The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) has partnered with the Agricultural Sector Education and Training Authority (AgriSeta) to provide artisan development training to 400 Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) participants.
Artisan development is often overlooked by school leavers and not considered as a career, and yet artisanal skills are required in all sectors of the economy, says AgriSeta.
These skills have become scarce despite the economy needing about 30 000 artisans a year by 2030.
AgriSeta will be the implementing agent of the training programme and provide technical support, while the DPWI has provided funding of R66-million – which was provided by the National Skills Fund of the Department of Higher Education and Training.
The artisan development programme will start early in 2021, following receipt of relevant applications and criteria being met, including the availability of learners and workplaces.
AgriSeta tells Engineering News that the participants have not yet been chosen, as the application process has only just started.
In the meantime, the authority is engaging organisations that can train and host artisans, to ensure the 400 trainees are trained and certified over three years to September 30, 2023.
The participants will undergo a summative assessment once they have completed the theory, practical and workplace exposure training over the years and, once they pass the trade test assessment, the participants will be issued with a Red Seal certificate, which considers them qualified artisans in a trade.
AgriSeta CEO Zenzele Myeza says the authority will procure and contract relevant training providers in consultation with the DPWI to ensure transparency in the process.
AgriSeta will provide performance and financial reports to the DPWI and oversight committees.
Participants will acquire qualifications in technical fields to become bricklayers, plumbers, carpenters, stonemasons, chefs, glaziers, and air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics.
AgriSeta will also be responsible for sourcing relevant workplaces for all participants as far as possible. The authority says employers have already started responding to advertisements about the training programme, specifying what skills they require.
However, the authority explains that although it cannot guarantee employment at the end of the training for all participants, apprentices are often retained by companies and employers who trained them or can help them obtain employment in the industry elsewhere.
Other participants may go on to start their own businesses and become employers themselves.
To participate in the programme, prospective learners should meet the entry-level criteria:
a. Candidates must be declared medically fit before engaging into an apprenticeship contract;
b. The candidate must be a South African citizen and in possession of a valid national identity document;
c. Grade 12 with mathematics and science;
d. Technical grade 11 with mathematics, science and trade-related theory;
e. National Technical Diploma - T, S or N stream, which relates to the stream on qualifications offered by technical colleges, universities and technikons;
f. Grade 9 and a minimum of four years’ relevant trade work experience, including a signed, stamped service letter, issued by the previous employer on the company letter head;
g. A National Certificate Vocational National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 3 or 4 engineering-related qualification;
h. National certificate issued under the N stream qualification offered at technical colleges;
i. A course certificate, with passed engineering trade related subjects;
j. NQF Level 3 sector education and training authority quality assured applicable to a designated trade.
The selection process will involve recruitment of participants from the EPWP participants database, curriculum vitae evaluation from the learners, psychometric tests and employer or company interviews, where applicable.