Improving Upskilling and Training in South Africa

South African businesses appear to have been successful in their skill initiatives, with nearly a third of all CEOs in the country saying that their upskilling programmes had strengthened both their corporate culture and employee engagement. Outside of this, skill development is also of crucial economic importance for South Africa.

According to a study conducted by the National Skills Authority (NSA) in South Africa, there has been an increase in upskilling and training among adults in the country over the past few years. The study found that between 2012 and 2017, the proportion of adults in the country who had undergone some form of formal training increased from 29.2% to 32.4%.

In addition to engineering, agriculture, and business training, the Department of Higher Education and Training has established a number of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges throughout the country.

Despite these efforts, the upskilling landscape in South Africa is still facing significant challenges, including limited access to education and training opportunities for disadvantaged communities and a shortage of skilled workers. There are four ways the South African government can improve and increase upskilling and training in the country:

  1. Increase funding for education and training: The South African government can increase its funding for education and training, particularly for disadvantaged communities, to improve access to training programs and facilities. This can include increasing funding for TVET colleges and providing grants or scholarships for learners who cannot afford training.
  2. Improve the quality of training programs: The government can work with training providers to ensure that their programs meet industry standards and are of high quality. This can include setting up accreditation and quality assurance systems for training providers and improving the training curriculum and teaching methodologies.
  3. Partner with industry leaders to promote skills development: The government can partner with private sector employers to develop skills development initiatives that align with industry needs. This can include setting up industry-specific training programs, apprenticeships, and internships that provide learners with practical experience in their chosen field.
  4. Encourage a culture of lifelong learning: The government can promote the importance of lifelong learning and upskilling among the general population. This can include providing incentives for individuals to pursue further education and training, such as tax breaks or subsidies, and promoting the benefits of upskilling in terms of employability and career advancement.

Promoting the importance of lifelong learning and upskilling can also encourage the general population to invest in their development and improve their employability and career advancement opportunities.