Empowering South Africa’s water future: A strategic vision by EWSETA

15th March 2024

Empowering South Africa’s water future: A strategic vision by EWSETA

In the dynamic landscape of South Africa’s water sector, the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA) stands at the forefront of transformative initiatives to fortify the nation’s energy and water infrastructure through strategic skills development. Over the past few years, EWSETA has evolved into a driving force, steering away from traditional approaches and embracing a more strategic operational model. Its mission is to equip South Africa with a skilled workforce capable of navigating the challenges and opportunities within the water sector.

Skills Development Initiatives 

At the heart of the EWSETA’s efforts lies the strategic determination of skills demand. Companies within the energy and water sector submit annual Workplace Skills Plans, guiding the authority in developing an annual Sector Skills Plan that ensures its initiatives align precisely with the needs of the water industry.

In collaboration with esteemed partners that include industry, post school education and training institutions, government and international agencies, it is not just providing funding but is also crafting targeted training programmes designed to address specific skills gaps within the water sector. This collaborative approach aims to bring a more rapid and impactful response to the sector’s evolving needs.

Education and Training for Relevance

Recognising the dynamic nature of the industry, the EWSETA actively engages with industry players, universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges to develop qualifications that are not only relevant but also flexible enough to adapt to the rapidly changing world of work. By involving companies in determining curriculum content, the EWSETA ensures that graduates possess skills directly applicable to the water sector.

Practical learning in the workplace is fundamental to its strategy. The EWSETA advocates for industry participation and support of TVET colleges, providing young minds with opportunities to gain hands-on experience. This not only enriches their skills but also allows companies to identify and potentially employ top-performing individuals, building a talent pool for the water sector.

Collaboration for Impact

The EWSETA extends its influence beyond skills development to engage with municipal managers actively. This collaboration aims to assist them in identifying the requisite skills needed to implement plans for improving 

blue-drop and no-drop statuses. Partnership with other SETAs, especially the Local Government SETA, (LGSETA), ensures a unified approach, eliminating duplication of efforts and ensuring targeted skills support for water boards and municipalities.

Leadership Skills for Effective Implementation

Recognising the need for leadership skills in the water sector, EWSETA have launched executive management programmes in collaboration with renowned institutions like Wits Business School and Duke Corporate Education. These programmes focus on developing skills in strategic planning, financing, problem-solving, critical thinking, risk management, partnership development, legislation, climate change and ESG.

Closing the Gap between Reality and Desired Outcome

The reality is that certain skills are currently lacking, hindering the effective implementation of water plans, policies and projects. The EWSETAs desired outcome is clear — to bridge these skill gaps and create a workforce with the expertise necessary to build and maintain resilient water infrastructure.

Through strategic skills development initiatives, it aims to reduce dependency on imported skills and cultivate a pool of locally qualified professionals who contribute to the sustainable development of South Africa’s water sector. It envisions a workforce equipped with technical, managerial and leadership skills to address current challenges and adapt to future developments, ultimately strengthening the resilience and effectiveness of the country’s water infrastructure.

EWSETA empowers South Africa’s water future. Together, let’s build a workforce that meets the challenges of today and pioneers the solutions for tomorrow, ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for South Africa’s water infrastructure.