The Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Mr Buti Manamela, rolled out the Decade of the Artisan advocacy campaign over two days in Cape Town in the Western Cape Province on the 3rd and 4th October 2019. With the support of merSETA, the event was hosted by False Bay TVET College, at the Westlake Campus, which is renowned for its engineering programme offerings.
A back-to-back programme; on day one, the Deputy Minister met with employers in a bid to further encourage them to partner with TVET Colleges in the region, as well as to avail their workplaces as training spaces for artisan learners and for lecturers. Addressing an audience of nearly 70 industry members, the Deputy Minister said, “There is no apprentice, without workplaces”, driving home the value of the industry advocacy and participation.
On the second day, a minimum of 1200 learners from local high schools were addressed by the Deputy Minister under the theme ‘it’s cool to be a 21st century artisan’. In his address he spoke to the shift in mind-sets that office work was the measure of success. “We need plumbers and electricians who will help us build our country!” Advocating for TVET as a first choice, “Some of our TVET colleges are offerings future skills like Robotics, Mechatronics and 3D Printing”, driving home the message that TVET is current and able to service a changing economy.
The leaners were exposed to a try-a-skill exhibition, SETAs, and other exhibitors. Entertained by the iconic Ready D and his Drift Squad, learners were rallied up for a day of learning and motivated to consider artisanship as a career of choice in the 21st Century. Special demonstrations were completed by the South African Police Services Dog Units and St Johns Ambulance Services to add to the learner’s experience.
A parallel session running on day two saw the College host about 120 Life-Orientation (LO) teachers, Community Development Workers (CDWs) and Student Support Services Officers for Artisan Ambassadors Training. Equipping participants with the technical knowledge to start promoting artisanship as a career in their respective schools and communities they operate within.
The Decade of the Artisan campaign came to fruition as a result of the lack of qualified artisans in the country to sustain industries and support economic growth. Raising to the challenge, the DHET Ministry prioritised the creation of awareness pertinent to artisan trades and skills development among school learners. The Decade of the Artisan (DOA) commenced in 2014, making this its commemorative 5th milestone year.