TVET Colleges and Green Skills

Supporting TVET Colleges to Build Green Skills: A Partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation

The readiness of and the swiftness with which public Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges are responding to the emerging demand for renewable energy  technologies is increasingly under scrutiny. Notably, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in partnership with GIZ introduced green skills curriculum in TVET colleges in selected fields of study.

It is against this backdrop that the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) entered into a partnership with the National Business Initiative (NBI) to provide support to Urban Technical and Vocational Education and Training College and Rural Technical and Vocational Education and Training College in the Northern Cape to strengthen their capacity to deliver green skills. The project had the endorsement of DHET.

The aim of the project was to demonstrate an approach towards incorporating ‘green’ technologies into the engineering curriculum. The approach focused on strengthening the supply of skills for the installation and maintenance of solar water heaters to enhance the employability of college graduates.

The project seeks to put in place building blocks that would enable the participating colleges to leapfrog traditional plumbing methods and become Centres of Excellence for ‘green’ plumbing skills through offering innovative training linked to job creation.

Strengthening the capacity of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Colleges in solar water heater installation and maintenance

The NBI has entered into a partnership with Nedbank to strengthen the capacity of public Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges to enhance the employability of graduates in the installation and maintenance of solar water heaters. The project, which started in June 2016, will train 30 graduates from TVET colleges in Gauteng for absorption into jobs and self-employment.

The project seeks to enhance the capacity of colleges through structured partnerships with industry with respect to: offering curriculum that is industry-specific for solar water heater installation and maintenance; lecturer development and work exposure; structured Workplace-based Learning; and enterprise development.

The initiative will inform the design and implementation of a model for the development of green skills that draws on employer and college expertise with the primary goal of increasing levels of employment and self-employment for youth.

The demand for green jobs in South Africa is gaining momentum and Government has introduced Strategies, Plans, Accords and Incentives to accelerate efforts towards meeting the targets set for the Green Economy. Preliminary analysis of what the likely skills requirements are for these ‘green jobs’ has been done and indications are that having the requisite skills in place is one of the critical success factors for South Africa to transition to the Green Economy.

However, the Green Economy will not flourish or reach its full potential without the involvement of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). With our country’s youth unemployment challenge, there is an urgent need to invest in the development of SMMEs as they are key drivers of economic growth and job creation. SMMEs need new entrepreneurs, which brings to the fore the question of whether our public institutions are ready and capable to train and develop future entrepreneurs.

The key institutions that can lead in the provisioning of entrepreneurship education are Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges as the primary producers of mid-level skills, but there is a massive gap in these colleges in their provisioning of entrepreneurship education and enterprise development programmes.

This application proposes an approach by Nedbank and NBI to Support Public TVET Colleges to Develop Entrepreneurs for the Green Economy. The thrust of the programme will be institutional capacity building for the colleges while Nedbank will bring its considerable expertise in entrepreneurship and enterprise development into the public TVET space which will create a new generation of TVET college graduates who learn skills not just to be employable but to be able to be able to create employment in their own right, contributing to the development of ‘Greenpreneurs’.