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April 11, 2019

Japan meets Artisan Skills Demand
Partnership targets skills and employment for South African youth
By Brigette Kgaphola

South Africa's high unemployment and skills shortages are affecting the economy adversely. This year, unemployment in South Africa saw a minimal decrease of 0.4%, indicating the potential for improvement, and the need for more initiatives to boost the economy through the empowerment of both workers and job-seekers, especially students. In Japan, artisans or craftsmen work with colleges for effective teachings

At a time when South Africa has few skills development offerings, the Artisans Development Project for TVET colleges, came at the right time. The Japanese Government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has partnered with South Africa's Department of Higher Education and Training, specifically the TVET colleges of Northlink andTshwane South , to capacitate lecturers and students with Fitting and Turning skills. Students are being equipped with skills for becoming work-ready after graduation. Students are also being guided on opportunities for pursuing the jobs they studied for.

The Artisans Development Project is Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's response to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's wish to join efforts in capacitating South Africans.

It complements President Ramaphosa's vision for South Africa, as outlined in this year's State of the Nation Address. President Ramaphosa prioritises education, skills development and job creation as key areas to improve on. "Firstly, we must accelerate inclusive economic growth and create jobs, and secondly, our history demands that we should improve the education system and develop the skills that we need now in the future."

The Project was launched at the Northlink TVET College in Cape Town, seeing amongst some 150 guests, dignitaries from ministerial level and Japanese delegation in attendance.

Naledi Pandor, Minister of Higher Education and Training, stated:" We are trying to develop the quality of technical education in South Africa. And we are also motivated by the National Development Plan (NDP) to produce 30,000 artisans by 2030 in South Africa, a goal that can be realized through collaboration between South Africa and Japan."

According to Minister Pandor, surveys revealed that TVET college graduates – unlike university graduates – were either employed by companies or starting their own businesses. It is crucial to improve the quality and competence of TVET college students. TVET colleges need to be radically modernised so that students are able to partake in the 21st century technology revolution. Japanese experts along with TVET college lecturers and students, will work together to ensure that the Project's goals are achieved. The Project will be implemented at selected TVET colleges to accelerate the skills development with its great potential to capacitate lecturers and students. It will also support study material so as to optimize the learning experience and prepare students for the workplace. This international cooperation will bring South Africa steps closer to accelerating economic growth in.

Ambassador Designate of Japan to South Africa, Ambassador Maruyama, said: "This is a significant day as this is the first cooperation project between Japan and South Africa this year. We look forward to the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7), the G20 and the Rugby World Cup. These events show the fruits of our cooperation."




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