North West and Free State collaborate on HRD policies and skills development...

PARYS Issues of skills development, Human Resource Development policies, post-matric opportunities, bursaries, learnerships and internships were top on the agenda at a two-day workshop convened by the Offices of the Premiers in the North West and the Free State at the Stonehenge Lodge in Parys, Free State.

Described by participants as the first of its kind, the workshop was organized jointly by Ikatisong School of Government in the North West and the Free State Training and Development Institute (FSTDI).

Head of Ikatisong School of Government, Professor Job Mokgoro said the workshop, which ended on a high note earlier today, was necessitated by the need to grow skills across all sectors working with other provinces that are doing well in the area of skills development.

He said Premier Supra Mahumapelo had encouraged Ikatisong to benchmark against other provinces that are doing well in the area of skills development, such as the Free State Province.

“This workshop came about in response to Premier Mahumapelo’s wish that we work closely with the Free State as one of the provinces that aredoing well in the area of skills development, to learn from each other.

“Coming out of these two days we have adopted, through our commissions, action plans that will be tabled before decision making structures and ultimately our Executive Council. Based on the decision that will be taken by the Executive Council, we will be on our way to implement the wishes of the Premier and the Executive Council,” Prof Mokgoro said.

Professor Mokgoro said the Ikatisong School of Government was also working closely with universities and FET colleges in the province to determine the skills needed based on, among others, the needs of the VTSD (Villages, Townships and Small Dorpies) economy.

“We will also determine through skills audit what skills we have in the province, and based on the gap analysis we will be able to come up with programmes to make sure that we upskill our people, especially our unemployed youth to enable the economy to grow,” he said.

Senior Manager of Skills Development in the Free State, Spa Kabane said the workshop was a cross-pollination of ideas and provided an important direction for both provinces.

“This workshop was an important learning tool regarding the challenges we face in the two provinces and how best to tackle them. It has helped us to think out of the box,” she said.

The two Premiers of the North West and Free State cherish the idea that building a capable developmental state requires a highly skilled population.

Issues discussed included policies, collaboration in coordinating international scholarships, maximising opportunities available through the Cuba Medical Training Scholarship Programme, placement, training and absorption of new graduates.

Participants noted that prioritisation of these issues would go a long way in enabling both provincial governments to address skills shortage and high youth unemployment rate.