As a SETA dealing with various economic stakeholders, collaboration is central to the Services SETA’s skills development strategy. This is born out of the realisation that demand outstrips supply, requiring the formation of strategic partnerships to increase skills development opportunities and reach. To drive this corporate ethos, the Services SETA has established a Strategic Partnerships & Collaboration department to ensure the alignment of skills development interventions with this overarching goal.
To this end, the Services SETA has identified bursaries; the SME; entrepreneurship and cooperative development (ECD) initiative; and infrastructure development as key levers. In addition, special projects are initiated through this department to drive the mandate.
Accreditation of Skills Development Providers
The cost of higher education in South Africa is prohibitive as many learners can ill afford it. The missing middle is the hardest hit. These are learners whose parents do not earn more than the capped qualifying amount but at the same time, earn far less than required to afford the university tuition fees.
To address this anomaly, the Services SETA has sought to focus on the following bursary categories:
- Bursaries for the unemployed with funding directed to the “missing middle” in their final year of study, thereby assisting them in settling the amount owed to universities and enabling them to access their certificates upon completion;
- Bursaries for the employed to support the services sector on identified scarce and critical skills;
- Bursaries for the employed targeting small and medium enterprises; and
- Bursary funding for Technical Vocational Education and CET College lecturers.
This is in addition to building capacity in the TVET system – infrastructure support and lecturers’ development.
Entrepreneurship and Cooperatives Development
The services sector comprises a high number of SMEs in the informal sector. The Services SETA aims to cater to this sector’s needs through the Entrepreneurship and Cooperatives Development (ECD) initiative.
In its approach, the Services SETA has taken into account access challenges and sought do devise ways to make participation more inclusive for everyone. It has therefore implemented a hybrid model that would allow participants who would otherwise not have access to devices, the ability to participate in online learning.
This approach has also helped those with connectivity challenges in remote, small, or rural areas to have the same opportunity as small businesses and cooperatives who were able to complete the online courses through self-learning.
The Services SETA also engages in the quarterly online Communities of Practice (CoPs) those being: the Entrepreneur Network Organisers, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation and Business Advisory Services; as well as engagements with several public and private intermediaries, departments, agencies, academic institutions, and professional bodies.
The Services SETA has ongoing quarterly engagements through the DHET Inter-SETA committee which aims to promote collaboration in the pursuit of shared skills development objectives amongst the participating SETAs.
Among other educational access challenges, insufficient infrastructure remains one of the barriers to access to education. There are simply far too few universities and colleges to accommodate all the school graduates. And in this instance, learners from rural areas are disproportionately affected. Even in cases where infrastructure exists, the quality thereof is not conducive to a productive learning environment.
To support the post-school education and training system, and in line with the NSDP 2030 mandate, the Services SETA supports struggling TVET and CET colleges with infrastructure support and lecturer development. Furthermore, the Services SETA, working alongside colleges and rural municipalities, has assisted with the setting up of skills development centres to expand access to skills development opportunities.
Given the challenges of the services sector as outlined above, the Services SETA has committed to promoting transformation within the sector. Transformation strategy is driven largely through the promotion of B-BBEE legislation as measured in terms of compliance (BEE rating) and effective implementation of B-BBEE elements.
Socio-economic transformation is one of the key strategic focuses of the Services SETA. A dedicated unit has been established under Strategic Partnership and Collaborations department to monitor organisational transformation. In line with the government’s objectives, interventions are targeted at the empowerment of people living with disabilities (35), black women (67%) and people living in rural areas (26%).
Preferential Procurement is incorporated and applied in accordance with the Supply Chain Management (SCM) Policy. The provisions of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, no 5 of 2000, are articulated in that policy. The Services SETA’s measurement is based on suppliers that are awarded via tender and the request for quotation processes. The organisation strives to address the disability gap as identified and has highlighted this as a key priority in the Strategy.
Socio-economic development contributions are any financial or non-financial contributions implemented for individuals or communities where at least 75% of the beneficiaries are classified as Black.
The Discretionary Grant Policy makes provision for transformation where criterion has been developed, prioritising designated groups where wider empowerment gaps are identified. In practice, Services SETA advocates for a fair, competitive process; however, equity is considered when a window is opened. Preference is given to skills development providers aiming to empower Previously Disadvantaged Individuals (PDI).