Sector Education and Training Authorities briefings on Updated Programmes

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LABOUR AND PUBLIC ENTERPRISES SELECT COMMITTEE

LABOUR AND PUBLIC ENTERPRISES SELECT COMMITTEE
19 September 2006
SECTOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING AUTHORITIES BRIEFINGS ON UPDATED PROGRAMMES

Chairperson:
Ms P Themba (ANC Mpumalanga)

Documents handed out:
Bank Seta presentation
Clothing and Textile presentation
Tourism and Hospitality SETA (THETA) presentation
Financial and Accounting Services SETA (FASSET) presentation
Wholesale and Retail SETA (W&R SETA) presentation
Public Service Education SETA (PSETA) presentation: Part1 & Part2
Services Sector Education and Training Authority presentation
Banking SETA (BANKSETA) Annual Report 2005/06 [www.bankseta.org.za]
Clothing and Textile Annual Report 2005/06 [www.ctflseta.org.za]
TETA Annual Report 2005/06 [www.teta.org.za]
Services Sector Education and Training Authority Annual Report 2005/06 [www.serviceseta.org.za]
Tourism and Hospitality SETA (THETA) Annual Report 2005/06 [www.theta.org.za]
Financial and Accounting Services SETA (FASSET) Annual Report 2005/06 available at www.fasset.org.za
Wholesale and Retail SETA (W&R SETA) Annual Report 2005/06 avaiable at www.wrseta.org.za
Public Service Education SETA (PSETA) Annual Report 2005/06 [www.pseta.gov.za]

SUMMARY
In the morning session, the committee was briefed by the sector training authorities for Banking, Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather, Transport, and Services Sector on their updated programmes. Each SETA gave a brief presentation focusing upon the programmes offered and the numbers of learners trained in the various areas. Matters of general concern to all SETAs related to the lack of coordination and planning by provinces, the roles of SETAs not being fully understood, ABET training, which is was stated should ideally be a national priority, and constraints caused by lack of funding. Members’ questions related in general to the fact that learnerships seemed to be confined to some areas, the efforts made to upgrade training, efforts made to assist communities where jobs had been lost. Specific questions were also raised with each SETA about matters pertinent to their scope of work.

The four SETAs presenting during the afternoon session were the: Tourism and Hospitality SETA (THETA), Financial and Accounting Services SETA (FASSET), Wholesale and Retail SETA (W&R SETA) and Public Service Education SETA (PSETA).  Each of these SETAs presented its achievements, goals and management strategies over the past year and for the year to come.  Aspects discussed were the scope of influence of each of the individual SETAs and whether it incorporated all the provinces in South Africa.  Budget funding and expenditure was also presented and statistics for numbers of people trained and placed in employment.  Due to time constraints minimal discussion was possible.
 
MINUTES

Briefing by Banking Sector SETA (Bankseta)
Mr Frank Groenewald, Chief Executive Officer, Bankseta gave a brief summary of the BankSETAs updated programmes. Some of the challenges that faced the SETA were a lack of planning and communication by some provinces. Some SETAs were seen as funding sources rather than strategic partners in skills development. The roles of SETAs were not fully understood. The funding that the SETA received was insufficient to fund large national programmes. There was a need for the adult basic education and training programmes (ABET) to be run under the national skills programmes, yet the SETA was under continued pressure to drive ABET and New Venture Creation that should be national projects.

Discussion
Ms N Ntwanambi (ANC Western Cape) asked how the Bank Seta had contributed to trade and development. She enquired how the Seta would work with unregistered co-ops.

Mr D Gamede (ANC Kwazulu Natal) commented that the Bank Seta presentation was too broad. He wanted a list of all the NGOs and businesses with whom the SETAs had partnerships.

Ms P Hollander (ANC Northern Cape) wanted to know what could be done to assist the SETA with ABET. She wanted to know if it was possible to identify the reasons why provinces did not interact with the Seta. She enquired why only certain areas had identified and taken on learners in the learnership programmes. She wanted to know what had been done to employ more disabled people.

Mr Groenewald replied that Setas worked towards employability, and he confirmed that there still was more than the Setas could do to improve. It was important when choosing learnerships to identify the right qualifications both of the learner and the jobs required. It would be better to work with the financial co-operatives and then implement training for them. In order to qualify for the bursary for the Master's programme, a learners would first have to be accepted into the University programme and would need to complete the Masters degree in something related to the financial sector. He commented again that ABET should be a national initiative and stated that there were social issues that needed to be looked at in this regard.

Briefing by Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather Seta (CTFL SETA)
Dr Hoosen Rassol,  CEO, CTFL SETA gave members a brief summary of the updated programmes. He stated that 67 000 jobs had been lost in the industry. The SETA faced serious funding problems. The SETA has partnerships with three centres of excellence. A sector skills plan had been developed that was endorsed by the sector and the Department of Trade and Industry. CTFL supported the Cape Fashion Festival annually. 1909 employed learners were registered on learning programmes. 589 unemployed learners had been trained. 1567 learners on CTFL learnerships had graduated with national qualifications. There was a need for a new quality assurance system. He told members that CTFL needed to source additional funding from various social partners to increase its geographic reach.

