7 steps to a career as an artisan
As the decade of the artisan kicks off, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to become one
To meet its quota for 2030, the department of higher education and training will need to produce twice as many artisans as it is producing at present.
This means there are plenty of opportunities for matriculants who have not yet found their calling.
“The National Development Plan requires that by 2030, at least 30 000 qualified artisans are produced per year. Currently, the country produces, on average, 12 000 qualified artisans per year,” says Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande.
Students who are interested in training as an engineer, motor mechanic, plumber or electrician can complete their studies through the National Artisan Development Support Centre (NADSC). Matriculants can register by going to its website, contacting the NADSC call centre on 011 736 4400 or by emailing copies of their qualifications to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To become an artisan, matriculants must have studied mathematics as a subject and obtained a pass mark of 50% or higher.
Those matriculants who do not have mathematics but have passed and want to consider a career as an artisan can also register at the NADSC for a bridging course that the department is implementing in partnership with the retail motor sector. This sector is looking to take on 12 000 young people as apprentices.
This bridging course includes mathematics, engineering science, a technical subject like electronics, life orientation, computer skills and a short course on artisan development legislation.
Another option for those wanting to study towards an apprenticeship is for them to become an artisan in the civil, mechanical and electrical career fields. The post-school education and training sector, particularly further education and training colleges, will have 10 000 artisanal opportunities.
Here are the seven steps, as identified by the department of higher education and training, to becoming a qualified artisan:
Step 1: Career guidance and management
A system of effective career guidance has been implemented to provide information and market artisanal careers among South Africans to ensure the sufficient entrance of learners into artisanal trade occupations. Effective career guidance ensures that entrants will have made informed career choices, and career management will facilitate progression to artisan status and beyond into technician and engineering-related occupations.
Step 2: Knowledge learning
Although artisanal occupations are primarily focused on hand skills and practical ability, they are supported by a substantial amount of general, vocational or fundamental knowledge learnt through the basic schooling system or at vocational colleges. To ensure effective throughput and success rates in occupational learning, a strong fundamental knowledge is required of subjects such as mathematics, science, drawing and the technical language used in the technical working environment.
Step 3: Learner agreement registration and contracting
The next step to becoming a qualified artisan is to find a workplaceapproved employer who will enter into a learning programme agreement and contract with the learner after Step 2 has been completed successfully.
The employer will apply an industry-specific selection process before entering into an agreement and contract with the learner as the employer will want to ensure that the learners are fully suited to the industry they want to practice their trade in.
A critical part of Step 3 is the allocation of funding for artisanal learners through grant payments from Setas, which form an integral part of the learner agreement and contract.
Step 4: Occupational knowledge and practical learning
After a learning programme agreement is registered with a relevant Seta and a contract of learning – including funding arrangements – is in place, the artisanal learner will enter an accredited artisan training centre.
At certain predetermined stages, there are formative assessments applied, previously known as phase tests, to ensure learners have assimilated the occupational knowledge and practical skills, and can proceed to the next stage.
Step 5: Workplace learning
Real competence in any occupation is whether a person can apply and transfer learning at the workplace or across a variety of workplaces.
Therefore, the most critical component of learning in artisan development is workplace learning. During the workplace learning process, the occupational knowledge and practical learning assimilated in the previous step are applied in the workplace.
Step 6: Trade testing and recognition of prior learning
Once the artisan learner has successfully completed the occupational knowledge, practical and workplace learning, the Skills Development Act requires a learner to undergo an external final assessment – also known as a trade test – before they can be certified as a qualified artisan. In the near future, all trade testing in South Africa will be regulated by national trade test regulations issued under section 26D(5) of the Skills Development Act that are applicable to all trade test centres whether they are operated by private, government or state-owned companies.
Step 7: Assurance and certification
Quality assurance will be built into each step of the programme. It is therefore not an isolated activity focusing on the final external assessment or trade testing only, but is implemented right from the qualification development, learner selection, accreditation and delivery processes. The current practice in which a range of sector-based trade certificates are issued in South Africa has been phased out and the development through the national artisanal moderation body under delegation from the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations will ensure that only national artisan trade certificates are issued.
HANDS-ON SA produces about 12 000 qualified artisans a year, but by 2030 the country needs to produce at least 30 000