Creating opportunities for our young people is a critical priority for the Western Cape Government.
That is why three of our seven Game Changers are dedicated to improving the lives of youth, namely the Apprenticeship, eLearning and After School Game Changers.
The Apprenticeship Game Changer aims to leverage the power of work-based learning through apprenticeships to provide people with the skills they need to succeed in life.
We know that low skill levels and a lack of experience are the primary causes of unemployment amongst our youth.
The main contributors to skills shortages in key sectors of our economy include:
- Poor maths and science pass rates at schools;
- A lack of awareness of scarce skills and related employment opportunities;
- Learners preferring to enrol at universities, which are viewed as superior to technical colleges;
- Negative perceptions of the status of artisans; and
- A shortage of funding and workplace based learning opportunities.
We believe that Apprenticeships are critical in addressing these skills shortages.
Apprentices under our game changer include artisans, semi-skilled workers who achieve partial qualifications, and top-up qualifications for existing artisans and semi-skilled workers.
Our focus is ensuring that we have sufficiently qualified technical and vocational skilled young people to supply the needs of the province’s five prioritised economic sectors, namely tourism, oil and gas, agri-processing, renewable energy and ICT.
We have identified over 100 occupations that are high in-demand across these five sectors.
These are not limited to artisan jobs and include: electricians, food technologists, architects, civil engineers, conservationists, software developers, graphic designers, electronics engineers, boat builders, plumbers, riggers, chefs, tour guides, concierges, fitters and turners and water quality technologists.
Young people can pursue Apprenticeships in any of these occupations.
In order to ensure our skill supply meets this demand we are focusing on
- significantly increasing the number of quality learners who are attracted to technical and vocational qualifications; and
- employers significantly increasing the intake of workplace-based learners
Our game changer is currently focused on providing academic support to learners in our 23 Technical Schools and 50 Maths and Science Schools in the province, with a particular focus on Maths. We are also using eLearning as a means of providing maths tutorship in these schools.
Changing the perceptions of learners, and their parents, when it comes to technical and vocational occupations is critical if we want to achieve the targets under our game changer.
We need to change the perception that getting a university degree is the only way you can succeed in life.
In fact, Apprenticeships offer a range of benefits not offered by studying at a university including:
- Working in a real job for a real employer
- Gaining valuable work place skills and experience
- Earning an income while studying
- Achieving a qualification
- Getting support and mentoring from skilled people one works with
- Becoming more employable because of the work experience gained
We have therefore launched a career awareness campaign to inform learners (and their parents) about the many opportunities available in technical and vocational occupations in the province.
As part of this campaign, we have also developed a toolkit for Life Orientation educators, which is focused on apprenticeships and technical and vocational career paths, and which can be used to augment their Career Awareness lessons. The toolkits will be rolled out at our 23 Technical Schools and 50 Maths and Science Schools first and will then be distributed more widely.
Apprenticeships have proven to have a significant impact on reducing youth unemployment in other countries. We need educators to assist us in shifting the negative perceptions learners have when it comes to studying at TVET colleges and pursuing a career in a technical and vocational fields.
To find out more about the high in-demand occupations in the Western Cape visit www.westerncape.gov.za/apprenticeship-career-awareness