The National Skills Development Strategy III (NSDS) informs that skills development is not just about training people for employment; it must also empower people to create opportunities to make a living for themselves. Low levels of education and training, as well as the lack of standardised, appropriate and accredited training, are key constraints to enabling people to create their own opportunities. This NSDS III must also ensure increased access to training and skills development opportunities and achieve the fundamental transformation of inequities linked to class, race, gender, age and disability in our society. Skills development is at the epicentre of improving employability and livelihood opportunities, reducing poverty, enhancing productivity and a critical component of South Africa’s transformation and economic growth agenda.
Mabalengwe Agriculture an agriculture consulting, research and training organisation finds itself being part of the skills development programme to beneficiaries of the Community Work Programme (CWP) within the North West Province. The CWP is under the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) and is designed as an employment safety net for unemployed and under employed people of working age. It provides a bridging opportunity for unemployed youth and others who are actively looking for employment opportunities. The programme provides them with extra cash to support them in their search for full-time or part-time employment. Programme participants do community work thereby contributing to improvements that benefit all community members. The programme beneficiaries also attend skills programmes that are accredited with the SETAs.
Mabalengwe Agriculture in partnership with Beulah Africa and Future Families JV is implementing an AgriSETA accredited skills programme training on crop production focussing on crop establishment, Monitor pests, diseases and weeds on crops and Harvest agricultural crops. The identified areas of intervention provide individual CWP beneficiaries with basic start up skills for them to understand the basic crop production techniques. A skills programme are occupational based learning programmes that’s assume the format of a unit standard or combination of unit standards that leads to an employable skill, and earns a credit on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) towards a qualification. Skills programmes are compiled by employers or providers once a need for a particular skill has been identified. These programmes are registered with the SETA, and must be certificated through the NQF-based accreditation route. Successful completion of the right combination and number of unit’s standards could over time also lead to attainment of a full qualification.
The participants in one of the training sites in Moretele indicated their happiness in being part of the programme as it has a potential to improve their agriculture knowledge and at the same time improving the prospects of work and promotion of self-employment in light of the pending finalisation of Section 25 of the constitution. However, while they welcome the training, they felt that long-term training in the form of learnerships will assist especially the youth as it opens up opportunities for further studies and comes with a stipend which is pitched higher than the CWP allowances.
Mabalengwe Agriculture as an AgriSETA and ServicesSETA accredited organisation indicated their excitement in being part of this initiative and based on their evaluation found the interventions to be relevant to the needs of the CWP beneficiaries especially those with a keen interest in farming. They applauded the initiative CoGTA through its implementing Agent Beulah Africa and Future Families JV.
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