The National Business Initiative (NBI) envisages a skills pipeline that is responsive to labour market needs and that offers youth multiple pathways such as further study, employment and self-employment. To realise this, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) recognises the need for an expanded, vibrant Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college sector that delivers diverse programs responsive to industry and community needs and that enhances the employability of college graduates. A skilled and employable workforce will contribute to economic transition and social transformation.
We do this by:
- Facilitating strategic and robust Thought Leadership Series that supports colleges, government and industry to initiate and maintain meaningful partnerships for the delivery of quality programs meeting national and local industry skills demands.
- Designing and implementing demonstration projects to test innovative interventions in critical areas such as structured workplace-based learning for students and workplace exposure for college lecturers.
- Providing platforms for companies to demonstrate cutting-edge solutions for collective business action which can be scaled up for larger impact.
The TVET College sector focus
The OECD review of vocational education and training in South Africa (2014), notes that failure to absorb young people into the labour market threatens social cohesion. The report sees an effective vocational education and training system as one that facilitates the transition from education to employment.
The DHET sees the TVET college sector as a central pillar for government’s strategy to grow critical mid-level skills and reduce youth unemployment. The investment by government to increase enrolments in TVET colleges confirms this position, although poor quality of provision and a lack of responsiveness to labour market needs is concerning. There are however pockets of excellence in the TVET colleges to build on.
The NBI has an extensive track record of working with TVET colleges, government and a number of research agencies. This network offers opportunities for innovation in new and emerging sectors such as renewable energy technologies and entrepreneurship education.
The NBI also serves on strategic forums such as the Presidential Business Working Group, and a number of the Department of Higher Education and Training Technical Task Teams. The NBI also serves on the Business Unity South Africa sub-Committee on Education and Training. These forums provide the opportunity to tap into and influence key developments in the skills development sector.