Adrienne Bird’s Book Published

MERSETA has now published Adrienne Bird’s book, From Sweeper to Engineer. You can access it via the front page of their website or down load it directly from this link.

It is a phenomenal piece of work but it does have an unfinished feel to it.

Darryl Mclean who was largely responsible for Chapter 12 made the point that, “Adrienne would never have published (it) as is.  She got to version 2.0, needed 4.0 before she’d have been happy. She did the baseline research, never fully got through analysis.”

In my last meeting with her, just a few weeks before she died we discussed some of the issues that are currently bedevilling the recognition of learning in and for the workplace. We couldn’t complete the conversation at the time and were going to discuss it at a later date, as I’m sure she would have done with the other people who contributed.

Adrienne Bird’s Book Launched

MERSETA, at long last, launched Adrienne’s book, From Sweeper to Engineer at the beginning of the online inter-chamber conference today, 21 May 2020.

It will be available from next week on the Merseta’s front page. She was working finishing the book until her untimely death in 2019.

Merseta funded the finalisation of the book and a small team of those that worked with her embarked on that process during the latter half of 2019 and finished it in early 2020. I worked with her briefly on the Chapter 12 of the book shortly before she died and I was part of the finalisation team and so had a personal interest in seeing the book published.

I haven’t read the whole book yet but those parts I managed to sample during the editing process are a fascinating read.

The People Framework

She uses a framework or series of lenses to analyse each development through the

last century. She dubbed the it the PEOPLE framework. And people form the first part of the analysis – she uses the stories of people involved to illustrate the evolution of occupational development from the late 19th & early 20th Century through to today’s skills development system.

As Daryl Mclean, noted in his keynote. This framework will be very useful in analysing occupational development needs in this time of great change brought about by issues such digitalisation, 4th Industrial Revolution and the Covid pandemic.

Temporary withdrawal of the Revised Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework

The QCTO has announced a temporary withdrawal of the Revised Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework that was published in March 2020 just prior to the Covid 19 Lockdown.

This was announced in Government Gazette No. 43732 24-09. on 24 September 2020.

This means that the initial Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework Policy published in Gazette No. 37879 of  31 July 2014 remains in force for now.

This also brings to an end the situation where qualifications that have already been submitted to the QCTO need to undergo extensive and mindless retrospective revisions – for a short while at least!

Revised OQSF

The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations has published its revised policy document for Occupational Sub-Framework of the NQF. It was published on 2 March 2020. You can download it from here.

There have been a number of significant changes.

  1. The requirement for the Foundational Learning Competence for occupational qualifications at NQF Levels 3 and 4 has been removed. While originally intended to be an enabler the FLC has become a blockage in the implementation of occupational qualifications.
  2. Qualifications at each level of the NQF now have a different name.

The nomenclature of these occupational qualifications is similar to the nomenclature in the Higher Education Qualifications Framework, e/g. higher certificate, advanced certificate, diploma, advanced diploma etc.


  1.  minimum credit levels are now defined for each qualification type and for the level of the qualification:

For NQF levels 1 – 5

  • Minimum total credits: ranging from 240- 280
  • Minimum credits at Exit Level: 60%

For NQF levels 6 – 8

  • Minimum total credits: ranging from 240- 280
  • Minimum credits at Exit Level: 60%

For one-year qualifications this poses no difficulties but for multi-year qualifications this becomes a challenge. A three year occupational qualification means that only 20 % of the credits can be allocated to the first level of learning, 20 % of the second level of learning and 60% has to be allocated to the final year of learning, if we strictly apply the ratios.  It my view this creates a top heavy approach. It destroys a careful a meaningful build-up of knowledge and skills from foundational through intermediate to the practitioner level. Scaffolding in the curriculum becomes a numbers driven game. Conformance to this requirement will increase the difficulties in the implementation and assessment of occupational curricula.

4. Soft skills are now required to be included explicitly. Most occupational qualifications have included soft skills as part of the overall package. “… an occupational qualification must now contain between 5% and 10% of soft skills which may include personal development, self-learning, workplace preparation, personal finance management, basic entrepreneurship, emotional intelligence amongst others.”

The revised OQSF document took effect on the day it was published int he Government Gazette.

New BEE Codes for employing young people

The Codes of Good Practice for the Youth Employment Service (YES) were published on Tuesday.

You can download them from here

Companies can lift their levels of BEE recognition by meeting targets as laid out in the gazette.

The purpose is to create jobs for young black people.

[4.1 Only individuals who meet the below criteria are eligible for participation under the Y.E.S Initiative:
4.1.1 are between the ages of 18 and 35; and
4.1.2 meet the definition of “Black People” as defined in the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act 53 of 2003 as amended by Act 46 of 2013]

You can find out more about the YES campaign here.

Proposals for revised SETA Landscape

DHET has published a call for comments on a proposals to revise the SETA landscape. Download here.

In brief, a number of SETAs have been left as is, but there are proposals to consolidate a number of other SETAs:

  • Agri- and FoodBev
  • All three financial SETAs, Bank, In and FASSET
  • P, LG and EW SETAs
  • the two manufacturing SETAs, MER and FPM.

Comments are due by 20 September 2018.

Dual System Pilot Project workshop

We had a two day workshop addressing issues that have been plaguing this project for some time. But we also a look ahead. How do we track progress? What are those indicators that will help us measure impact. And what do the indicators we are measuring mean for the project.

At a deeper level we were examining how the various role players  meshed to deliver something of value: Quality Council for Trades and Occupations; Department of Higher Education and Training; National Artisan Moderating Body; TVET Colleges; Industry associations/registration bodies and employers who take on the apprentices and, of course, the the key target population the apprentices themselves. Do not forget the last – they are highly critical, politicised and focused in getting value from the system

At the heart of all the discussion was a central point – How do we restructure education and training systems to provide employment opportunities for young people?

Comment on DHET’s Artisan Development plans

DHET published the Artisan Development Strategy and Implementation Plan 2017 for comment on 15 June 2018. You have until 16 July to submit comments

I only just found out about this by chance.

If I have comments I will do that in a follow up post.

Picture: A Mechatronic Technician at a World Skills event. Source

Request to SAQA – Please now register the Mechatronic Technician qualification

Call for Comment on National Skills Development Plan 2030

DHET has a history of releasing important documents late in the year when so many are out of office. They’ve done it again with a call for comments on the proposed National Skills Development Plan 2030. The document was published on 15 December 2017!

It’s a long and intricate document with much to take in and digest. Seems SETAs still have a future.

—More to come, I’m still working through it. —

You can download it from:

Comments are due by 31 January 2018.