Technical and Vocational Education and Training at Colleges is broadly defined in terms of programmes at levels 2 – 4 on the NQF and is located “at the intersection of General and Higher Education and the world of work” (White Paper 4) and in terms of the law the colleges are intended “To enable students to acquire knowledge, practical skills, and applied vocational and occupational competence, in order to enter employment, a vocation, occupation or trade; or higher education.”
While the focus of TVET Colleges must remain on the core vocational and occupational training role and identity of colleges, national plans for the college sector must also find ways to address the enormous social challenge of providing opportunities for young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs).
The need to find systemic ways of increasing the scale of provisioning of programmes that support income generation and access to sustainable livelihoods in a systematic manner, including workplace exposure for NEET youth to ensure that they access experiential learning is not only a responsibility but an obligation!
The unemployed represents an important target group for the National Skills Development Strategy and the National Development Plan and therefore for TVET Colleges. It is vital that the skills of unemployed youth be upgraded in order to facilitate their transition into active employment and life-long learning and to grow the skills pool from which employers can recruit. It is our responsibility to contribute to this goal, else we are not fulfilling our mandate as a public college.
The single greatest impediment that inhibits investment, job creation and economic growth in South Africa is the shortage of relevant skills
To address the above, it is crucial that government and its educational institutions assume responsibility to assist and support communities trapped in the Second Economy to gain access into the economic mainstream.