Industry backs Occupational Qualifications to support workplace occupations

A newly developed ground-breaking seven step approach to implement a Quality Dual Occupational Learning System in South Africa is being applauded by many players in the sector.

Jeánne Esterhuizen President of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation, operating in the automotive aftermarket sector consisting of around 20 000 employers and about 380 000 employees believes this innovative approach to Quality Assurance to drive occupational qualifications is just what the industry needs right now. “It supports inclusivity and embraces diversity in the South African context. It also links in to the objectives of National Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) the   Post School Education and Training (PSET) Implementation Plan, the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) and the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS 2030).”

“I must compliment the Quality Council for Trades and Occupation (QCTO), in particular, as the custodian of the Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework (OQSF), for this innovative approach. “Quality” is indeed a golden thread throughout the proposed steps.  The relevance of this framework for employers is that it speaks to workplace occupations of “value”. Even though the occupational qualifications delivery method is similar to what employers are familiar with, this offers a fresh approach to stimulate more interest in occupational qualifications and to ensure buy in to revised mainstreamed Quality assurance processes.”

Esterhuizen says the new system brings in much needed collaboration between local and international experts that will help shape a product that is more relevant for the changing needs of the industry.

Due to the economic crisis employers are now far more focused on solution driven approaches to Skills Development and Training initiatives than ever before. It is therefore necessary to align the implementation of Occupational Qualifications to best practice in the delivery methods of existing qualifications. “From a cost benefit perspective, artisan development within the occupational qualifications sub-framework should also be aligned to the existing Return on Investment calculator developed specifically for our Industry,” she says.

She believes the proposed Work Based Learning and Development Practitioner qualification will make a tangible difference to employers and add value to all stakeholders in the system.

“This is a journey and the level of participation and commitment of all stakeholders will determine how successful this initiative will be. In my experience successful collaboration can only happen when there are effective communication channels and an uncomplicated mechanism to evaluate performance of all role-players.

Industry needs simple practical processes and funding support, especially for SMMEs. We are also still in the precarious position that occupational qualifications are not yet attractive to young people in South Africa.”

She says to make the most impact, the QCTO needs to rope in Basic Education so that the desire of industry for well-trained and suitably qualified young people to fill critical occupations is clearly understood by school children.

In turn, industry must open up and offer workplaces as training spaces; must

identify suitable workplace mentors for occupational program learners including apprentices; participate in higher education institution structures such as Technical Vocational Education and Training colleges (TVET colleges), Universities, Universities of technologies’ committees, focus groups, and advisory boards and provide subject matter experts from industry when required.


“We look forward to the continuous involvement of Industry in this journey. Together we can make a difference in the lives of millions of South Africans,” she concludes.