TVET for Employment

Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) for unemployed young South Africans is the largest component of SSACI’s operations, accounting for about two-thirds of our expenditure. It is the mainstay of our efforts to address the critical problem of youth unemployment.

It is clear to us that only government has the mandate and the resources to address the problem on a national scale. Therefore our projects are designed to work with and within government agencies and agencies responsible for implementing the public skills development system, and hopefully enable them to deliver more effectively.

SSACI also recognises that, to lead to employment, skills training must closely align with the current needs of industry. Therefore SSACI also endeavours to forge constructive linkages between our public and private partners.

Enterprise Development

Given that there are not enough existing jobs to absorb the annual flow of school-leavers into the labour-market, the creation of new jobs through enterprise-development is a pressing national priority. Small enterprises have great potential for job creation because they are the most rapidly-growing sector of the economy and show a higher rate of growth in employment than medium and large enterprises. SSACI therefore views small enterprise-development as an essential part of its overall strategy for getting young people into gainful employment.

Initially, SSACI focused on start-up training for aspiring young entrepreneurs and the provision of business development services to individual enterprises. However, from mid-2008 onwards, SSACI began to shift away from this strategy as research in SA and elsewhere, as well as our own experience, suggested that these were not cost-effective or sustainable interventions. SSACI is now exploring different approaches to enterprise development, such as the promotion of new industries, markets or supply chains.


SSACI commissions or conducts applied research into specific questions pertaining to our TVET or enterprise-development programmes.


SSACI conducts its activities through projects, of which over 50 have been implemented since our inception in 2001. All our projects have the potential to be scaled up by the public system and some are already being so.

SSACI prefers to initiate and manage projects itself, although a small number of unsolicited project proposals from other organisations are also accepted for SSACI support.

SSACI’s implementation partners include South African government departments, public Further Education and Training colleges, Sector Education and Training Authorities, universities and NGOs.

Current Projects

SSACI's projects are mainly aimed at supporting the two main elements of the national, public skills development system, namely the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges and apprenticeships. In the diagram below, these elements are shown in blue and SSACI's projects in green

Important common characteristics of SSACI’s projects are that they:

• Align with government priorities, as outlined in three key public documents: the National Skills Development Strategy for 2011-2015, the National Skills Accord and the Green Paper on Post-School Education and Training, 2012-2030
• Are co-implemented with, and co-funded by, government departments (e.g. DHET) or parastatal agencies (e.g. SETAs)
• Therefore, have high potential for systemic impact (i.e. for improving the whole of the national skills-development system) and sustainability beyond the period of SSACI funding