The CHIETA CEO calls on media to amplify the opportunities that are available through the CHIETA for learners; graduates and unemployed youth
On 6 November 2019, the CEO of the Chemical Industries Training Authority (CHIETA) Khathutshelo Ramukumba, hosted a media engagement breakfast to communicate the organisation’s strategic plans to empower leaners, graduates and unemployed youth through its skills development and training programmes. He began by contextualising the work that the SETA does and asserted that it would take a joint collaboration between the private and public sector, civil society as well as members of the public to resolve the challenges associated with alleviating unemployment in South Africa, particularly amongst young people.
“Where skills development in South Africa concerned, the people who need it the most are the vulnerable members of our communities, that is, the unemployed members of society. By in large this group is comprised of a staggering number of young people,” said Ramukumba.
He then continued to contextualise that the intention of SETA, as established by the South African Government, is to ensure that South Africa can build a thriving economy that can compete on a global stage.
“If we as a country are not prepared from a skills development perspective, our human resources will not be capacitated to produce top-quality innovative services and products. This will continue to create a situation where South Africa sources those products and services from outside the country. By implication, this means that our economy will not be enabled to grow, which will result in us not being able to access new market places around the globe.” He continued.
He then went on to discuss how the CHIETA implements its mandate from the government, by structuring the SETA’s programme offering. As young people are going through their planned interventions of skills development and training, the CHIETA wants to intervene and support them to make the correct subject choices that will support the skills requirements of the sector in the future. “We want to prepare learners to be employees of tomorrow and beyond that we want them to enter the entrepreneurship space as they continue to grow,” said Ramukumba.
Part of the CHIETA’s interventions will be focussed on ensuring that young people in rural communities understand the opportunities that are available for those individuals who are interested in a career within the chemical sector. The idea is to produce candidates for employment that are well equipped to enter the job market and meet the needs of the industry and potential employers. “We want to shorten the distance between completing a qualification and actually finding a job,” said Ramukumba.
In this regard, the CHIETA runs a programme with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) which is called the Centres of Specialisation, designed to support the TVET Colleges by working closely with the private sector as part of the curriculum development. The idea is to ensure that the training colleges are able to produce the type of skills that industry and employers need.
SETAs are not funded by government funding, in fact, the companies that are within the chemical industry fund the work that SETAs do through the levies that they pay. The expectation is that a SETA such as the CHIETA must dedicate a lot of its efforts to the development of those who are already employed, in other words, upskilling employees which must result in the upward mobility of employees within the company.
The CHIETA is also considering putting initiatives in place, that will intervene in the economy in a manner that will assist the country to achieve its minimum ambition of creating a better society for all. This is done with the understanding that we are in a global economy and that we cannot ignore the geopolitical landscape and its impact on developing countries such as South Africa.
Another key focus area for the organisation is the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its impact on the skills development and training programmes that the SETA offers. The big question being, how they ensure that they are preparing learners, graduates and unemployed youth for the new world of work where artificial intelligence and robotics are replacing certain jobs that were previously done by humans.
Ultimately part of the CHIETA’s goal is to work with its partners who are aligned to their transformation agenda to enable more women, youth and locally owned businesses to find their voice in South Africa’s economy.