Skills Training Programmes

Pondering Panda Youth Report 2014 – South Africa

Pondering Panda have released a youth report surveying young people in South Africa, on various dimensions. Of particular interest to me are the views on education, employment and entrepreneurship. Police confidence is also another eye-opening dimension.


“Between June 2013 and January 2014 – 199589 interviews were carried out on mobile phones among younger South Africans between the ages of 13 and 34 (except for the ‘Marriage and Children’ study, for which 15 to 34 year olds were interviewed), using one of Pondering Panda’s respondent bases, the social network Mxit.”

72% of younger South Africans feel that unemployment is a big problem. 53% have been looking for jobs for more than 6 months. 33% feel there are not enough jobs. Of those who are employed 30% feel depressed, sad or bored. 18% of young people feel they do not have the right education, with 12% feeling they do not have the right experience.

Young people feel the biggest problems in education are the following:

1. Don’t have proper facilities

2. Alcohol and drugs

3. Overcrowded classrooms

4. Bullying and peer pressure.

Regarding entrepreneurship, 76% of young people felt, they would rather work for themselves. 66% felt that the government was not doing enough to help entrepreneurs.

With respect to police confidence, 73% felt the South African police force was mostly dishonest and corrupt. Only 45% of young people felt mostly safe at school, classes or work. Only 50% of young people sometimes but not always, felt safe where they live.

You can contact Pondering Panda for a copy of this report.




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First Stress Reduction Workshop Scheduled for: Saturday 28 September at 7p.m. Here is the Audience Login URL: and the Registration Form URL here:


My Purple Cow is a Red Rabbit

OECD – Human Capital Learning for Life

From OECD Insights (image at link reference), valid and useful insights:,3746,en_21571361_37705603_37781352_1_1_1_1,00.html

“Populations in many societies are ageing, meaning that in future there will be fewer people of working age to support growing numbers of retirees. The result is that more of us will need to go on working for longer. To do that societies will need to break down the barriers that prevent adults from updating their skills and education.

Chapter 5 of Learning for Life looks at adult learning, and finds out who’s getting it and who isn’t. It examines the barriers that prevent adults from developing their skills and knowledge. And it looks at what individuals, employers and governments can do to tear down those barriers.”

3 Start-Up Announcements From the Education Innovation Summit

Today I am sharing information about three new Education start-ups from an article by Nick DeSantis from The Chronicle of Higher Education: The first is a transfer college called Altius Education (a very much needed idea for South Africa, with our problematic achievements in Grade 12). The second is OpenStudy which has focused on soft skills, again an area requiring attention in South Africa. The third is about Sophia a social learning platform purchased by Capella Education System.

By Nick DeSantis

“The theme of disrupting higher education was buzzing among hundreds of conference attendees this week at the Education Innovation Summit at Arizona State University. The event offered start-up companies a captive audience for pitching their products. Here’s a small sample of announcements they made:

Altius Education: This company has already gained prominence among educators for its creation of a “transfer college,” which gives students a bridge to a bachelor’s degree by helping them transfer to traditional four-year institutions. And now the chief executive of Altius, Paul Freedman, has bigger plans—he wants to put “the flying car of higher education” in the driveway of every student. The engine, he says, is called Helix, a new tool that seeks to reinvent what learning-management software can do…

OpenStudy: Traditional grades are one-dimensional. Transcripts don’t convey how good students are at working with others and

Image representing OpenStudy as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

solving problems. That’s the argument made by the leaders of OpenStudy, the social-learning network that calls itself a “global study group.” To fill in those gaps, the company has introduced SmartScore, a measurement of “soft skills” including teamwork, problem-solving, and engagement. In a blog post that previewed SmartScore’s introduction, OpenStudy’s co-founder, Preetha Ram, said the tool would ‘challenge the traditional notions of intelligence normally quantified by grades…’

Sophia: The social platform for teaching and learning was purchased this week by Capella Education Company, the parent of the for-profit Capella University. The partnership means Sophia will roll out low-cost college courses online, beginning with a college-algebra course in June…”

[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by tsutatsuta]

Reference: (Accessed 19/04/2012).

World Youth Report puts Focus on Skills

“Some of the views in the report point directly to the kinds of policy questions that are preoccupying governments – and employers – eager to match skilled jobs with skilled workers.

According to the young people cited in the report:

  • public and private employers need to collaborate more effectively with educational institutions;
  • vocational training needs to be made more available and accessible;
  • employers need to value vocational training, apprenticeships and non-formal training more highly;
  • labour market needs should be analysed continuously and extensively;
  • education and training programmes should be tailored to labour market needs.”

The above links closely to the New South African Post-Secondary Education Green Paper. However, in my view not all education programmes should be tailored to labour market needs – we should avoid commodification and flattening of all Higher Education to a labour market technicist paradigm. (accessed 21/03/2012)

What do you think?

Education for all Global Monitoring Report

Follow this link for many interesting reports, for example:

Gender | Rural Women: While great progress has been made towards gender equality in education, many challenges remain. Did you know that nearly 2/3 of the world’s illiterate adults are women? The situation is particularly bad for rural women. Read more on our blog: (accessed 21/03/2012)

Skills Levies in a Climate of Skills Crisis

Employers who pay PAYE are obliged by National Legislation to contribute 1% of their wage bill to the Skills Levy Fund. The Mandatory Claims provision of this fund enables employers to claim back 70% of this amount on educating/training current employees. Since most employers are not claiming this amount the funds become available for payment under the Discretionary Grant provision. This means that the Discretionary Funds become available to competitors who are investing in the knowledge and skills development of employees. Those companies who are not training are weakening in a very competitive market, especially in these very difficult economic times.

If Skills Development Facilitators submit Workplace Skills Plans that include accredited courses from accredited providers, companies can properly reclaim on their skills levies paid, and position themselves for a strong competitive advantage when the economy “turns”.  If training budgets have been cut, then this is the time to make full use of the Skills Development Fund. This is the magic moment, as the economy “turns”, to begin to train staff and secure a strong position for your company, ensuring improved employee relationships and staff who are able to align their personal goals with that of the company, whilst meeting equity and skills training targets. In the words of Dr Nzimande, workplaces need to become “training spaces”. The time is now.