The South African government’s National Development Plan (NDP) by 2030 stipulates that ‘South Africans should have access to education and training of the highest quality, leading to significantly improved outcomes where graduates have skills and knowledge that meet the future needs of the economy and society.’ (Department of Higher Education and Training Strategic Plan 2015/16 – 2019/2020). The Skills for Employability programme supports the achievement of this objective through international skills partnerships between Further Education colleges in the United Kingdom and Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges in South Africa who collaborate on improving technical and vocational education.
In 2016, we established and supported an international skills partnership project between New College Lanarkshire (United Kingdom) and Central Johannesburg College (South Africa). The focus was to enhance the automotive programme at both institutions as well as creating stronger links with the automotive industry in South Africa. Using the New College Lanarkshire automotive strategy as a starting point, the partnership developed a toolkit to internationalise the automotive qualification at Central Johannesburg by incorporating international standards. Together they designed and implemented an employer engagement strategy that would form new industry partnerships.
Through this partnership, the colleges were able to evaluate and make improvements on the quality of their work-based learning programmes, in line with international and local industry standards. The resultant benefits being an improvement in retention and achievement. New College Lanarkshire achieved their mandate from Education Scotland of adopting an international approach. The employer engagement strategy has been so successful at Central Johannesburg College that one lecturer was placed in industry as a Diesel Mechanic and now has an improved attitude and approach to teaching, which has improved the learner experience. Ford SA donated three vehicles to Central Johannesburg to equip their workshops and they have secured funding of R2 million from the National Skills Fund (NSF) to equip their automotive workshop, enabling access to education to a previously disengaged community of Alexandra. Memorandums of agreement have been signed between Central Johannesburg and companies such as Cartrack and South African Police Services to provide learners with work integrated learning.
“We appreciate the efforts of the training currently facilitated by CJC in providing possible candidates to be employed by Cartrack with the relevant theory skills. We also need to concentrate on the practical training required to bring the theory covered into the workplace – which could be offered with the CJC/NCL model which incorporates practical and theoretical skills. Trainees should also be trained on behaviour needed for the workplace.” Pierre Coetsee, Technical Services Manager, Cartrack