Ewseta Skills Summit, Saldanha Bay, Protea Hotel, Saldanha Bay

Honourbale Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Mr Mduduzi Manana

The Executive Mayor, Mr Francois Shippers

The CEO of the Energy and Water SETA,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I must start off by thanking the Energy and Water SETA alongside the Department of Higher Education for extending an invite to us as the dti to be a part of this summit. Platforms of this nature that are organized around the need to foster multi-stakeholder dialogue on issues of development are amongst the things that we as a department hold in high regard.

In receiving the invitation to this session, it was correctly stated that the intention is to bring together stakeholders concerned about the state of skills development and training in our country and specifically in the West Coast. Additional to this was stated to be the need for these stakeholders to be willing to be part of the solution to the problems of skills development.

In the context of these objectives stated above, today’s summit is of particular interest to us in the context of the skills revolution that is required for the success of industrial development as outlined in our Industrial Action Policy Action Plan (IPAP).

The objectives of our industrial development is the creation of a labour-intensive economy that creates massive employment, achieves high growth rates and bridges the inequality gaps across the demographic outlines of our society.

Thus, the development of a skilled and highly capable labour force is amongst the key drivers of this process of industrial transformation. Our ambitions for industrial development recognize the need for the development of a skills base that embracies technological advances and modernization in industrial techniques.

This recognition includes the need to develop advanced skills in new technologies in line with the changes in technological instruments employed in various sectors of industry.

It is our view as the Department of Trade and Industry that industrial policy should be underpinned by the recognition for skills development as an indispensable part of industrial transformation. It is for this reason, for instance, that our new Black Industrialists Programme Policy Framework proposes skills development measures to be part of the outcomes-based requirements for government funding of private sector enterprises.

The simple implication of this policy initiative will be the systematic enforcement in more companies of the dictum that “every workplace should be a training ground”. This is directly related to the work that Training Authorities such as the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA) are seized with as part of the skills development strategy of our sister department, the DHET.

Amongst the sectors that the Black Industrialists Programme covers include energy co-generation. This is partly motivated by the topical conversation in South Africa today that concerns the production of sustainable energy sources into the future. Government has already indicated its strategy of an energy mix that will combine nuclear, solar, wind, hydro and other variants of renewable energy sources into the national grid.

In respect of your mandate as a training authority dealing specifically with energy and water affairs, I suppose you are better positioned to understand the technological skills requirements that will be generated by this government energy strategy.

Thus, you will be amongst the key drivers of conversations of how investments in the energy sectors by both government and industry should be structured in order to generate high employment in areas such as the West Coast.

Broadly speaking, all of this means that SETAs should act as linkages between the development plans of the state and the changing demands of industry as far as skills development is concerned. A successful economy is the one underpinned by industrial development plans that are accompanied by high investment in skills development.

In embracing the objectives of the summit, I want to make the point that the Department of Trade and Industry is amongst the partners that you can trust on seeking solutions to matters of skills development. Our Industrial Policy Action and Black Industrialists Policy Framework loudly recognise skills development as a key instrument in achieving industrial transformation and inclusive employment.

With those words, and on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry, I wish you a successful summit and again thank you for inviting us here today.

I thank you!

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