South Africa needs more skilled tradesmen
South Africa needs more artisans such as bricklayers, diesel mechanics, instrument technicians, riggers, auto electricians and millwrights.
The department of higher education, science & innovation says there is a high demand for tradesmen who are highly skilled and who primarily work in a technical field, doing skilled manual labour.
Minister Blade Nzimande says the department is working hard to encourage young people to become artisans.
In 2014, we launched the decade of the artisan, which seeks to promote artisanship as a career of choice for SA’s youth and highlights skills development opportunities for artisans
“In 2014, we launched the decade of the artisan, which seeks to promote artisanship as a career of choice for SA’s youth and highlights skills development opportunities for artisans.”
Mihle Mvelakubi, 25, from Flagstaff, owns Mvelakubi Civil Engineering and Projects, which does bricklaying, tiling, plumbing and paving.
Mvelakubi says his passion had started when he was a learner at Agulhas School of Skills in Napier in the Western Cape, where he specialised in bricklaying and plastering, woodwork, welding and agriculture.
After school, he chose the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) route, doing an NC (V) civil engineering and building construction level 2-4 programme. He eventually obtained a national diploma in civil engineering and building, after completing his N4 to N6 at the College of Cape Town.
In 2017, he represented SA in bricklaying at the WorldSkills international competition in the UAE.
“The competition helped me realise that bricklaying is not just a trade, but is also an art that I developed through consistent practice, great mentorship and guidance.
“Without skills, we wouldn’t have had any of the things we have, such as buildings, cars, planes and trains.
For the economy to grow, we need all these skills and critical thinking. It is the TVET institutions that create these skilled people
“For the economy to grow, we need all these skills and critical thinking. It is the TVET institutions that create these skilled people,” said Mvelakubi.
To enter a recognised learning programme to become an artisan, you must get at least 40% for mathematics (excluding maths literacy) and a grade 9 or national certificate level 2 pass.
You will need to attend a TVET college and then do workplace learning before being able to take a trade test, which will certify you as a qualified artisan.
Trade tests can be done at a national trade test centre which is accredited by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations.
— This article first appeared in GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.
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