Nzimande pleased with progress on 4IR interventions

Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, says he is pleased with the implementation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) interventions within the post school education and training sector.

This follows recorded partnerships and progress by universities, colleges and Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) in advancing 4IR interventions within the sector.

He said the Department of Higher Education and Training has collaborated with CISCO and Huawei to align the existing Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges’ curriculum with industry demands in the digital skills area.

“Under the CISCO agreement, at least 300 lecturers are being trained in our 50 TVET colleges to upgrade their skills on Information Communication Technology (ICT) related National Certificate Vocational NC (V) qualifications.

“Under the Huawei agreement, lecturers currently at 32 TVET colleges are being trained to support the introduction of subjects such as Routing & Switching, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, WLAN [wireless local-area network], and Security and Cloud Computing,” Nzimande said on Thursday.

Programmes aligned to ERRP priority sectors

Nzimande said that colleges have identified occupational programmes to be introduced for the purposes of aligning to the priority sectors, as stipulated in the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP).

This is done in partnership with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) and INDLELA (support centre for artisan development in South Africa).

“These programmes will be supported through funding from SETAs and the National Skills Fund (NSF), guided by research undertaken through the Labour Market Intelligence Partnership (LMIP) and Sector Skills Plans (SPPs), which highlighted the growing demand for digital and ICT skills across a variety of job roles.”

The Minister added that one of the provisions of the ERRP Skills Strategy is to ensure expanded access to short programmes and full qualifications required for the economic growth of South Africa.

“This demands that quality councils introduce greater flexibility in their approval processes to ensure faster turnaround for timely approval and accreditation of programmes to respond to changes and innovations in ICT related fields,” he said.

Demand led skilling model for global business services

With support from the Presidential Employment Stimulus to the tune of R100 million, the Minister added that the NSF is managing the roll-out of a demand led skilling model for the global business services and ICT industries.

“This initiative is expected to be expanded in future years through insourcing funding from other public and private sector funders,” the Minister said.

Agriculture Sector Education and Training Authority

Nzimande also highlighted that the Agriculture Sector Education and Training Authority (AgriSETA) utilised the 4IR interventions to prioritise occupations within the agricultural sector.

“4IR interventions were introduced in the occupations which includes Industrial Mechanician, Planning Managers (Manufacturing), Processing Unit Managers, Plant Managers (Manufacturing), Engineering Managers, Agricultural Engineering Technicians, Agricultural Product Processing Engineering Technologists, Crop Production Mechanization Engineering Technologists, Environmental Protection Professionals and Conservation Scientists.

“These occupations are directly linked to 4IR where the integration of various technologies assist farmers in increasing efficiencies [and] form part of AgriSETA’ s priority occupations, and are prioritised in the 2022/23 financial year through funding of bursaries, graduate placement and learnerships,” Nzimande said.

Qualifications to address cyber security

Meanwhile, Nzimande announced that the Banking Sector Education and Training Authority (BANKSETA) has developed occupational qualifications to address the growing need for formal qualifications related to cyber security.

He said the qualifications will be registered with the QCTO.

“A training programme in cyber security was implemented and recently the SETA also started to train high school students on skills for the future which include Coding, Software Programming and Data Science.

“The BANKSETA allocated funds to re-skill and or upskill employees whose roles may be impacted by automation, artificial intelligence, and the increased need for data analytics. There is dedicated funding allocated to IT related skills and some of the programmes funded which include Data Management, Cobit 5 and Analysing Data,” the Minister said.

Source: South African Government News Agency