TInteract Media spoke to Mandisa Nyathikazi
Tell us about ATI and your role?
ATI has 35 plus years of experience offering quality technical training in South Africa with the institute training around 1, 200 to 1, 400 learners per annum.
Executive director… Foundation
Working with the private sector, ATI has already graduated 5,174 young learners through these programmes. An impressive 90% of these donor-funded learners have obtained employment by the end of their apprenticeships.
Could you give me a bit of background about yourself? How and why did you get involved in skills development?
I qualified in education psychology and before and joined the Artisan Training Institute (ATI) in 2007 as a 66% shareholder in the business. Training and the development of people has always been an interest but not necessarily in the technical sphere. Previously I worked in the corporate sector, also related to training but more on human development.
My passion is developing people and improving lives. When I started studying I was always seeing the development from a young age, I didn’t get a gist of what I want to do, so how you do allow a child to thrive in a way that will fall into a career that is suitable for them. So instead of saying we were brought up in a time when there were limited career paths, if you couldn’t be lawyer or a doctor or at least a nurse or teacher, but when it was time for varsity I wasn’t sure what I was good at – where do you go… as I started working I realised, it’s more than just that, I enjoy people develop and thriving and you’re happy to wake up.
What current legislative issues affect the training landscape?
The Minister of Higher Education and Training has announced changes to the ARPL (Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning) process, the first of which are for Motor and Diesel Mechanics. These changes will come into effect on 19 October so the AA is offering MIWA members a 50% discount on standard rates for ARPL candidates before this date.
Why is skills development so important in South Africa?
Skills development is vital in South Africa in that it enables us in creating upward mobility for young people in their careers. It allows us to broaden the talent pool and create value for our economy and address youth unemployment by creating sustainable employment.
What is your hopes & dreams for South African artisan skills in the next 10 years? Where is skills development heading?
My hopes and dreams for South African artisan skills is that it is not looked at as the second option but instead as a first option for school leavers.
For schools to see it as a viable career regardless of what the students’ grades are. Skills development is moving with the emerging technologies that drive the trades to high levels and moving into more advanced technologies. These technologies we are beginning to witness in fault finding and diagnostics. We also will see more sophisticated electronics emerging. Some of the medium to small businesses will probably begin to narrow their focus on their skills training cost as well.
I believe as long as skills development is seen as a significant contributor to the economy, this will bring the pride of being an artisan back to the human race.
What are the biggest skills shortages in the building, construction & quarrying sector?
It varies, you would find that in one year from the next we churn
out certain numbers that mining would need, but then all of a sudden another
It varies on the needs of the economy.
I noticed, electrical and motor-diesel skills seemed to be jampacked – but that’s not a reflection of the economy.
We might say there’s a shortage of riggers this year, people are holding back and they’ve acquired that skills.
How many artisans do you train annually that could support the building, construction & quarrying sector?
Looking at the work of ATI, how do you prepare young artisans to enter the building, construction & quarrying sector?
Quarrying specifically present opportunities for skills growth & development - what are the biggest challenges faced by quarry operators to supply the industry of building materials?
Are there any new initiatives that you are busy with at ATI that drives skills development in the industry?
Together with Harambee and the National Tooling Initiative we are forging a partnership to drive pathways for job creation relating to installation, repair and maintenance (IRM). We believe that industry, private and public infrastructure requires these skills on a perpetual basis. This initiative will also further the objectives relating to the development of the township economy; a relatively new concept.
ARPL?? Artisanal recognised prior learning programme – wetenskap en wiskunde; entry requirements – ATI minimum requirements for a trade; if you have enough work experience dan kompenseer die werkservaring daarvoor – experience counteract that you don’t meet the admission requirements. Nuwe proses; SETA; portfolio of evidence geevalueer – panel approves, and then can you study this trade; blameer die training institute omdat dit so lank neem;
The process for the trade is taking long – the hold up is not on their side; they have to
SETA has changed the process and it now requires to submit a portfolio of evidence and the process takes 3-6 months…
We don’t work in those sectors. We train mainly for mining sector and manufacturing. The wet trades we don’t train in… With that it’s monkey see is monkey do; getting a qualified person, the qualified person would show you how to do it and then you become an expert.
Mechanical and engineering trades – diesel mechanics, earthmoving mechanics, rigging, welders, electricians,
You would need a rigger
We haven’t explored that sector for training but when you build are still artisans, but you need those people…
In terms of infrastructure you need… Ons doen elektries en nie staal… Watse probleme?