College pilots Dual System Apprenticeship Training model
The Dual System Apprenticeship Training model, which has been applied with great success in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, has recently been introduced to South Africa under the auspices of the German GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit/ The German Association for International Co-operation).
Ekurhuleni East TVET College was one of four TVET College sites selected in the Gauteng and Eastern Cape Provinces to run a pilot project offering training for two trades, namely Electrical and Plumbing, on the dual system model. The Dual System Pilot Project (DSPP) is founded on the belief that students learn best by having the underpinning theoretical knowledge they obtain from a TVET College, reinforced at regular intervals. This is achieved by, and on occasion, simulated practicals, but primarily ‘real-life’ work experience and training in a structured workplace environment. The DSPP involves a hands-on learning approach over a period of three years. During this time, students alternate between the College and the Host Employer in block periods of between eight and fourteen weeks.
In the Host Employer workplace, students are mentored by a Project Manager. The Project Manager is specifically assigned to provide structured training in the workplace on the focal areas specified in the Training Schedule. Seventy percent (70%) of the students’ overall training period is spent with their mentoring host companies. On completing the programme, they undertake the revised A21 Trade Test. Based on the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations occupational qualification for electricians and plumbers, this initiative will generate fully-fledged and competent artisans. Apprentices for this pilot project were selected from a pool of National Certificate Vocational Level 3 and Level 4 students currently enrolled at the participating TVET Colleges. The Lead Employer (Swiss-South African Co-operation Initiative) is responsible for the students’ stipends, annual medical assessments and Trade Test fees, as well as providing students with a standard electrician’s or plumber’s toolbox.
Principal Happy Sibande emphasised the significance of the dual aspect of this system. Without the crucial participation of the hosting companies, it would not be possible to offer a vocational artisan programme such as this.
Forging meaningful partnerships with industry was therefore essential for the success of the programme. Establishing these partnerships is one of the on-going challenges faced by TVET Colleges in their efforts to promote the Decade of the Artisan and to offer a quality vocational education. It was the College’s partnerships with the relevant companies which enabled the placement of all 25 students selected for the programme.
The College is particularly appreciative of the support offered by host companies Sun International (Carnival City); Dunlop; Impact; Imfuyo and Southern Star Electrical.