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Construction authorities lash at Govt

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15 Mar 2012

Higher Education ministry has said there was little to show for the R37.5bn ploughed into the Sector Education and Training Authorities since 2000.

According to Rob Johnson, executive director of the Master Builders Association of the Western Cape (MBAWC) - a major stakeholder in the affairs of the Construction SETA (CETA) - following the CETA being placed under administration by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, it would appear that the anticipated improvements to facilitate training in the building industry have now gone from bad to worse.

According to Rob Johnson, executive director of the Master Builders Association of the Western Cape (MBAWC) - a major stakeholder in the affairs of the Construction SETA (CETA) - following the CETA being placed under administration by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, it would appear that the anticipated improvements to facilitate training in the building industry have now gone from bad to worse.

“In trying to contact the regional CETA office, we found that their number was not in use.”

Apparently they have either moved or are in the process of moving their offices.

As the largest stakeholder and biggest entity involved in skills training in the Western Cape we are shocked that we were not advised of this, he says.

The MBAWC have been attempting to address their issues and concerns through the CETA administrator, but these appear to be falling on deaf ears.

These include outstanding monies, the non-existence of Trade Testing facilities for their members’ employees and projects for funding being rejected.

There is also the matter of the outstanding registration of contracts, which is causing their members huge financial losses due to being unable to claim tax rebates for the employment of apprentices.

“The CETA is expected to ‘facilitate the delivery of sector-specific skills interventions that help achieve the goals of NSDS III, address employer demand and deliver results, but this has failed dismally,” says Johnson.

He explains that millions of rands of industry employers’ levies have been spent on unsustainable short courses that have been approved by the Construction Seta in the past.

Yet when sustainable project funding is requested for the training of apprentices, we have been given every excuse in the book as to why the funding cannot be approved.

The CETA recently called for project proposals which we have seen lying in the office in Bellville with no attempt whatsoever to get them sent to head office.

“We have fully supported Minister Nzimande’s training initiatives in the past and hoped to be part of seeing out this vision of 10 000 artisans per year qualifying with relevant skills and finding employment.

However, without his immediate intervention in the CETA, our hands are tied in terms of delivering skilled persons and his remarks pertaining to the performance of the SETAs will remain just that."

The serious issues are not being addressed and unemployment will increase due to this as people are not being trained in sustainable skills.

The ‘quick fixes’ have not worked i.e. short unsustainable courses. 

We keep hearing the message that business must assist government with employment but how can we, without a change in mind-set and approach from them?” adds Johnson.

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