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MZANSI NEEDS MORE ARTISANS
Lack of experience and training opportunities are the main obstacles facing apprentices. Photo By Thabo Monama  ~ 

IT SEEMS Mzansi has forgotten its critical skills shortage.

It may have been a popular topic of political talk a few years ago but it remains a problem, locally and worldwide.

The problem is made worse by the unstoppable spread of automation and the belief that only a degree secures a valuable career.

The Human Resource Development Council established the artisan development technical task team in 2012. This was an attempt to improve the quality of artisan training and analyse the lack of artisanal development. According to the development council, the lack of apprenticeship opportunities is one of the main obstacles facing student artisans.

This means that while youths can get the right diplomas at a TVET college, they may not be able to get enough work experience to take the qualifying trade test.”

Nithia Pillay, director of customer services for Samsung SA, said: “South Africa needs more skilled labour. One of the arenas in which skills are highly sought-after is the technology and engineering sector.

“This is why Samsung has invested in engineering academies which not only offer training but also viable career paths and proper employment.”

The learnership programmes are geared towards inclusivity. They have increased opportunities for women to enter into trades that were traditionally reserved for men – women artisans are on the rise.

Samsung’s engineering academies offer practical training and also valuable work experience and placement options.

To make sure that youths are given hope for the future, it is important to change the idea around what it means to be an artisan as well as make sure that these much-needed skills are properly taught.

Career opportunities also need to be opened up for those who choose to become artisans.

Pillay said it is only by setting up programmes – such as the engineering academies – that South Africa can begin to address the unemployment problem as well as improve the economy.

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