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DID YOU KNOW?

Alignment of sector skills planning to the National Growth Path (NGP)

Carmel Marock

A recent paper developed by Carmel Marock, Samantha Yeowart and Anthony Gewer under the auspices of the Human Resource Development Council of South Africa (HRDC-SA) examines ways in which skills planning could be better aligned with the needs of the economy. The paper draws on proposals emanating from a stakeholder workshop which generated options for a possible future approach to skills planning as well as institutional arrangements to support its implementation.

The paper relies primarily on a review of both international and national literature in its exploration of approaches to skills planning. It critiques reactive approaches to skills planning that focus on immediate skills shortages. It examines more nuanced approaches to short-, medium- and long-term planning especially in relation to South Africa’s projected economic growth path; the articulation of skills demand with the supply of skills; the need to aggregate skills demand across the economy; and the ways in which steering mechanisms should relate to each other across different timeframes.  The paper derives a benchmark of good practice from the international literature review and offers a set of recommendations to enable South Africa to meet this benchmark.

The paper observes that a myriad of factors outside the control of the skills system impacts on the demand for skills with the result that employer take-up is invariably unpredictable. It suggests that it is therefore debatable whether a coherent and effective approach to skills planning is achievable.  Moreover, even if skills demand could be accurately estimated, it could be addressed only by building the capacity of providing institutions and by allocating incentives to support and steer the level and quality of provision.
The recommendations from this paper have been captured in a presentation which is currently being discussed in a number of forums.

Carmel Marock is at Singizi Consulting, e-mail: carmelmarock@singizi.co.za.

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