In May 2014, King Sabata Dalindyebo College became the 50th TVET College to be trained to implement SSACI’s approach to workplace-based experience (WBE) for students. Participants at King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) found the workshop to be an eye-opener and were keen to implement the structured programme at their campuses.


Our experience has shown that most lecturers, who attended the SSACI training, are   initially resistant to WBE. Over time, the training brought about a positive change in attitude and the lecturers from KSD were no exception.  As a participant at the final workshop said, "I will implement what I have learned in this workshop at management level."

Work experience for students became a reported component of college operations in 2011. KSD lecturers stated that only on completion of the SSACI training could they confidently speak of WBE and engage with the DHET requirements for this.

WBE is the first of several interventions started by SSACI in 2008 toward improving students’ pass rates in the NC (V) programmes and preparing them for the workplace. The experience and lessons learned by SSACI, through the pilot phase from 2008 – 2010, formed the basis for the development of a guiding manual on managing and implementing WBE.  Many participants have provided positive feedback on the manual and have commented that it was 'logical, systematic, informative' and 'easy to follow'

In 2009, still under the auspices of the DoE the project was extended, from the initial four, to ten colleges.  After the 2009 elections the government established the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) whose mandate also included the FET colleges. SSACI’s collaboration continued with the new department and by 2013 forty eight (48) of the fifty (50) colleges had received training. This has resulted in thousands of students enjoying short periods of workplace experience.  

In addition to placing students, colleges were encouraged to find ways to integrate the NC (V) curriculum with activities of the workplace. For SSACI WBE was not only about placing students, it was about the complete and seamless integration of the curriculum with workplace learning.  It was envisaged that the engagement in WBE would lead to lecturers teaching more effectively and feedback received to date confirms this positive change.  Ongoing monitoring of this new integrated approach, which involves WBE, has shown that the results of participating students are comparatively better than those students who did not have any industry experience.

Forming sustainable partnerships with industry was another key component of the WBE project.  College engagement with business had declined over the years and the aim was to revive it so that colleges remained in touch with new developments in technology and were able to improve prospects of employment for their students. Research into the project has shown that college relationships with industry have improved as a result of the project.  

SSACI's WBE model offers a developed approach which clearly explains what needs to be done and when implemented yields lasting dividends for colleges.

The current draft Work-integrated Learning (WIL) framework for TVET colleges aims to set a standard for colleges and is based on lessons learnt from WBE between 2011 and 2013. The DHET commissioned SSACI to develop the WIL framework in 2013. DHET views the WIL framework as a necessary driver toward supporting all colleges that are in varying phases of implementing WBE.

The next phase for colleges is to integrate WBE into the curriculum by ensuring that it is assessed.   This year SSACI in partnership with DHET engaged 31 colleges which will assess WBE as a formal component of Internal and Continuous Assessment portfolios (ICASS).

Ultimately it is hoped that all colleges actively engaged in WBE will deliver a relevant curriculum which is responsive to the education and skills needs of industry. This will set them on a journey towards excellence.