Since its inception in 2001, SSACI has brought over R100-million to skills development for South African youths and provided apprenticeships, internships and practical work experience for thousands of trainees and college students. Our Activities, Partners, Outputs, Outcomes, Impact and Evalautions is briefly described below.
SSACI's main activities are:
- Providing policy and programmatic support to the Department of Higher Education and Trainining (DHET) and its related institutions, such as the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs)
- Initiating and managing technical and vocational training projects that lead unskilled, unemployed young people into skilled employment
SSACI’s implementation partners include government departments, TVET colleges, SETAs, universities, private-sector companies and NGOs.
SSACI’s work is funded by the Swiss and South African governments, foundations and private-sector companies.
SSACI’s portfolio of projects in support of the TVET system has produced many worthwhile outputs, including:
- Training of staff at all public TVET colleges in implementing workplace-based experience for student and the assessment of students during that experience
- Training at 28 public TVET colleges in the implementation of systematic workplace exposure for lecturers
- A “how-to” manual and accompanying students’ materials for the systematic implementation of students’ workplace-based experience (WBE) by colleges
- A lecturers’ guide to conducting continuous assessments during students’ workplace-based experience and accompanying students’ materials in several learning fields
- A guide to developing other college materials for workplace-based experience and assessment, with generic templates
- A handbook on college-industry partnerships
- A “how-to” manual implementing industry-based work-integrated learning for college lecturers
- A handbook on skills training of youths for employment
- Manuals on mentoring young entrepreneurs
- Numerous research reports on student workplace-based experience, assessment of students in the workplace, college-industry partnerships, the development of professional qualifications for lecturers, the state of artisan training in South Africa, the labour-market trajectories of apprentices and college graduates, and the state of entrepreneurship in South Africa
Outcomes of SSACI’s projects include:
- New national curricula for electricians, plumbers and welders
- New qualifications and/or training programmes in agriculture, construction, early childhood development, hospitality and tourism
- The implementation in all 50 public TVET colleges of workplace-based experience for students, albeit on different scales and to varying degrees of effectiveness
- Over 15’000 students in those colleges undergoing workplace-based experience annually; this number will increase exponentially each year as colleges expand their WBE programmes
- Over 300 companies/organisations regularly hosting college students for workplace-based experience
- The establishment of an inter-college learning forum to exchange insights and curricular improvements from implementing students’ workplace-based experience and lecturers’ workplace exposure
Examples of SSACI’s impact on the national skills development system are:
- The incorporation, since January 2012, of workplace-based experience into the DHET’s monitoring and evaluation system for all public TVET colleges
- The establishment in 2013 of a new, web-based national artisan database and tracking-system for apprentices, created entirely with SSACI funding and with technical inputs from SSACI
- The adoption by the DHET in 2013 of a new, standardized funding system for apprenticeships in all artisan trades, to which SSACI made important inputs
- The adoption by the DHET in 2015 of a new national policy on work-integrated learning at colleges, developed by SSACI
- Incorporation of training in the organisation and management of workplace-based experience into professional qualifications for TVET college lecturers
- The adoption by the DHET in 2016 of the principles of a dual-system approach to artisan training
SSACI has been evaluated several times by independent Swiss and South African researchers. All their reports were overwhelmingly favourable.
Key findings of all these evaluations are that SSACI has been a highly successful initiative and that:
- Training programmes and courses developed and/or implemented by SSACI help youths to improve their livelihoods, become more integrated into society and be more resilient to economic fluctuations
- Tracer studies show that these programmes result in high rates of wage-employment and self-employment, and, in the case of enterprise development projects, high numbers of new jobs created (i.e. jobs that did not exist before)
- SSACI has successfully developed and tested models for implementing workplace-based experience for college students and industry-based work-integrated learning for college lecturers, as well as new models of artisan training such as a ‘localised’ version of dual-system apprenticeships and accelerated apprenticeships
- SSACI’s work is relevant to, and is consistent with, national needs and priorities and has addressed a real need in enabling public TVET colleges to engage with industry
- SSACI has focused very systematically on experience-driven learning and has paid considerable attention to documenting and disseminating its learnings
- Overall, SSACI is influencing the national skills development system and SSACI itself changes in response to system change.