Sub-Saharan Africa has the youngest population in the world, with over 60% of its population under the age of 25 (World Economic Forum – The future of jobs and skills in Africa report May 2017). For a successful and productive tomorrow, it is imperative to invest in the development of skills that are relevant and meet labour market needs. This is to ensure that young people will be able to take up future opportunities that become available. The World Economic Forum’s Future of jobs and skills in Africa report further points out “to build a pipeline of future skills, Africa’s educators should design future-ready curricula that encourage critical thinking, creativity and emotional intelligence as well as accelerate acquisition of digital and STEM skills to match the way people will work and collaborate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
In South Africa, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has put an emphasis on Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions being key players in youth skills development and economic growth. To enable a skilled and capable workforce, who meet the demands of the labour market, there is a need to improve the quality of teaching and learning at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions so that the provision is adaptive to changes in the workplace. The British Council’s Core-Skills for TVET programme is doing just that.
We work with our key skills stakeholders and partners, DHET and the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services, Sector Education and Training Authority (MerSETA) to build capacity in the TVET sector in South Africa, specifically for trainers and lecturers to enhance the quality of teaching and learning. Participants are equipped with the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills to design and implement core skills training in their education institution. Our strategy is to train lecturers in TVET colleges to embed core skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication,collaboration, digital literacy as well as leadership and personal development, in the curriculum. Once applied in the teaching and learning environment, these skills will allow young people to be more productive, flexible and innovative in the workplace. The Coreskills for TVET programme is built to sustain itself in that it aligns with both DHET and MerSETA’ s Continued Professional Development objectives for lecturers. Our facilitators are already in the TVET space and can use their knowledge and understanding of how teaching and learning is delivered to make the training more applicable.
‘I am really grateful to be chosen to be part of the British Council training. It has really opened my eyes, that I can use the resources that I have around me to make my lessons more relevant to what is happening in the industry and also train my students to be industry ready.’ Lorraine Moloto, Lecturer – Goldfields TVET College.
In December 2019, we capacitated fifteen TVET practitioners to become facilitators and fourteen of these are now validated facilitators of the Coreskills for TVET training programme. The group consisted of Regional DHET officials, TVET Deputy Principals in Academic, Curriculum Managers and Lecturers. Each facilitator is not only able to support TVET lecturers and trainers in embedding Coreskills in the curriculum but can also apply the same skills in their own work environment.
We delivered the first of its kind, Coreskills for TVET virtual training to 100 TVET lecturers and trainers, in the period August – November 2020. 63 of them successfully completed the training, which included a month of classroom application. Initially designed for face to face delivery, the programme was adaptive in that, in a short period of three months, four facilitators and one master trainer transformed the delivery model and material to online learning, while maintaining the programme outcomes. The trained lecturers are now champions of the programme in their colleges and regions and will help support the capacitation of colleagues and partners. Our training material is endorsed by the Continuous Professional Development and the Curriculum Development units of DHET.
‘I am so inspired, motivated and I feel I am enhanced to produce more quality. The course serves as a reflection for me to improve and as an encouragement to keep on doing what I was doing as I am on the right track. It revived the spirit of long learning. For what I have learned definitely I will be sharing with my colleagues. Sharing successes and challenges is a lesson on its own, together we can make our country A better place, it can't be one man's show.’ Mpho Monicca Mashigo, Lecturer – Tshwane North TVET College.