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HIGHER EDUCATION THERE'S HOPE FOR THOSE WHO DID NOT GET INTO UNIVERSITY

Young people today often struggle to find jobs after they have matriculated. To help them improve their skills to enter the job market, the Department of Higher Education and Training is starting learning programmes, targeting matriculants who failed to meet university entrance requirements.

An amount of R500 million has been set aside as a contribution towards this special project.

This follows the transfer of SETAs last November from the Department of Labour to the newly created Department of Higher Education and Training.

Skills Fund

The focus will be on partnerships with the National Skills Fund (NSF) to make more learnerships available in areas where there are skills shortages.

These include information, communication and technology, engineering, science and health.

In addition, skills development programmes will be started with the sole aim of giving skills to the unemployed to make it easier for them to find jobs.

Small businesses

The SETAs will recruit 35 000 learners into these programmes during this year. A further 2 500 will receive opportunities to get skills that will help them create their own new small businesses.

The department is responsible for higher education institutions like universities and universities of technology, as well as further education and training (FET) colleges, trade testing centres and skills-development institutes.

Second chance

The FET colleges will play an important role in giving second chance education to those learners who do not manage to pass matric.

These colleges together with SETAs will link with the business sector and industries to involve employers and businesses more meaningfully.

To achieve this, the department will help FET colleges to find and hold onto highly skilled and experienced instructors.

Rural areas

As part of government's goal to develop rural areas, FET colleges will be strengthened with things like better resources to help them address problems affecting skills development.

Agricultural training colleges in rural areas will develop and run training programmes to support rural economies. This will include the training of farm workers.

- Mbulelo Baloyi