SETA performance and skills development: briefing by Department of Labour

NCOP Public Enterprises and Communication

02 June 2008
Chairperson: Ms P Themba
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Labour reported to the Committee on the performances of the Sector Educational and Training Authorities (SETAs). The general opinion was that the SETAs were doing much better. The emphasis on learnerships up to 2005 had made people think that apprenticeships were canceled. It was emphasised that apprenticeships were not canceled. The apprenticeships which were running were under the old Manpower Training Act. This Act would soon be repealed and then apprenticeships would fall under the Skills Development Amendment Act which had been tabled in Parliament the previous day. The Adult Based Education and Training (ABET) training was difficult as sometimes employers were not co-operative and in some cases even workers did not want to be trained. It seemed that the current ABET model was wrong. The DoL however was working on a new model which involved foundational learning while working. The New Venture Creation training was also struggling as many learners received the training but then had no money to start a business. There was now a plan to establish a partnership between the SETAs and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) which was run by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). 

Meeting report

Dr Florus Prinsloo, Senior Executive Manager: SETA Performance in the Department of Labour (DoL), gave a progress report on Skills Development and SETAs involvement. He also looked at under/overspending of budget allocations to SETAs per province and audits of learnerships per programme (see document). He added that the Skills Development Amendment Bill had been tabled in Parliament the previous day. He explained that the DoL now had a Performance Assessment Scorecard and Performance and Governance Management System to measure and evaluate SETAs. There was much learning that was taking place as there was no other system like this in the world. This was an electronic system and it should be fully operational by July 2008.

Mr Prinsloo continued to explain that where training by SETAs were done, the training had to have 85% blacks, 54% women, 4% disabled and should always have youth present. SETAs had no provincial structure since it was structured nationally across the different sectors. The DoL had however set up ways in which they could measure provincial linkages. He explained further that the Adult Based Education and Training (ABET) training was difficult. Sometimes employers were not co-operative and in some cases even workers did not want to be trained. It seemed that the current ABET model was wrong. The DoL however was working on a new model which involved foundational learning while working. The New Venture Creation training was also struggling as many learners received the training but then had no money to start a business. There was now a plan to establish a partnership between the SETAs and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) which was run by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Mr Prinsloo pointed out that there was gradual improvement in the performance of the SETAs. They were trying to discourage competition between them. The aim was rather that they collaborate with each other. He explained that the MAPPSETA had been under administration in 2007 but that it was doing better now. The CETA and ESETA were now in trouble but the DoL was working with them. He pointed out as well that the Committee had requested that the SETA budget allocation be discussed. He said that there were no budgets for SETAs as they operated on levies from companies. The emphasis on learnerships up to 2005 had made people think that apprenticeships were canceled. He stressed that apprenticeships were not canceled. The apprenticeships which were running were under the old Manpower Training Act. This Act would soon be repealed and then apprenticeships would fall under the Skills Development Amendment Act which was tabled in Parliament the previous day.

Mr L Kettledas, Acting Director General in the DoL, emphasised that the Manpower Training Act would be repealed completely and that apprenticeships would fall as part of the Skills Development Act.

Discussion
Ms A Mchunu (IFP – Gauteng) asked whether the SETAs would not be able to display what they did at an exhibition that would be held in Richards Bay in September 2008.

Mr Prinsloo said that the SETAs were always keen to exhibit. They would just need the details of the exhibition.

Mr J Sibiya (ANC – Limpopo) remarked that from the presentation it seemed as if the BANKSETA had  improved greatly and was functioning well. He wanted to know what they had done to improve since they were normally seen as being very conservative. He also wanted to know whether the SETAs were given requirements beforehand. He was also keen to know what voice the provinces had with the SETAs. He also added that lots of certificates are given for training and wanted to know there was any control over this as some were not recognised.

Mr Prinsloo replied that the BANKSETA had always been one of the best performers. This was because there was a strong training culture in the banking sector. The measurement of performance was quite complicated. The different indicators had different weightings which was used to measure the performance. He added that the targets were set up when the service level agreements were drawn up once a year. The indicators were then measured quarterly as well as annually. The SETAs only had a voice in the provinces through the skills development forums in the provinces. The SETAs however were not on the board of these forums. They were made up of representatives from employers and organised labour. There was need however for greater links with provinces.

