Article by Jessie Sarrahwitz Figg on the Dual System Pilot Project currently in progress in Port Elizabeth


By Jessie Sarrahwitz Figg, Deputy Principal Academic: PE TVET College

 The skills demand in South Africa:

The South African economy is characterised by shortages for high-skilled jobs and high levels of unemployment for those with lower levels of education and training. The most vulnerable sector is the Electricity, Gas and Water Sector, where 15% of the workforce is between the ages of 55 and 64 years. Research points to a demand for certain types of trade occupations (for example, electrical and electronic trade workers and metal machinery workers). South Africa must develop strategies to facilitate the expansion of on-the-job training for trade occupations. A significant proportion of trades can be developed through on-the-job training initiatives.

The Dual System Pilot Project supported by the German Federation and the Institute of Plumbers South Africa (IOPSA):

Port Elizabeth TVET College is one of four TVET Colleges that will train 25 electricians and 25 plumbers for the 21st Century. The Dual System Pilot Project, initiated and financially supported by the Department of Higher Education and Training and the National Skills Fund, is an innovative training initiative.

This project is further supported by GIZ (Deutse Gesellschaft fur Internatinale) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. GIZ is bringing in capacity development support as well as best practices and expertise on the dual system from Germany.

This dual system will provide apprentices with real-life work experiences. The theory they learn at college is reinforced by the practice at work. The apprentices will also learn work habits, responsibility and the culture of the company.

The role of IOPSA:

The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) is supportive of the Dual System Pilot Project at PE TVET College. IOPSA will support the development of the curriculum and the practical skills.

The role of Swiss South African Cooperation Initiative (SACCI):

SACCI will be the lead employer for the Electrical and Plumbing apprentices. SACCI will facilitate the signing of workplace-based learning agreements, monitor the apprentices’ progress through the training schedule and arrange trade test dates. The lead employer will manage the payroll administration.

Host employers:

Apprentices will be placed at host companies situated in Nelson Mandela Bay. Apprentices will first complete a variety of tests, such as foundational learning assessments on numeracy and literacy, medicals (e.g. colour blindness, fear of heights, etc) and a suitability test before being placed at a host company. Throughout the three-year programme the apprentices will rotate between the college and company in order to provide them with integrated training in the theory and practice of the specific trade. PE TVET College will engage regularly with host companies so as to ensure that training is aligned with company standards.

Managing the Dual System Pilot Project:

The pilot project will be managed by a project manager, who will liaise with host employers during project meetings. Highly qualified and experienced lecturers will mentor the apprentices and teach the curriculum. Training will be based on the new curriculum revised by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations.

The management at PE TVET College supports the dual pilot project because our objective is to produce skilled apprentices with flexible qualification who are mobile and capable of working in their chosen fields.

About the author: Jessie Sarrahwitz Figg is passionate about education and the education of young people in South Africa. She is a true academic with a Secondary Education Diploma, an Advanced Certificate in Education Management and an honours degree in Education Management from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Her Master’s degree focuses on developing a training model to address the scarce skills in the South African labour market.


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