Majuba TVET College rallies behind the Decade of the Artisan Advocacy Programme


Article and photos by Nashveer Nemesar (Marketing Dept. – Majuba TVET College)

Majuba TVET College has rallied behind the government’s Decade of the Artisan advocacy programme. The official launch, held at the Newcastle Training Centre in KwaZulu Natal, was attended by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Mduduzi Manana. “We are encouraged by our TVET Colleges that are leading from the front in ensuring that South Africa produces the required artisans by 2030 as required by the National Development Plan (NDP)”, said Mr Manana.

This significant campaign aims to encourage more young people (high school learners and unemployed youth) to see artisanship as a career of choice. The slogan of the Decade of the Artisan is ‘It’s cool to be a 21st Century artisan’. This will assist the nation produce a more skilled workforce in the future as well as contribute to our economic growth and development.

However, between 2014 and 2024, the month of August shall be dedicated to artisan development and be officially known as “TVET College Month” where Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges are expected to invite high schools, Sector Education and Training Authority’s (SETAs) and Industry, in order to promote programme offerings for Artisan training and development. This will further expose high school learners and youth not in education or training (NEET) to some of the interesting activities that take place in engineering workshops at TVET Colleges and will ensure that we deliver on the government’s mandate to assist in producing 30 000 artisans per annum in South Africa by 2030. Mr Mlotshwa the Majuba TVET College Principal said, “More young people need to be apprenticed into trades to ease the skills crisis in South Africa. This Campaign intends to also form mutually beneficial partnerships between TVET Colleges, Industry and SETAs”.

Speaking at the Decade of the Artisan programme rallied by Majuba TVET College, Londiwe Mabaso (a young qualified female artisan employed at Elinem Construction) encouraged the learners particularly female leaners to consider Artisanship as a career and shared the various opportunities in artisanship such as Health and Safety, Welding, Boilermaking, etc. “You can work anywhere, for example, in the mines, you can even be a Safety Officer and earn up to R40 000 a month. Join us in this industry of artisan - it’s a beautiful industry, it is cool and full of opportunities”. Londiwe is a Boilermaker at Elinem Construction and she has been in the industry for 7 years.

Mpathwenhle Manyathela, a Grade 9 Student from Phendukani High School noted that “The Decade of the Artisan event that she attended at the Newcastle Training Centre has assisted her in deciding on a career path. Before I came here I had no idea on what career path to follow. I can now confidently say I will be an artisan in the welding field. Our future is in our own hands; you can either drop it or hold it. I will choose to hold it!”

About the Decade of the Artisan

There is a continuous need for suitably qualified artisans to sustain industries and support economic growth within South Africa. In a range of national strategies the need for artisans has been elevated and identified as a priority area for skills development. While the National Development Plan indicates that by 2030 the country should be producing 30 000 qualified artisans per year, this target has been brought forward by the 2014 – 2020 Medium Term Strategic Framework to 31 March 2026. At present the country is producing on average 13 000 qualified artisans per year and so the number has to increase by more than  double in the next twelve years leading up to 2026.

To achieve such a significant growth not only needs considerable investment and commitment by all artisan development role players with a special focus on workplaces in South Africa, but will also require sustained, committed and high profile political leadership. Such political leadership has been put into place through the personal intervention of the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr. Blade Nzimande, and the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr. Mduduzi Manana.

A key intervention that has resulted from this leadership is the “2013 Year of the Artisan Programme” that was launched by the Minister on 4 February 2013 in Gauteng and since then was rolled out by the Deputy Minister in all the other provinces that culminated on 26 November 2013 in the Northern Cape. However, as 2013 is the “Launch” year of this flagship advocacy programme and has only started to raise the profile of artisans in selected areas of the country, there is a need to continue with a long term advocacy programme that will be known as “2014 – 2024 Decade of the Artisan”.

To this end there should be more focus on:

  • Engaging employers to ensure more workplaces are opened up for artisan learners;
  • Training of life orientation, community development workers, ward councillors and the Colleges career guidance advisors on artisanal careers
  • To expose learners from academic schools to technical and vocational; learning from as early as a Grade 6 level through interactive “try a skill” exhibits.

Photo 1 – Mr. M. Manana (Honourable Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training) and Mr. S. Mlotshwa (Principal of Majuba TVET College) together with the high school learners visiting the PLC Workshop at the Newcastle Training Centre at the launch of the Decade of the Artisan advocacy Campaign.

Photo 2 – An Eskom apprentice currently training at Newcastle Training Centre gives a demonstration of a practical in the Mechanical workshop at the launch of the Decade of the Artisan.

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