Discussion
Mr J Sibiya (ANC, Limpopo) wanted to know the current situation with the training of teachers in the sector, and a further question was asked how the SETA was dealing with outdated training.

Ms N Ntwanambi (ANC, Western Cape) commented that many people had lost their jobs in the textile industry. She wanted to know if there would be any way in which the SETAs could form co operatives and then provide training for the community. She also enquired how the import quotas would tie in with the dumping quotas.

Dr Rasool replied that the jobs lost in the industry could be recouped within 2-3 years. However, those who had lost their jobs were placing a strain on the state. It was senseless to train machinists in an area where there were no factories for them to work in, and therefore it was not considered viable to train machinists in Limpop and Northern Cape. The Department of Labour needed to come on board so that machinists or those with other outdated skills could be retrained in another area where they would be able to find work. Currently there was a demand for high skill labour such as artisans and technologists.

Briefing by Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SSETA)

Mr Ivor Blumenthal, CEO of the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (ServicesSETA) gave members a brief summary of the updated programmes. He told members that the SETA had a physical presence in 6 provinces, with linkages to other provinces. Support was focused to smaller provinces through Further Education and Training and Higher Education sector agreements. The small and micro enterprise programmes (SME) board was now provincially based. A disability representative council had been established. Communication for the SETA remained an ongoing challenge. The SETA was faced with a number of constraints, including the fact that it was urban and not rural-based. There were no partner companies in the rural areas.

Discussion
Mr Sibiya (ANC Limpopo) asked what criteria were used to select students for learnerships.

Ms S Mabe (ANC Free State) asked which radio stations had been used by the SETA to inform the community about its projects.

Mr Gamede (ANC Kwazulu Natal) commented favourably that there were policies in place for disabled persons.

Ms N Ntwanambi (ANC Western Cape) enquired why only some areas appeared to be chosen for internship programmes. She felt that this offered few opportunities for people to upgrade their skills in their own area.

Mr Blumenthal replied that the SETA was trying to cast the net as wide as possible in relation to internship programmes. He said that the SETA had established an internship programme with a few institutions in Port Elizabeth and East London. However, it would be incorrect to start a learnership programme in an area where the SETA knew the learner would not find a placement. He said that the SETA was aware of and attempting to meet the provincial disability strategies. He promised that a list of the NGOs and community radio stations would be made available in writing to the committee.

Briefing by Transport Education Training Authority (TETA)
Dr Piet Bothma, CEO, Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) commenced his briefing with a number of statistics on achievements. The chambers covered by the SETA included aerospace, forwarding and clearing, freight, maritime, rail, road freight, road passenger and related services. He told members that 100 unemployed learners had completed learnerships. A further 818 unemployed learners entered the learnership programme. 4604 learners in the Taxi Industry completed critical and scarce skills programmes. 900 learners (100 in each province) were to be trained this year in Professional Driving Skills. Training was in process for 3909 small boat operators. A pilot project in partnership with Simonstown High School had been implemented, to prepare grade 11 and 12 learners for learnerships and job exposure at sea. There had been successful implementation of programmes in small and medium enterprise training. The number of learners enrolled at FET Colleges was tabled by province. Future plans for TETA included rolling out a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Transport in relation to licensing standards, registration of driving qualifications, upgrading of testing officers to Assesors, and upgrading and quality assurance on testing centres. Driving schools would also need to be accredited. There would be full cooperation with Premiers’ offices, and better support and participation.

Discussion
Ms N Ntwanambi (ANC, Western Cape) wanted to know if the BMW plant in Pretoria had any learners. She asked how the SETA was assisting with the taxi recapitalisation process and if it provided any training to bus drivers who travelled along the N1 high accident rated stretches of Leeu Gamka and Laingsberg.

A member asked how many skippers had been trained. He further enquired whether taxi drivers who had completed courses through SETA were awarded certificates that could be displayed on the taxis..

Mr D Gumede (ANC Kwazulu Natal) queried some of the figures. He enquired what had been classified as a scarce skill.

Dr Bothma replied that there were learnerships at manufacturing plants, but that these did not fall under the TETA. He clarified that the support that TETA offered the taxi industry was in the learnership areas, and was aimed to help them become professional. This was achieved through the professional driving course as well as training on good interaction with their clients. He confirmed that as drivers reached certain competency levels they were accredited, which would allow them to move to the next level. However there was no visible certificate affixed to the taxi. He commented that there were regrettably not sufficient funds to train everyone. In relation to high accident rates, he commented that the quality of the roads was a provincial concern, and not a specific concern of the SETA. Driving skills and competency were however linked to the overall question of road safety. He confirmed that in relation to skipper training, at least 10 000 learners had been trained on small boats.

