The National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS)
The NHRDS provides an overarching plan to co-ordinate the efforts of the private and public sector in developing education and skills development. The NHRDS co-ordinates education, skills development, the supply and demand forecasting for skills, employment growth and the national systems for innovation and research and development.
The purpose of this strategy is to ensure effective co-ordination and integration of policies across government departments, with individual responsibility remaining within each ministry, whilst ensuring a common strategic framework to enable policy development.
The key success indicator of the NHRDS is improvement in the Human Development Index (HDI) for South Africa, which measures literacy, educational attainment, life expectancy and GDP per capita. The HDI is used as a standard assessment of human development by the United National Development Program to categorise countries into developing and developed nations and
South Africa is ranked 121 in the world. This raises concern, as the ranking is lower than the 2001 ranking of 103 at the time of the launch of the NHRDS.
This initiative identified the following objectives to be achieved by 2010:
● Increase the number of engineers graduating from higher education by 1000 to 2 400 per year.
● Increase the number of artisans from 5 000 to 12 500 per year, by improving communication about the various pathways for learners, including apprenticeships, learnerships and the new FET qualifications.
● Improve the competitiveness of the tourism sector, by developing programmes to deal with skills shortages in this sector.
● Address the issue of ICT skills shortages.
● Strengthen town and regional planning capacity.
● Train young unemployed people from disadvantaged backgrounds for business outsourcing.
● Address the mismatch between unemployed black graduates and the skills required by the economy through the organisation of job placement initiatives.
The revised NHRDS has a strong economic and social focus and includes the following features:
● The Minister of Education is now responsible for the NHRDS, replacing the previous joint responsibility between the Ministers of Education and Labour.
● The aim is to promote multistakeholder participation across nine strategic priorities, which are defined in time frames and annual targets.
● A 20 year planning perspective, a five year strategic year plan and a one year implementation plan.
The NSDS strategy is developed in five year plans, with the first phase from 2001-2005, followed by the second phase of 2005-2010, which has the following quantitative targets:
● At least 80% of government departments are to spend 1% of payroll on training and the related impact is to be measured and reported.
● At least 500 enterprises will achieve a national standard of good practice in skills development and will be refunded 50% of the levy.
● At least 700 000 workers will have achieved at least ABET level 4.
● SETA discretionary grants to include grants for learnerships and bursaries.
To encourage skills development in the workplace, the Government has introduced a skills development levy (1% of payroll) for any registered company in South Africa. This levy can be partially refunded to the company on proof that training has been completed by accredited training providers.
Companies submit workplace skills plans and implementation reports to enable them to claim back some of the levy. The National Skills Development Strategy foresees an increase in the skills development levy from 1% to 3%.
The OECD review suggested that the SETA’s system of grants to employers is too complex and bureaucratic, which undermines the investment in HR development. A survey was conducted on 505 enterprises and of the 51% of enterprises who were eligible to pay the levy, only 16% were claiming grants.
The third phase of the NSDS begins in April 2010. The NSDS informs the National Human Development Strategy (NHRDS), and focuses on the human resource development elements that relate to vocational training and skills development in the workplace.
The reasons cited for not claiming the grant, included:
● A lack of awareness of the process,
● Not worth the effort financially and
● The application process is too complex.