AN INTEGRATED CAREER DEVELOPMENT SERVICES SYSTEM FOR SOUTH AFRICA IS A REALITY
“The responsibility for career guidance-related services in South Africa is fragmented across a range of government departments, which makes policy development extremely difficult. International experience has shown that career guidance policy cannot be developed and implemented in isolation; it needs to be part of a coherent coordination of other relevant policies relating to education and training, skills development, the labour market, social equity and broader development.”
(South African Qualifications Authority 2012: 26)
Since 2010, government has been working towards a vision of ensuring that “All citizens of all ages have access to quality career information and career development services throughout their lives so that they are able to make better and more informed career and life decisions that deliver high levels of employment and help to increase sustainable economic growth in the country” (Department of Higher Education and Training 2017: 11).
Relevant and quality career information in the country is not just a need but a human right as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act No. 108 of 1996) which states that “Every citizen has the right to choose their trade, occupation or profession freely”. Outcome 5 of the Government Programme of Action 2014–2019 is concerned with developing a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path. This further highlights the need for career development in building the economy of the country.
Through cooperation and input from the three spheres of government and the public sector, the National Policy for an Integrated Career Development System for South
Africa was developed and gazetted on 20 April 2017 (Vol. 622, No. 40795). The policy guides the implementation of a coordinated and integrated career development system across all spheres of government. In launching the policy on 28 June 2018 at the Annual Career Development Stakeholder Conference, the Minister of Higher Education and Training Mrs Naledi Pandor emphasised the importance of understanding the policy as a national policy with leadership provided across government.
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) provides leadership on the national coordination function and developing shared career development services technology platforms such as the National Career Advice
Portal (NCAP), the National Career Helpline, the Khetha Radio Programme and the Career-help website. Every government department and agency has a responsibility to coordinate and provide career development services in their respective sector. The same applies to the DHET for the Post-School Education and Training sector, over and above its national coordination function.
The Interdepartmental Career Development Committee is responsible for providing strategic input towards the effective coordination of career development services for government. It is composed of the departments of Basic Education, Labour, Social Development, Public Service and Administration, and Higher Education and Training.
To ensure the involvement of all stakeholders, the National Career Development Forum – a structure made up of the public service sector, private sector and civil society sector – has been established. The National Career Development Forum sub-structures are the Career Development Government Forum, Career Development Sector Education and Training Authorities Forum, and the National Consultative Forum.
The Khetha trademark is a common identity used through the Implementation Protocol Agreement within government and memorandum of agreement entered into between the DHET and other stakeholders. The policy advocates for the establishment of agreements to facilitate collaboration and synergy in the provision of career development services.
The professionalisation of career development services in the country warrants the establishment of a professional body. The DHET welcomes initiatives from interested parties that are keen to promote the vision of professionalising career development and ready to take the responsibility of a professional body to apply to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
In launching the policy, Minister Pandor emphasized that career development services as a lifelong learning process are critical for realising development of a capable workforce and an inclusive growth path for the country. As government, let us work together in support of the National Policy for an Integrated Career Development System for South Africa.
For more information, email Ms N Mfenyana at Mfenyana.N@dhet.gov.za or Ms T Jansen van Vuuren at Jansenvanvuuren.T@dhet.gov.za