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2014 has been declared the year of the artisan, in fact it has officially been declared the decade of the artisan according to the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Why has the department placed such a big emphasis on this particular sector?

Firstly, because of the need for skilled labourers in this sector. And secondly, because of the many benefits of artisan and technical training, particularly in the engineering sector.

One of the great things about these practical qualifications is that they afford integrated learning and work place training so that the learner is accessing experience as well as skills development and a relevant qualification that also hold international status. Because of the lack of qualified individuals in this sector the education department is emphasising the importance of these highly skilled jobs and their role in the economy.

There is a high demand for skilled labourers in motor mechanics and the metal and engineering sub sectors for jobs such as fitters, turners and boilermakers. The problem that more and more educators are finding however, is that the role of the artisan is being neglected as a result of the stereotype that these kinds of jobs have because of the lack of understand when it comes to what is involved in being an artisan or technician. Furthermore learners have not been made aware of the route which can be taken to carve out a career in engineering as they build on their artisan training.

These jobs and qualifications are not for those who couldn't cut it at school, they are not the option you turn to should all else fail. Rather these jobs involve complex training and practical understanding which is why the work integrated learning method is used to develop these unique skills. The need is great and the youth should keep this option in mind when it comes to making a career choice.

So next time you are considering a career path, don't dismiss the artisan option. Consider Apprenticeships, FET Colleges and Technical Colleges that offer this option as a means of training you up in the skills needed to pursue the opportunities that are out there just waiting for you.

For more information on technical and artisan training contact False Bay College in the Western Cape on 0210030600 or alternatively consult a college near you if you are in another province.

- by Odette Bester

Have you considered a job as an artisan?

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