Fri, May 27, 2022
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Training programme launched to benefit 8000 unemployed

Pretoria – The Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant has announced a R300 million training programme that will benefit 8000 unemployed people and youths.

The training programme will be funded by the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Setas, and will also involve the Departments of Public Works, Higher Education and Training and Human Settlements.

The immediate beneficiaries of the programme will be those youths and unemployed people who registered on the department’s match-making platform, the Employment Services for South Africa (Essa) at the recent Jobs Fairs held by the department.

The minister, briefing media at the launch of the training programme in Pretoria on Tuesday, said learners will receive training in various fields, including motor mechanics, instrument mechanician, fitter and turners and diesel mechanics.

The chemical industries education and training authority (CHIETA) is expected to train 1500 learners at a cost of R100 million, the tourism, hospitality and sport, education and training authority (THETA) will train 777 learners in aviation-related fields at a cost of R47 million and the construction education and training authority (CETA) and the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA) will train 200 learners in plumbing and renewable energy skills at a cost of R3.6 million.

Oliphant said a further 100 learners will receive training in the scuba diving- related field at a cost of R6 million and 500 more learners will be trained as seafarers.

The department has also extended its own commitment to skills development to the Department of Human Settlements to train 1800 youth on a variety of construction skills. The Department of Public Works will also train 900 learners in the same construction-related field at a cost of R16 million.

A further 2000 youths will be trained in ICT and marketing skills to assist the UIF to market the uFiling system to both employers and employees.

It is imperative that workers’ skills be improved, said the minister.

“The more people we train, the more likely that they will gain the necessary skills and secure employment therefore rely less on UIF benefits and other social services,” Oliphant said. –

Working with South Africa’s employment services employers’ experiences

A study on employers’ experiences and attitudes to the Employment Services of South Africa (ESSA) recommends the introduction of a far more sophisticated online ESSA platform and better coordination with the Department of Labour, writes Fabian Arends.

Public employment services (PES) represent key labour market policy instruments that governments all over the world use to facilitate employment. Their core function is to match job seekers with employers by facilitating access to and information sharing between organisations with vacancies and people seeking gainful employment.

In South Africa, the Employment Services of South Africa (ESSA) have been designed to play this vital intermediary role.

In a recent study, we analysed a survey which canvassed employers’ attitudes to, interactions with and experiences of ESSA. The survey was supplemented by interviews with managers of ESSA labour centres and a brief desktop study to place the South African experience in an international context.

Employers’ use and perceptions of ESSA

In terms of the scale of use, a number of salient results emerged from our survey. For recruitment purposes, employers use ESSA as one of several channels, ranging from the formal to the informal.

A slight majority of respondents (50.6%) do not post all their vacancies on ESSA. Employers also perceive ESSA to be mainly a source of information about intermediate and low-skilled workers. Public entities, which are required to list all their vacancies on ESSA, predominantly need to recruit high and intermediate-skilled workers, but ESSA has limited capacity to respond to this need, as the majority of work seekers are at intermediate and low-skilled levels.

In terms of the effectiveness of job matches, we observed that the majority (56%) of successful matches made through ESSA result in long-term placements.

In terms of employer perceptions of future improvements, employers who participated in the survey were accustomed to accessing ESSA services online via labour centres. However, employers signalled the need to improve the system through assisting work seekers to prepare for job searches and interviews. According to the employers, this can be achieved through programmes to improve employability, and by screening of candidates.

These trends lead us to explore how these patterns of employer behaviour impact on the quality of ESSA’s administrative data and, by extension, its utility for skills planning.

Value of employment services for skills planning

Our research suggests that the ESSA system should remain committed to low-skilled worker hires. The system already has a preponderance of low-skilled vacancy registrations and work seekers, and has proven less effective in addressing medium or high-skilled vacancies. A focus on job placements for those who are most vulnerable is a critical role for ESSA.
If ESSA generates quality data in this regard, it can inform skills planning for the unemployed — a dimension that is often neglected in favour of a focus on forecasting, shortages, scarce and critical skills.

To ensure more effective data, the introduction of a far more sophisticated online ESSA platform is highly desirable. Many ESSA clients have access to the technology necessary to utilise such a system, which could also create substantial savings in transaction costs while improving the ability to monitor employment data.

It is however, important to note that many potential users do not have access to computers, and few labour centres have their own workstations that clients can use. It is critical, therefore, that information generated at labour centres is captured electronically on the ESSA electronic platform.

This will ensure the consistency, accuracy and validity of labour market information generated through the ESSA platform.

Greater coordination with the DoL is also desirable. Cooperation between DoL and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) institutions would add value to ESSA services. Areas for cooperation could include a shared strategy for the ESSA system, and plans for the sharing of employment data generated through ESSA, which could help to identify appropriate target groups for skills upgrading.

Finally, ongoing research on ESSA trends would be valuable. Future research should monitor changes in the employers who use ESSA, their employment needs and their opinions on services rendered.

Going forward

Public employment services such as ESSA should generate potentially valuable and relevant administrative information about labour market demand and supply that can be used for skills planning. The quality of service that ESSA offers depends on the integrity of the captured data. Ideally, high-quality service and data will improve rates of matching which will, in turn, attract increased employer and worker participation consequently improving national skills-planning capacities.

Authors: Fabian Arends, senior research manager, Education and Skills Development (ESD) research programme, HSRC.

The full report, Fabian Arends, Sybil Chabane, Andrew Paterson (2015) Investigating Employer Interaction with the Employment Services of South Africa (ESSA), is available


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