Cheerful Black woman with student against whiteboard. Representational Image.
Cheerful Black woman with student against whiteboard. Representational Image. Katerina Holmes/

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology of South Africa, Blade Nzimande praised the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) for advancing the country's skills development.

SETAs is considered as the backbone of South Africa's Skills Development framework. Established under the Skills Development Act of 1998, SETAs play a key role in facilitating skills development within specific economic sectors. Their main function is to contribute to the raising of skills, to bring skills to the employed, or those wanting to be employed, in their section.

Speaking at the SETA Skills Summit held in Boksburg, Gauteng on Wednesday, Nzimande said that the education department is proud of the overall strategic and policy direction, adding that "SETAs continue to play a crucial role in implementing and facilitating skills development within their respective sectors," SA News reported.

He highlighted that SETAs play a crucial role in addressing skills gaps, mismatches, boosting employment and improving productivity within their industries, thanks to their sector-specific focus and expertise.

The minister explained that "SETAs also play a crucial role in aligning training and development efforts with the needs of employers and the labor market, thus ensuring the development of a skilled and capable workforce that can become a catalyst for economic growth and development."

Nzimande said that the SETAs provide a key policy instrument such as the country's Master Skills Plan, the White Paper for Post School Education and Training, the National Skills Development Plan and the National Development Plan 2030.

He emphasized that these policy instruments are vital not only for enabling South Africa to establish and execute a coherent human resource development plan but also ensures a collaborative and sustainable approach to skills development.

The minister, however, is concerned that there are more than 3.3 million young people in South Africa aged between 15 and 24 who are not in employment, education and training and are unemployed.

Hence, he suggested that a collaborative approach will ensure "skills planning, funding, quality assurance, and monitoring, resulting in a skilled and competitive workforce that contributes to economic growth and social development."

The two-day SETA Skills Summit has been held under the theme of "Together, Skilling the Nation," aiming at providing an opportunity for the sector to reflect on its execution of the mandate of skills development.

During the event, the minister also urged SETAs to focus on infrastructure development for the provision of service delivery, a significant reduction in unemployment including graduates, sustainable entrepreneurship and cooperatives that promote self-employment and fundamental rural development.