership Project, Mr J Gunthorp, briefed the Committee on plans to transform the tourist guiding sector.
The core of the HITB's plan is the Tourism Learnership Project that will eliminate artificial barriers to the sector, such as high levels of literacy and high costs. The project will formulate skills development programmes that will reach 10,000 learners per annum. The standards and qualifications for these programmes will be developed by Standard Generating Bodies (SGB's) that are in the process of being set up. Members of SGB's will be drawn from key stakeholder interest groups, including organised employers and unions. Opportunities to nominate members to a SGB will be advertised in the newspaper, but specific organisations in the sub-field are being targeted.
The HITB is turning to the Committee for guidance in where to set the entry level for qualification as a guide. A balance has to be found between setting the entry level too low, so that entry level guides would be restricted in the areas they were qualified to guide in, and setting them too high, that would unfairly exclude many skilled guides. The National Qualifying Framework (NQF) does allow for creative structuring of the levels so as to eliminate artificial hoops, and does recognise alternative prior learning.
On 1 April, the apprenticeship system will be replaced by the learnership system. The learnership system is less industrial and more social in approach, and will be subsidised by the Department of Labour. This system should put new trainers into the market and focus on new areas of tourism and diversity, thus breaking old cartels and monopolies in the tourist-guiding sector. This represents a shift to a demand driven industry, where providers will have to meet standards set by the government.
The discussion focused on the extent to which many currently unregistered guides would not be able to meet the standards set by the SGB, and Mr Grouwier in particular argued that there should be an avenue created to include them. A number of members expressed reluctance to pass the Tourism Amendment Bill without some provision for this, particularly since neither the qualifications nor the SGB are in place.
Ms Verwoerd suggested that non-registered guides be given provisional registration and in-job training. There would in essence be a moratorium on the prosecution of unregistered guides. Mr Retief, the law advisor for the Department, said that there was no legal barrier to this and that is was a question of policy. At that point, Ms Mahlangu, the committee chair, said that the Minister had given the green light to resolve issues such as these, and that the committee should introduce a new clause into the Bill. The committee then went into some detail over how the moratorium should be structured and there was a proposal to craft it as an affirmative action plan. The Department welcomed this suggestion.
Nevertheless, the committee still felt that it should maintain oversight over the development of training programmes. The HITB agreed to forward a recommendation for an interactive process where the committee would remain involved.
Mr Grouwier was also concerned about the standards that currently registered guides would have to meet in order to have their registration validated. Ms Mahlangu
suggested that the discussion on training be suspended until the new clauses have been drafted. In addition, Clause 6 remains flagged.
Although the committee had previously said that they wanted to see the regulations before passing the Bill, they now agreed that this was no longer feasible given all of the uncertainties that have yet to be resolved. Therefore, they agreed that the Minister should draw up the regulations as usual, and that they would simply be tabled in Parliament.
Finally, the committee agreed to include the phrase "conduct and ethics" (not simply "conduct") in point 21C, which governs the code of conduct for tourist guides.
The committee hopes to conclude the informal discussion of the bill on Tuesday, 14 March.
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