Accords to tackle skills crisis signed
Pretoria - The government, business, labour and community organisations on Wednesday signed two accords aimed at improving skills development and quality education.
Brokered over the past few months, the National Skills Accord and the Accord on Basic Education and Partnerships with Schools are national efforts to speed up the skilling of young South Africans, a key element in the new growth path (NGP), Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said at the signing ceremony.
"Addressing education and skills development is one of the core aspects of the NGP, as improvements in education and skills development are a prerequisite for achieving many of its goals," he said.
In terms of the skills accord, employers in collaboration with the sector education and training authorities (Setas) committed to placing 30 000 artisans in training programmes this financial year.
The target included 31% in the government sector, 13% in state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and the balance (56%) in the private sector.
Companies would make 12 000 placement/internship spaces available for further education and training (FET) college graduates and 5 000 internships for third-year students at universities of technology in a phased approach over three years.
Business committed to improve spending on training that companies undertook in addition to the 1% compulsory training levy to between 3% and 5% of payroll.
This meant the norm of spending on training would be 4% to 6% of payroll, providing an injection of resources to address skills needs.
The government would develop targets for internships throughout the public sector.
It committed to enrol at least 20 000 people as apprentices and learners between 2011 and 2015.
Annual binding targets had been set for the larger SOEs, such as Eskom, SAA/SAX, Transnet, Denel, Safcor, Alexcor, and Infraco.
In terms of the basic education accord, organised labour, business, and community organisations committed, among other things, to an initial target of between 100 and 200 schools to be supported in the adopt-a-school initiative this year.
Following an evaluation of the success of the interventions, an expanded programme would increase the target to between 500 and 1 000 schools.
The basic education department and the provincial departments would supply the social partners with a list of schools and the social partners would identify the schools with which they planned to work closely.