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DHET publishes national scarce skills for public comment

Thursday, 29 May 2014   (6 Comments)
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The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande has published the National Scarce Skills List: Top 100 Occupations in Demand, as per General Notice 380 of 2014.  In terms of the notice, the Minister invites written commentary on the list from interested persons and organisations.  Comments should be submitted by 20 June 2014. 

Members are invited to also submit their comments to SAIMechE so as to form part of a comprehensive submission from the Institution.  Adding comments to this news item will be the most effective way of doing this.


Chris Reay says...
Posted Wednesday, 11 June 2014
The SAIMechE would liaise with the other Voluntary Associations and the Engineering Council to utilize as much of the available input as possible. If the NDP is expected to require a capex of some R800 billion, then if the benefits of a measurement system were to increase the efficiency of the spend by 0,1%, this would yield a saving of R800 million. The SAIMechE would undertake to manage a process where such a system could be developed for a few million Rand. The time has come to stop talking about scarce skills and DO something about it. The list presented by the DHET tells us nothing we already did not know.
Chris Reay says...
Posted Wednesday, 11 June 2014
The ROI must of such a system can be considered intuitive at this stage on the basis that the direct cost of applying this process is minimal when compared with the projected cost of not doing so. Having limited information on detailed resource needs and supply solutions will severely inhibit the achievement of the SIPs as they all comprise components of the built environment, the domain of engineering. The impact, however, can be regarded as going beyond the SIPs. The purpose behind the SIPs is to generate an infrastructure that enables business in general to be generated and the return on this basis would be not only obvious, but substantial. Hence the ongoing need for effective skills information becomes evident. The information would be available to any party in RSA that can contribute to the building of the engineering resources base.
Chris Reay says...
Posted Wednesday, 11 June 2014
The SAIMechE proposes a process whereby it would host the development of the system using established recruiting consultants with existing well configured databases and which are managed and directed by engineering professionals who are able to provide the necessary engineering expertise, experience, skills and industry contact. The programme would be on-going, be remunerated for the development and operation, and the return on the investment by funding sources would be the regular provision of information on the scarce skills issue framed in appropriate metrics. With such information, action decisions can be made.
Chris Reay says...
Posted Wednesday, 11 June 2014
5. Accordingly, the proposal of the SAIMechE, adopted unanimously by Council, is to support a process whereby the system can do the following across all engineering disciplines: a. Identify the needs at granular level by interacting with the SIPs Owner Teams, consultants and industry. b. Collate as many engineering resources into a highly functional database that configures the resources using established and applicable engineering knowledge and skills attributes. c. Expand the database and update the data on an on-going basis d. Provide information from the system to the industry, the profession and government on the alignment between needs and availability. e. Provide guidance to the profession on which industries should be actively assisting the development of new resources via the Candidate training schemes.
Chris Reay says...
Posted Wednesday, 11 June 2014
1.The intended time frame for the SIPs predicates a rapid up-scaling of the required engineering resources. Identifying the skills requirements at the generic level may be appropriate for the planning of capacity for tertiary education facilities, but it is impractical for the purpose of providing a solution for the SIPs execution programme which is a current requirement. 2.Projects for the SIPs will require the resources to meet the specific and specialized profiles that employers who are providing services under the programme specify. 3. It is common practice in the recruitment process for the employer to specify needs at a granular level using the attributes that are applicable to the engineering profession. To use the metrics of scarcity at the generic level is meaningless. We therefore need as Engineers to practice what we teach: we cannot know much about anything until we can measure it (properly). 4. An on-going, dynamic system of measurement is thus required.
Vaughan Rimbault says...
Posted Wednesday, 04 June 2014
Counting how many engineering professionals and tradesmen are required in an economy seems a pointless exercise. We are agreed that we are not producing enough, and the same can be said for most economies. How many is enough? - it doesn't really make a difference. "Enough" suggests there is a top limit, but we should never worry about producing too many. As far as I know, no economy has ever complained about the negative effects of producing an excess of engineering skills. In fact, there is overwhelming evidence that economies who focus on developing engineering skills are the ones leading the way. Our top priority should be developing engineering skills, and not counting how many we need to develop. Let's get on with the job of producing as many engineering skills as we can with the resources we have, rather than spending time trying to count how many we are short. We should always be short of engineering skills and work hard to produce more - that's how we grow.

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