TRAINING: The Arguments For Good Craftmanship
Recent Western Cape Business News
AT a time when there are too many people with arts degrees chasing too few jobs, this country still has a serious shortage of artisans. The development and training needed to provide skilled craftsmen in various practical fields has not had the priority it deserves - and we are suffering as a result.
But in recent times, says Cassie Kruger, CEO of False Bay College, a leading FET college in the Western Cape and one of the top colleges in the country, there has been real headway. His college has led the way, outperforming the Provincial Average with its National Certificate (Vocational) results at levels 2, 3 and 4, and the National Average as well.
He is more than happy with this achievement - which was due, he says, to his dedicated and hard-working staff, and to his students grasping the opportunities offered. This resulted not only in an excellent pass rate, but in the fact that 96% of the previous year’s NCV L4 graduates were successfully placed in employment, or have continued with Higher Education.
“The real success of any course is determined by graduates finding employment in their area of study, but we take this a step further. We keep in contact with our graduates after they leave us, and encourage them to contact us in the event of any problems. They are part of our family,” Kruger says.
Kruger is greatly encouraged by the introduction in January of the new National Skills Development Strategy III (2011 to 2016), which sets high standards. It calls for partnerships between employers, public education institutions, private training providers and SETAs, “to ensure that cross-sectoral and inter-sectoral needs are addressed”.
He points out that False Bay College, which has ISO 9001: 2008 certification status, is a business, dealing directly with employers in industry and business generally. This places greater emphasis on immediacy, flexibility and good customer services, and the college is fully aware of this.
The college has a dedicated business unit (under Dr Chris Merts) which meets regularly with companies to discuss their needs. And they are more than willing to tailor training solutions to meet the needs of individual companies.
“We have long-standing relationships with industry,” says Kruger. “We currently train people for Eskom, Mittel Steel, Swartland Boudienste and SAB Miller, to mention a few of our larger clients. We also have many medium-sized companies on our client list.
“Our job placement office and dedicated job placement officers provide employers at no cost with the opportunity to view CVs of skilled graduates to consider for employment.”
The college’s key areas of delivery are engineering, business, hospitality and information technology (IT). They also serve ‘niche areas’ such as electrical and boat building, and are the leading training providers in this sector. They are also an accredited decentralised Trade Test Centre for electrical, boilermaking, welding, automotive body repair and spray painting, fitting and turning, tool, jig and dye making and millwright trades.
Over the next three years, False Bay College aims to aggressively grow its occupational delivery in support of the new skills development strategy with the emphasis placed on artisan training.
SETAs first priority will be to provide funding for training at FET colleges, and this will mean a stronger working relationship between all the SETAs during this year.
Says Kruger: “Companies want to do business with one college that can meet their needs promptly and efficiently - not with many training providers. So we see ourselves as not being limited to our own geographical area, but to providing training nationally.”
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