Afternoon session
Tourism and Hospitality Sector Education and Training Authority (THETA)
Mr Mike Tsotetsi (CEO) noted the number of learnerships provided by this SETA and the different areas in which these learnerships were created. He highlighted the provinces in which the SETA had influence and the number of SMMEs that the SETA had assisted. The SETA saw its responsibilities as assisting SMMEs in skills development, improved communication between the SMMEs and THETA and dealing with financial issues surrounding their programmes. He noted the number of learners they had successfully trained in various fields and in each province and the number of those learners who had secured employment in the various provinces. Its future plans were outlined as was the necessary expenditure to implement these goals, and the provinces intended to benefit from the programmes. He explained the challenges it faced, one of them being financial constraints and the mounting pressure around 2010. He expressed a desire to rid the organisation of its legacy of maladministration.

Discussion
In reply to a question from Ms S Chen (DA), the SETA noted that all the statistical values were reflected in millions except for the one on the provision of the new learnership in Spanish language, due to the fact that this was a joint venture.

The Chair noted that there was a need to contact all the provinces and the SMMEs in order to better equip the SETAs to deal with issues of gender and youth. She felt that there must be full utilization of the offices specialising in these fields in order for information to be provided at the grassroot level.

Financial and Accounting Services SETA (FASSET) presentation
Ms Cheryl James (CEO) presented. The FASSET presentation began with a provincial perspective showing the intentions of the SETA on a provincial scale. One of these intentions was employer participation. FASSET tried to include the employers in the training and increase the communication between the employer and FASSET. Life long learning for continued professional education training was one of its goals. Adult Basic Education Training (ABET) was running in five provinces with 235 learners registered.  The presentation highlighted the different ways in which communication occurred. FASSET reported a total of 64 413 learners across all gender and racial spectrums in all nine provinces. It had 22 registered learnerships to date and assured quality for all of them. Although it had programmes running in five provinces only, it included learners from all nine provinces, most of them black and women and some disabled learners. FASSET felt that a strong focus was needed on getting learners work ready so that they could move rapidly into full time employment. FASSET’s main challenges remained the quality of education provided at schools and tertiary intuitions and the lack of training facilities for residents in rural areas. Its goals were to improve these aspects in what ever way they could and improve the tracking and monitoring systems within the SETA.

Discussion
Ms L Mahlohaela (ID) queried the recent provision of driving skills to the FASSET learners and questioned whether provisions had been made to cater for the disabled in the provision of these driving skills.

Ms James responded that to date driving courses had not been offered to the disabled, however this would be aimed at in the future.

Wholesale and Retail SETA (W&RSETA) briefing
Mr Joel Dikgole (CEO) presented. W&RSETA objectives included communication, increased training, sustainable developments, assisting specified groups in the location and maintenance of work and prioritising necessary skills to achieve these goals. W&RSETA stated that on all fronts it had met its goals. There had been much progress in establishing learnerships in many of the provinces with exposure to skills development initiatives and new ventures. Long term goals for W&R SETA were the inclusion of small firms in learnership  projects as this was a sensible way to monitor learners and expose them to the field (see document).

Discussion
Ms N Ntwanambi (ANC) noted that in the presentation the spread of the learnerships was quite big, but then in the Western Cape it was restricted to one area, the West Coast. She queried this, and asked how this would be remedied.  On the matter of call centres and abuse of their employees, she asked how this was monitored and commented that sometimes the SETAs were an indirect cause of the problem.

On the uneven spread of learnerships, Mr Dikgole replied that more attention needed to be given to ‘drill down’ and attempt to pick up the areas where there were a high density of learners. With regard to the casual status of workers, he affirmed that their interactions with companies resulted in those employed being employed on a full time basis.
 
Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA) briefing
Ms Renee Deschamp presented. The presentation briefly outlined what skills this SETA provided and what their achievements were for the past year with regard to the provinces. PSESTA’s goals focus on supporting national and provincial initiatives and provincial growth strategies, as well as specific initiatives such as 2010. Future plans for the organisation were outlined such as promoting closer relations with national and provincial departments. The financial challenges faced by PSETA were also outlined, particularly the lack of the 1% levy that was afforded to other SETAs and not to this specific one. Furthermore the overall lack of funding slowed down many processes and prevented the SETA from performing at its full capacity.

Discussion

Mr J Sibiya (ANC) said that looking at the presentation, despite lack of funding, it seemed that the SETA was still able to ensure quality.
 
Ms Deschamp replied that with regard to quality assurance, it was due to the incredibly hard working, highly skilled, dedicated team that maintained the quality at the level desired.

Ms S Mabe commented that it was clear that some provinces benefited while others did not.  She suggested that the SETAs learn from each other and perhaps foot the bill for learners to come from surrounding provinces.

Ms Deschamp noted that this was possible and that indeed they did draw people from various provinces.

In conclusion, the Chair encouraged committee members to make actual visits of the different sectors within the provinces in order to fully assess the impact of these SETAs.

The meeting was adjourned.

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