Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Nzimande has urged school levers to join the program to train and employ artisans he and his ministry are setting up. Speaking at a local event last week, the minister highlighted the major shortage of artisans in the country. He spoke about the importance of encouraging all school-leavers to pursue technical trades. The goal of the program is to produce and employ up to 30 000 artisans per year in South Africa.
“South Africa needs at least 60% of school leavers to pursue artisanal type training to meet the country’s demand for scarce skills. We honestly need to do more to encourage school leavers to pursue technical trades” Minister Nzimande.
The minister stated that with the digital revolution in the world introducing technologies like artificial intelligence causing disruption in the industry, most jobs might cease to exist leaving many people unemployed. However, the minister highlighted that there will always be jobs for artisans due to the skillsets they offer, machines will always break down and will need to be fixed.
Nzimande highlighted that the artisan trade can open you up to many opportunities in other fields. He stated that a job as an artisan can lead you to a world of business and entrepreneurship.
Technical jobs have always found their way on the list of in-demand skillset in South Africa. Most people shun these blue-collar jobs for white-collar office jobs which seem more traditional and appropriate to society. However, there is a misconception about technical jobs that you get low wages and less prestige, all this which is untrue. In actuality artisans in South Africa earn much more than most jobs in the country with an average salary of up to R 420 000 per year. We can compare this to the average salary of a sales representative who has an average salary of R 240 000 per year.
The list of the jobs that have been on the critical skills list every year include:
• Panel Beaters.
In support of this push for more artisans, Nzimande stated that the government has increased the Apprenticeship Learner Grant to R206,290 from R165,000 in 2021. This effort is to encourage employers who have apprenticeship programs to take in more candidates in their companies.
The minister also highlighted the shortcomings of the South African educational system, stating that there is a small percentage of students who make it to university. Nzimande stated that out of 100 students who start school in the first grade only 12 students make it to college or university. The minister stated the need to cater to those who get lost in the system and never make it to university, hence the restructuring of this Apprentice program and the introduction of the training programme.