Scarce skills mountain to climb

25 January 2016 - 02:05 By Katharine Child

South Africa has a dearth of scientists, plumbers, investment managers, nurses, doctors, water managers, truckdrivers, teacher and accountants. Last week, the Department of Higher Education released a list of jobs in high demand in the Government Gazette.Industry insiders said it was the most accurate list to date.One of the purposes of the list is to ensure that funding goes to courses that are most likely to produce qualified people.Adcorp's Bev Jack said the list was to steer pupils so they studied courses likely to get them a job.The list shows that maths and science high school teachers are also in short supply.There is also a shortage of teachers for early childhood development, and university lecturers, with the country short of artisans including boilermakers, welders, fitters and turners and truckdrivers.Jack said South Africa was "an aspirational society" but people did not want to specialise in trades despite the likelihood of finding a job.Khaye Nkhwanyana, Higher Education Department spokesman, said R700-million was being put into the national skills fund for students to acquire scarce skills qualifications.He said the department was bringing together universities, colleges and workplace skills training agencies to "cultivate skills in the country".But he said the impact "in this regard is yet to be felt".He said the department has been directed to produce 17000 artisans annually, with that number almost doubling to 30000 a year by 2030.

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