Ms L Thobejane, Executive Manager in the DoL, said that the SETAs only funded accredited programs. Employees therefore had the right to ask for accredited programs so that they could get certificates which were of value. The regulations regarding learnerships were also being reviewed so that there were better exit opportunities for learners. She added that the National Qualifications Framework also had to be reviewed so that quality qualifications could be produced. This should would be linked to competency that is acknowledged and occupational competency.

Mr Mqungquthu (ANC – Free State Province) asked what link there was between the DoL, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Social Development and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund. He also wanted to know how the indicators that were explained in the presentation were measured or evaluated. He was also concerned that the number of small companies had declined and wanted to know the reason for this.

Mr Prinsloo agreed that links between the different departments had to be made and co-ordinated. This process was being done at the moment through the economic cluster which had a skills focus group. This group comprised representatives from the DTI, Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Science and Technology. They needed work together more though. This ensured that legislation done by the various departments complemented each other. The number of small businesses had declined because there are changes in businesses and sometimes they unbundled.  This therefore created fluctuations in the numbers.

Mr D Gamede (ANC – Kwazulu-Natal) pointed out that the presentation had mentioned that certain SETAs had underperformed because of a lack of resources or adequate planning. He wanted more information about this. He also noted that the WSETA was not present in the provinces yet it had spent money. The purpose of discretionary funds of SETAs was also a concern and the relationship with Umsobomvu internships was also questioned.

Mr Prinsloo pointed out the Umsobomvu Youth Fund does report to the DoL. There was a move however to make it fall under the Youth Development Agency. The UYF however was a special agency which was responding to a need within the youth sector. The UYF however had additional programs which it was running. The purpose of discretionary funds of SETAs was decided by the board of the SETA. The problem however was that the companies on the board influences the spending. For this reason, not much money is spent on unemployed youth.

Mr Kolweni (ANC – North West) remarked that it was good that ABET training was being reviewed. ABET training had helped in the past but that it was important that employers had to support the process. He expressed concern that the AGRISETA did not have a presence in the North West.

Mr Prinsloo said that it would be a while before the changes in ABET training would be seen.

Ms Thobejane added that there were a number of roleplayers involved in ABET. The Department of Education had the mandate to do ABET. They were also reviewing ABET however. The DoL was more concerned with occupational learning.

Ms S Chen (DA – Gauteng) asked if there was any way that the SETAs could measure whether they were on the right track. She also wanted to know how monitoring was done. She also asked whether small businesses that did not pay skills levies could also get support from the SETAs.

Mr Prinsloo explained that businesses whose salaries were less than R500 000 per month did not pay a skills development levy. These companies could still get support from the SETAs. He also added that the SETAs would be able to show whether the right path was being taken regarding skills development.

Mr Sibiya (ANC – Limpopo) said that the provinces need to be represented when it came to skills development. They needed to work with the Provincial Government Development Strategy.

Mr Prinsloo said that the link between the Provincial Government Development Strategy and the National Development Strategy was very important. The DoL was tracking this. They also checked whether the Service Level Agreements, signed with the SETAs, matched with the Sector Skills Plan(SSP). The SSPs must include the Provincial Government Development Strategy. This must be monitored and maybe even legislated in future.

Mr Gamede (ANC – Kwazulu-Natal) stated that there were two SETAs in the red. He wanted to know what was being done about this.

Mr Prinsloo said that the CEO of the ESETA was was suspended. This matter would now go to the National Skills Authority (NSA) who will advise the Minister. The NSA was engaging and investigating with these two SETAs (ESETA and CETA). SCOPA was also involved with them to address the problems.

Mr Gamede (ANC – Kwazulu-Natal) referred to ESETA and said that this was an important SETA seeing that South Africa was facing an energy crisis. The CEO was not the only issue however but that the board was also important.

Mr Prinsloo agreed that there were concerns about the board as well.

The Chair said that the Committee would have to investigate the problems in future.

Mr Kettledas thanked the Committee and said that they would like to do a presentation on the Quality Council on Trade Occupation. He also reminded the Committee about the Skills Conference that was taking place on 15 & 16 October 2008.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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