As part of ipcenter strategy to develop projects and business partnerships in education and training in Africa, our project manager for African Regions, Andreas Polsterer, participated in a study visit in Johannesburg/South Africa in the beginning of October 2018.
The study visit was organised by the Austrian Trade Commission in South Africa and aimed to collect first-hand information and insights about the challenges and potential in the vocational training sector in South Africa. It also gave the opportunity to have personal talks and exchange with potential projects partners, as well as present ipcenter and our background (expertise, references) to discuss future cooperation efforts.
Mr. Paul Abanda (Damelin College), Andreas Polsterer (ipcenter), Mr. Charl Robbertse (Damelin College)
South Africa has 57 million inhabitants, and is the largest country in southern Africa. The society is multi-ethnic, with a predominant black population and a white minority. The biggest socio-economic challanges involve the large amount of inequality in society, lack of social inclusion and opportunities, and a growing unemployment (up to 40%, and even higher among young people). The educational system shows a significant gap between public sector and innovative (and expensive) private training providers, as well as a lack of labour market-relevant and updated skill trainings. Innovative industry sectors and companies exist, but they are challenged by the mixed quality of the TVET system – reform, standardization and updating of curricula are therefore key future issues.
Visit to the Department of Higher Education and Training
The study visit by ipcenter involved meetings with local government officials (DHET), industry sector associations, representatives of international organisations (UNDP, EU, GIZ), innovative training providers (ATA, SAIMS), consultants on project implementation and biofarming, as well as study visits at both public and private TVET training facilities, and networking events with representatives from Austrian companies (production sector). During these meetings, ipcenter gained lot of relevant insights into the challenges faced by South Africa and its education system, but also has the chance to discuss possible ways to improve the situation by implementing innovative pilot projects.
St. Anthony´s College – Bricklayer Training
ipcenter is committed to start operating as a TVET provider in South Africa and will use the newly found network contacts and insights to develop project ideas with our local partners. Hopefully, we will soon be able to formalize our efforts (by signing MoUs), and start with the implementation of small-scale pilot projects to contribute to education sector reform/development and the improvement of the local population´s livelihoods.