The merSETA 2017/18 An­nual Re­port Sum­mary

Pretoria News - - World -

Process tech­nol­ogy will be af­fected by the rise of ma­chine-learn­ing and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, and au­to­ma­tion is likely to ac­cel­er­ate. Given the coun­try’s pro­duc­ers’ reliance on a large, low-skilled work­force, these job cat­e­gories will be­come in­creas­ingly vul­ner­a­ble to dis­rup­tion, and even dis­place­ment.

Up-skilling, re-skilling as well as multi-skilling of the cur­rent work force is re­quired to keep pace with the de­mands of a tech­no­log­i­cally dis­rup­tive in­dus­try and to cur­tail fur­ther job losses.

In ad­di­tion, work­ers need to be equipped with skills that al­low agility in an ever chang­ing labour mar­ket. This em­pha­sises the im­por­tance of life­long learn­ing in a chang­ing world.

To this end, the merSETA is work­ing on im­prov­ing its tech­no­log­i­cal in­ter­face with train­ing providers, ap­pren­tices and learn­ers, de­vel­op­ing a tool to as­sist learn­ers to track their progress and achieve­ments through the ap­pren­tice­ship pro­gramme and mak­ing the ap­pren­tice­ship ex­pe­ri­ence more em­pow­er­ing and mean­ing­ful for tech-savvy youth. The merSETA Levy in­come in­creased by 6% over the prior year, be­ing 2% above a con­ser­va­tive bud­geted in­crease of 4%. Penal­ties and in­ter­est on skills de­vel­op­ment levy in­come have in­creased by 19% com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year. The in­crease in penal­ties and in­ter­est could be re­flec­tive of South Africa’s tough eco­nomic cli­mate.

Bank bal­ances and fixed no­tice de­posits com­prise cash and cash equiv­a­lents held by merSETA on a short -term ba­sis. These in­vest­ments are for 12 months or less, bar one in­vest­ment of R100 mil­lion which has been in­vested for 24 months.

Monthly manda­tory grant payments were made through­out the year. The manda­tory grant claims ra­tio dropped from 74.2% in 2016/17 to 70.2% in 2017/18.

Dis­burse­ments of dis­cre­tionary grants and projects have de­creased by 2.3% from the pre­vi­ous year, drop­ping from R754 mil­lion in 2016/17 to R736 mil­lion in 2017/18. The merSETA has been con­sis­tently driv­ing its dis­cre­tionary grant mile­stones. The dis­cre­tionary grant re­serves of R3 002 mil­lion are 74% com­mit­ted to multi-year learn­er­ships, ap­pren­tice­ships and projects stretch­ing over an aver­age pe­riod of four years. Dis­burse­ments of dis­cre­tionary grant funds ac­count for a min­i­mum of 49.5%. The dis­cre­tionary grant is in­tended to sup­port the train­ing of learn­ers and ap­pren­tices and also to un­der­take spe­cial projects that ad­dress crit­i­cal sec­tor needs and strate­gic pri­or­i­ties as out­lined in the strate­gic plan and an­nual per­for­mance plan.

A to­tal of 4 057 com­pa­nies were suc­cess­fully ap­proved for manda­tory grants, com­pared to 4 005 in 2015/16. This re­sulted in a claims ra­tio of 74.2% for the year un­der re­view com­pared to 73.7% in the pre­vi­ous year.

Com­pa­nies that fail to ad­here to the terms of the signed MoA are re­quested ei­ther to ef­fect re­me­dial ac­tion or to re­fund the por­tion of dis­cre­tionary grant funds paid to them.

The merSETA is proud to an­nounce a num­ber of part­ner­ships with var­i­ous non-levy pay­ing en­ti­ties el­i­gi­ble for dis­cre­tionary grant fund­ing that were en­tered into in the past fi­nan­cial year:

These in­cluded; _on 625 skills pro­grammes in the North­ern Cape, Gaut­eng, East­ern Cape _and Kwa-Zulu Natal); _the Cen­tral Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, Nel­son Man­dela Met­ro­pol­i­tan _Univer­sity, Tsh­wane Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, Uni­ver­sity of Cape Town, _Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg, Vaal Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, Wits _Univer­sity, Cape Penin­sula Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, Uni­ver­sity of _Pre­to­ria and NSFAS; _s­ta­tus. This project fo­cuses on the Motheo, North­link, North­ern Cape _Ur­ban, North­ern Cape Ru­ral, Or­bit, Sed­ibeng, Boland, Capricorn, Coastal _Kwa-Zulu Natal, Ekurhu­leni East, Water­berg and West Coast Col­lege _TVETs; _will train 64 learn­ers on learn­er­ships, 155 learn­ers on skills pro­grammes, _200 ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ers, 170 learn­ers on in­tern­ship pro­grammes and 100 _learn­ers on ap­pren­tice­ships; and _Depart­ment to train 595 ap­pren­tices, in­clud­ing trade-re­lated learn­er­ships _and the Chi­nese Gov­ern­ment to train 200 ex­pe­ri­en­tial and in­tern­ship _learn­ers. As the man­u­fac­tur­ing world won­ders on the im­pact of In­dus­try 4.0, the vo­ca­tional and skills de­vel­op­ment train­ing spheres are lag­ging be­hind. That there will be labour mar­ket tran­si­tions which will de­mand train­ing and re­train­ing is cer­tain. Life­long learn­ing is a fait ac­com­pli for both young and old. This will lead to more rapid oc­cu­pa­tional mo­bil­ity be­tween dif­fer­ent sec­tors of the econ­omy.

Skills mis­matches be­tween labour de­mand and sup­ply will be­come a thing of the past as the de­mand for spe­cialised knowl­edge grows at faster paces. The TVET land­scape will change dra­mat­i­cally with in­dus­try de­mand be­ing the ar­biter of the cur­ric­ula and the knowl­edge level of stu­dent/labour out­put. In­dus­try will sub­sidise those in­sti­tu­tions that are able to keep abreast of In­dus­try 4.0, to the detri­ment of lag­ging in­sti­tu­tions. This would need pol­icy in­ter­ven­tions in South Africa.

The so­cial im­pact of the tech­no­log­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion is heart-warm­ing.

The merSETA sec­tors will need to work ever closer with the or­gan­i­sa­tion to max­imise this new in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion.

The merSETA is well-placed to un­lock and an­a­lyse the in­ter­con­nected web of con­tex­tual fac­tors that im­pact on skills.

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