Sep 23, 2010
© Reuse this
Merseta is one of the 23 Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas) established through the Skills Development Act of 1998. This Seta facilitates skills development in various subsectors, including metals and engineering, auto- motive manufacturing, motor retail and component manufacturing, tyre manu- facturing and plastics industries. These subsectors comprise about 44 000 com- panies and more than 600 000 employees.
Merseta CEO Dr Raymond Patel explains that the mandate of the Setas is to collect revenue through the South African Revenue Service, which then pays the funds over to the Department of Education, which passes it on to the relevant Seta, which then disburses funds to employers and, ultimately, facilitates skills development.
“Over the past four years, Merseta has collected in the region of R750-million a year. And during the past two financial years, we have disbursed more than R1-billion in discretionary grants,” he reports.
“The Seta has a dual responsibility, one related to social issues and the other is an economic imperative.
“The social responsibility aspect looks at developing those people who were marginalised in the past, such as women, young people and black people, by offering them access to training through our discretionary grants,” explains Patel.
With regard to the economic aspect, it is the function of the Seta to assist business in the development of its labour force.
“We firstly analyse what the labour market requires and then develop a Sector Skills Plan , which is a five-year development plan on how to develop sufficient skills for the industry based on the projected growth of that industry. This could either be through bringing new entrants into the sector, or by further developing existing employees,” says Patel.
“We have to remove all impediments that prevent learners from entering an engineering skills path and ensure we have a ‘feeder’ stock of skills. This has seen Merseta become involved in supporting senior school pupils with science education and training projects, resulting in improved pass rates,” says Patel.
And with regard to HIV/Aids, the Seta has implemented a programme to tackle the issue of ensuring replacement labour for those likely to be infected and affected by the disease in the future.
A series of adult basic education and training (Abet) programmes have been developed to tackle illiteracy and innumeracy among adults.
The accelerated Abet project recognises prior learning and allows for training to be accelerated, in some cases down to just 18 months from four years.
The occupational Abet project is aimed at teaching adults in their place of work, using relevant concepts in order to enhance the pace of learning, as well as foster a greater desire to learn.
The third is the business Abet project, which is geared at equipping those approach- ing retirement or wishing to exit the formal sector with skills and knowledge that will assist them to either set up their own business, get a better understanding of how pensions work, become computer fluent and the like.
A flagship project of Merseta is an accelerated artisan training project.
“One of our milestones so far, was to reintroduce artisan training on a great scale. In the past three years, Merseta has indentured more than 12 000 apprentices and enrolled a further 8 000 learners into artisan-related programmes within the motor and metals industries,” says Patel.
“For the first time, all our funds are committed to different learning training projects. These projects include bursary schemes, with Merseta supporting 750 learners studying technical courses at universities throughout South Africa,” says Patel.
It also assists in complementing theoretical qualifications with workplace experience and to this end, has entered into agreements with industry players to take on these learners and give them an opportunity to gain relevant experience.
An agreement has also been signed with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, in the Eastern Cape, for a programme centred on developing women in science, engineering and technology.
And a project in partnership with the University of Johannesburg, seeks to develop small and microenterprises.
“It is only through our many projects and the involvement of business and labour that we can address some of government’s key priority areas, such as fighting crime and reducing poverty. If business does not invest in its people, we will go the route of the dinosaur. South Africa’s greatest assets are not its diamonds, gold or platinum. Rather, it is our people,” Patel concludes.
Edited by: Shannon de Ryhove© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Corporate Videos
International consulting engineering company Royal HaskoningDHV (RHDHV) has appointed Salani Sithole as South African MD, effective March 1. Sithole has been with the company for six years and, prior to joining RHDHV, held various positions in engineering consulting,...
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in an advanced stage of renegotiating its deal with European airliner manufacturer Airbus to acquire A320 single-aisle (or narrow body) aircraft. The aim is to replace ten of the aircraft still on order with five...
Worldwide, the main thrust in the ports industry over the past decade or more has been to increase efficiency. Traditionally, ports have been run by engineers and mariners and, in the past, increasing a port’s capacity was achieved by expanding the harbour. “That has...
What do you do when an elephant has a toothache? You call Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) faculty of veterinary science, Onderstepoort, one of only two elephant ‘dentists’ in the world.
The 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition was launched earlier this month in Johannesburg, with the main focus on creating and inspiring entrepreneurs to create jobs and boost the economy.
In a recent letter to the editor that I sent to Engineering News (Concerns regarding South African portion of Square Kilometre Array) and in a follow-up article elaborating further (We must start preparations to build our own synchrotron light source), I stated my...
Next ArticleH&M Rollers