on February 5th, 2020

South Africa needs more medium-skilled workers. The youth graduate unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2019, according to Stats South Africa, was 31 percent. The hope is that the first quarter of 2020 may see improvement.

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Blade Nzimande, is encouraging matriculants who just received their results in January to consider enrolling in Technical Vocational Educational and Training (TVET) colleges.

He said most students aim straight for university after completing the twelfth grade, “TVET colleges play a pivotal role in addressing South Africa’s skills needs and cater for a wide spectrum.”

Blulever Education, a new South African higher education group, reports that there is a shortfall of 40,000 people in the artisanal space in the country. The situation is further worsened with unqualified artisans purportedly flooding the market. 

In their latest report on the sector, they write, “We found that this is a system with pockets of excellence and institutions that are doing things well in various ways, but that overall the artisan ecosystem is dysfunctional and in need of many interventions. Some issues are systemic, and need to be addressed by large-scale policy or governmental interventions, while others present opportunities for institutions to introduce solutions.”

Nzimande says that 156,800 new studying opportunities are available in the 2020 academic year to students who wish to undertake engineering, general, or business studies. The TVET sector in the country also has its own shortfalls - and that’s where EIT comes in.

EIT is well positioned to help South Africans reach their potential and empower them to get qualified as a technologist or technician. EIT provides an opportunity for these students to graduate with a locally and globally relevant qualification. 

The unique online delivery model means students can learn while seeking and undertaking employment. The importance of redefining study and work is clear from the whitepapers in South Africa, and EIT is meeting the challenge head-on.

EIT’s Dean of Engineering Steve Mackay, who will be visiting three South African cities in February, said, “I think in the daily haze of software, theory, paperwork, standards, regulations, procedures, policies and systems we operate in; we tend to forget this as engineering professionals.

“Despite all the changes in engineering today, the engineering craftsman is still a key contributor in the engineering team and should always be accorded enormous respect.”

The Department of Higher Education (DHET) has been nudging students towards artisan education and training since 2014, under a campaign called ‘The Decade of the Artisan.’ The success of this campaign will be measured in 2024.

The DHET is continuing its efforts to motivate students to join the medium-skills industry, and are hoping the economy may be revived through this sector.

EIT is poised to continue helping students in South Africa and beyond reach their education and training goals while gaining work experience. With every passing year, distance learning, coupled with work experience, is becoming the norm. We are dedicated to helping train artisans in the engineering industry up for this ‘decade of the artisan’ and the next.


Works Cited

“Blulever.” Blulever, blulever.com/.

Mafolo, Karabo. “HIGHER EDUCATION: Blade Nzimande Urges Students to Apply to TVET Colleges.” Daily Maverick, www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-01-16-blade-nzimande-urges-students-to-apply-to-tvet-colleges/.

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