Wed, May 18, 2022

Scarce skills lists tell you where job opportunities are. If you see a job that you like and it’s a scarce skill – find training for it. SETAs usually provide funds to businesses and training organisations to develop these skills.

Careers in Fibre-Processing and Manufacturing sectors

This article is written to encourage those looking for opportunity to explore the role of the FPM SETA for careers in Fibre-Processing and Manufacturing sector.

The FPM SETA website link is one of the least clicked SETA links on this blog, to me this indicates a lack of awareness or understanding of what this sector is and what it has to offer.

Let’s see if this article gets you interested! 🙂

The Fibre Processing and Manufacturing (FP&M) SETA was established on 1 April 2011.

In order to focus your attention to where the precise job and career development opportunities lay, you must understand how skill shortages are defined. Skill shortages are common in countries where their are poverty and technology challenges. If you develop skills that are scarce – you are more competitive when you look for work. Scarce skills often have higher wages at first, then start to decline as the pool of skills grows larger.

Scarce, critical and relative scarce skills are terms that a smart job seeker will get on top of.

The FP&M SETA have defined the following:

Scarce Skill: An absolute or relative demand (current or future); for skilled/qualified and experienced people to fill particular roles/professions, occupations / specialisations in the labour market and is measured in terms of an occupation or specific qualification.

Critical Skill: particular capabilities needed within an occupation, e.g. general management skills, communication and customer handling skills, team-work skills, communication technology skills, etc.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) defines the terms of absolute and relative scarcity of skills as follows:

Absolute scarcity – suitably skilled persons not available in the labour market.

Examples where absolute scarcities may arise include:

  • A new or emerging occupation;
  • Firms / Government / national economy are unable to implement planned growth strategies; and
  • Replacement demand reflects an absolute scarcity

Relative scarcity – suitably skilled people are available in the labour market but do not meet other employment criteria,

For example:

  • High-level work experience, e.g. project management of large manufacturing sites etc.
  • Geographical location, e.g. people unwilling to work outside of urban areas; and
  • Equity considerations, e.g. Few/if any candidates with the requisite skills from specific groups available to meet the skills requirements of firms and enterprises (Department of Labour – DoL, 2006c).


FPM SETA Sectors

The FPM sector is broad and includes Primary, Secondary and Tertiary sectors. This means that jobs range from those who like working with raw products to factory production …and more!

 The FP&M SETA consists of 13 sub-sectors

  • clothing
  • footwear
  • forestry
  • furniture
  • general goods
  • leather
  • packaging
  • printing
  • print media
  • publishing
  • pulp and paper
  • textiles and
  • wood products sectors.

These sectors are closely integrated as they collectively convert lumber, pulp, natural or synthetic fibres, animal skins/hides into finished products such as furniture, clothing, shoes, protective equipment, paper and paper board, printing (books, magazines, etc), industrial fabrics and extending into high-tech applications in many different industries (automotive, health and building construction to name a few).

The products that these sectors create impact on, and add quality to our lives in many ways.

Manufacturing Process in the FP&M Sector

Manufacturing is exciting. You are part of a big intricate process of machinery. You will see production on a large scale, often where goods start being planned years in advance.

Many of the key professional and artisan skills in the sector are in short supply both nationally and internationally…

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