The conference highlighted key achievements, blockages and weaknesses in the implementation of policies and set the ground for the implementation of the National Skills Development Plan (NSDP).

The Theme of Conference was “Building a demand-led skills development system that focuses on inclusive economic growth”. About 1000 delegates from different sectors such as SETAs, organised labour, public and private TVET Colleges, Universities, business and DHET, were in attendance.

It was heart-warming that TVET and CET College matters received much focus in plenary as well as in different commissions. One of the conference objectives was aligning skills development strategies with national key priorities and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) by strengthening collaborations between labour market institutions and education and training institutions (TVETs, CETs and Universities), and one of the expected outcomes was to secure work placement opportunities for twenty thousand (20 000) learners and graduates from universities, TVET Colleges, Community Colleges, and Private Institutions annually.

Commissions’ recommendations regarding TVET Colleges included the following:

  • Adopting a dual system of education and vigorously promote/market TVET Colleges.
  • Capacitate TVET College lecturers in a collaborative effort with business to ensure lecturers are in sync/ touch with new developments in business and industry.
  • Prioritise TVET/CET College lecturers’ capacity and qualification upgrading needs.
  • TVET and CET lecturers need improved expertise in the practical component of their jobs and must be provided with the necessary support.

The shift from working with employers to working more closely with public education institutions to address skills development had negative repercussions. TVET Colleges had, to a great extent, lost the linkages that they had with industry and had grown apart from employers. Delegates were of the view that relationships between employers and TVET Colleges needed strengthening if employer confidence was to be restored.

NAPTOSA will monitor developments in both the TVET and CET Colleges to ensure that the conference was not just a mere “talk shop” and members will be kept up to speed with any progress made.