Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  21 Jun 2011

LABOUR: Workplace Experience Urged For Apprentices


Recent Western Cape Business News

IN the training of apprentices, further education and training (FET) institutions such as False Bay College provide what they term ‘blocks of theory’ and a considerable amount of practical training.

But that in itself is not enough,” says the college’s CEO Cassie Kruger. ”There is another indispensable element in the development of a budding apprentice - and that is practical work experience in a real work environment.”

Co-operative education’ is the umbrella term for programmes that include an education component that takes place in a real workplace. One of the defining features of a co-operative education programme is that the workplace component is fully integrated into the curriculum and is formally assessed.

Another defining feature, and this is where the word ‘co-operative’ is significant, is that the programme involves a three-way partnership between education institutions, students and employers.

The education institutions are more than eager to play their part, and the same applies to their students. The problem lies in finding enough employers prepared to provide the in-house training - which involves assigning members of staff to train the students and supervising and sometimes having to correct their work, with a consequent loss of some of their normal input into the work of the company.

This problem was among matters raised at a SETA Breakfast held at the False Bay College’s Westlake campus in March, attended by some 80 representatives from industry, and the problem, which was already well understood, was ‘taken on board’.

At the same time, Kruger pointed out that when a company took on a promising and high-performing student from False Bay College, who had already had extensive ‘blocks of theory’ and some practical training at the college, they were on their way to having a fully trained apprentice with a future in their industry. And wasn’t that what industry so badly needed, and complained about not having?

As a follow-up measure, False Bay College, one of the more progressive and top performing colleges in South Africa, is holding an Open Day at all its five campuses on July 29 and 30 at which representatives from industry throughout the Cape will be invited to view the training facilities and meet the lecturing staff.

Says Kruger: “This must, we feel, enable more of them to see the advantages of taking part in a co-operative education programme for apprentices and National Certificate (Vocational) graduates.”

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