First-time job seekers have been selected from the Department of Labour employment agency list to receive Seta training and stipends for a range of courses, funded 50-50 by some Setas, Labour minister Mildred Oliphant told Sheqafrica.com.
Some employers have agreed to give the state-sponsored trainees jobs, to raise their own BEE scores. One in four of the learners are trained in IT-based state revenue collection (see joint DOL, UIF and MICT Seta figures below).
The plan was announced as aimed at raising critical and scarce skills, but involves largely common, basic level skills in building, sub-contractor finance and certification, other trades, and state IT (see the participating departments and Setas below).
The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is spending R300m, doubled by R300m Seta training funds from skills levies, to a total of R600m, on only 8000 learners. The average cost is R75 000 per learner, to cover courses and stipends for transport to classes and practical sessions, presented by a range of private training providers.
DOL and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) have appointed an official to monitor the Setas, some being notorious for defective delivery and administration.
Seta training with UIF funding aid
- Department of Public Works; 900 learners at R16m plus R16m, to be trained in building, road building and environmental management.
- Construction Education and Training Authority (Ceta) and Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSeta); 200 learners at R3.6m plus R3.6m, to be trained in plumbing and renewable energy, including solar geyser installation.
- Department of Human Settlements youth programme; 1800 rural learners, to be trained in one-year courses in plastering, plumbing, painting, roofing, construction management, project management, SMME finance.
- Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (Chieta); 1500 learners at R100m plus R100m, to be trained in welding, motor mechanics, instrument mechanics, fitting and turning, electrics, diesel mechanics and boiler-making.
- Transport Education and Training Authority (Teta); 777 learners at R47m plus R47m, to be trained as train drivers, track masters, aircraft mechanics, electroplating, radiotronics, turners. Some artisan programmes will run for three years.
- In the Teta programme, 100 of the 777 learners at R6m plus R6m, to be trained in scuba diving by the SA Maritime Safety Authority, to work in shipping, defence, police, emergency response services at municipalities, and tourism.
- In the Teta programme, 20 learners at R8m plus R8m to be trained as private and commercial pilots.
- In the Teta SAMSA scuba programme, 500 other learners at R5m plus R5m, to be trained as seafarers.
- Media, Information, Communication and Telecommunications Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT Seta); 2000 learners at R53m plus R53m, to be trained in end-user computing, marketing, UIF Act, UIF Contributions Act, and U-filing, for six months.
State trains 2000 revenue collectors
DOL said it would itself “to a certain extent” employ the 2000 IT trainees from the IT programme within six months. The move may be related to DOL’s building of internal ICT capacity following termination of a Siemens contract that absorbed managers into the DOL, but left some employees jobless.
The 2000 trainees in state revenue collection is costing the two state bodies R106m, or R53 000 per trainee, an apparently excessive number of trainees designated for the UIF system that seems to be running well.
Minister Oliphant explained the joint computing and marketing training programme as aimed at educating employers on how to file their UIF contributions, however online filing by contributors is said to be popular. The UIF pays out R600m per month to about 60 000 claimants, which is now also being automated.
She indicated that further similar programmes would follow the initial “integrated” approach to break down barriers between Setas and state departments, raising the possibility that many more state revenue collectors may be trained, and may be employed in compensation or other state revenue sectors.
The DOL announcement was made on the lday that e-tolling started in Gauteng.
Minister Oliphant confirmed that the UIF marketing and revenue trainees each receive R35 000 worth of training, and R18 000 in stipends, totalling R53 000 during the six months course.
DOL returns to training administration
The move reverses part of the government decision two years ago to move Department of Labour training and skills funding functions, to the Department of Higher Education, Umalusi, the QCTO, Setas, and other authorities.
It also marks a reversal in the fortunes of Setas, beset with maladministration and questionable outcomes. Setas were destined to lose some functions in basic level training administration, but the new funding is aimed at low NQF level training.
The move follows a ruling party and government strategy to fast-track legislation and projects related to service delivery and black economic empowerment (BEE), ahead of the 2014 elections.
The plan was at first also aimed at raising the skills of retrenched workers, who are UIF beneficiaries, to get them employed, but was announced as aimed primarily at first-time job seekers.
The 8000 trainees could not make much of a difference to the 11m jobs needed to reduce South African unemployment, that some figures indicate to be near 50%.
• The DOL acting director-general is Sam Morotoba, a former Seta official.