SA’s crying for artisans

By admin
28 January 2011

There’s a crucial shortage of certain skills in South Africa that’s holding back the economy and affecting the ability of municipalities to efficiently provide the services they’re supposed to provide.

It isn’t a shortage of teachers, doctors or engineers – the critical problem lies with artisans. And the problem isn’t likely to be alleviated soon. To make matters worse some of the best have left SA for better prospects overseas.

Government officials, education planners and business leaders are hoping the shortage, and the difficulty of being accepted at universities for academic courses, will lure thousands of school-leavers into technical training.

There’s a desperate need for plumbers, electricians, motor mechanics, fitters and turners, carpenters, boilermakers, welders and many others, minister of higher education Blade Nzimande says. Estimates of the shortage vary from 50 000 to 80 000.

‘‘South Africa has had to look for artisans in countries such as India to bring their skills here,’’ says Judy Rossouw, MD of personnel agency Kelly Industrial in Midrand.

‘‘Everyone wants to be a lawyer or an accountant, although we don’t need them all. Today’s young people don’t want to get their hands dirty. But good artisans can almost choose where they want to work.’’

‘‘If you’re a qualified artisan you can get a job virtually anywhere,’’ says Paul van Deventer, managing director of Sol-Tech, which trains artisans in Pretoria.

Calima van Ellinckhuijzen of the Northlink College group in Cape Town says many young people and their parents aren’t aware there are artisan career opportunities for which they don’t have to go the university route.

* Read the full article in the 3 February 2011 issue of YOU.

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