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UNDERSTANDING THE PURPOSE OF THE SKILLS DEVELOPMENT ACT, 1998 (NO.97)



In previous articles, we have delved into various aspects of skills development within the workplace. Our discussions have encompassed the Skills Development Act and its key stakeholders, prompting us to consider its purpose. Based on the information we have gathered; we hold the view that the primary aim of this act is to serve as a moral compass within the workplace.


Allow us to elucidate this perspective -


The overarching goal of the Skills Development Act is to enhance the knowledge and competencies of the workforce, thereby fostering increased productivity and employment opportunities. While this objective is widely acknowledged, let us delve deeper into its specific facets.


The key aims of the Act include:

  • Enhancing the quality of life for workers, bolstering their employment prospects and mobility within the labor market.

  • Elevating workplace productivity and enhancing the competitiveness of employers.

  • Boosting investments in education and training within the labor market, thereby optimizing the returns on such investments.

  • Facilitating self-employment opportunities.

  • Improving service delivery standards.

Furthermore, the Act seeks to incentivize employers to:


  • Foster an environment conducive to active learning within the workplace.

  • Provide employees with avenues to acquire new skills.

  • Offer opportunities for newcomers to gain valuable work experience.

  • Extend employment opportunities to individuals facing challenges in securing employment.


Additionally, the Act endeavors to encourage workers' participation in learning programs, enhance the employment prospects of those previously disadvantaged by discrimination, and ensure the quality of workplace learning initiatives.


To achieve these objectives, the Act relies on a comprehensive institutional and financial framework, which includes entities such as the National Skills Authority, the National Skills Fund, the Skills Development Levies Act, SETAs, provincial offices, labour centers, accredited trade test centers, skills development institutes, and various other bodies. Furthermore, fostering partnerships between the public and private sectors and collaborating with the South African Qualifications Authority are vital strategies outlined within the Act.


In essence, the Skills Development Act serves as a multifaceted tool aimed at steering the workplace towards greater efficiency, equity, and inclusivity through strategic investments in skills development and education.



 

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