The Skills Development Act spells out how government and industry will go about to improve the skills level of workers. The emphasis of this act is placed on training people in such a way that they become fully equipped to do a specific job, rather than general education in, say, hospitality, biology, computers, nutrition, mathematics, etc. General education is of course necessary and gives a good background, but in many cases still does not fully enable a person to immediately do a specific job. The spirit of the law is to place our people in a position to do a job of work, skilled and qualified, without delay. Furthermore the law makes special provision for learning while working. In short: this act is there to make training happen.
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT ACT NO. 97 OF 1998
To provide an institutional framework to devise and implement national, sector and workplace strategies to develop and improve the skills of the South African workforce; to integrate those strategies within the National Qualifications Framework contemplated in the South African Qualifications Authority Act, 1995; to provide for learnerships that lead to recognised occupational qualifications; to provide for the financing of skills development by means of a levy-grant scheme and a National Skills Fund; to provide for and regulate employment services; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
The purposes of this Act are:
- To develop the skills of the South African workforce;
- To increase the levels of investment in education and training in the labour market and to improve the return on that investment;
- To encourage employers to use the workplace as an active learning environment and to provide employees with the opportunities to acquire new skills;
- To encourage workers to participate in learnership and other training programmes;
- To improve the employment prospects of persons previously disadvantaged by unfair discrimination and to redress those disadvantages through training and education;
- To ensure the quality of education and training in and for the workplace;
- Encouraging partnerships between the public and private sectors of the economy to provide education and training in and for the workplace; and
- Co-operating with the South African Qualifications Authority.
The Skills Development Act attempts to create a policy and strategy for the benefit of all the role-players within the world of work, including workers, employees, self-employed people and public and private education and training.