EEC is one of only four TVET Colleges in South Africa to be selected to run a Dual System Pilot Project (DSPP) for two trades (Electrical and Plumbing) under the expert guidance of facilitators from the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ). This Dual System Apprenticeship training model is new to South Africa but has already been applied with great success in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It is hoped that over a period, it will transform apprenticeship training in this country.
The Dual System is based on the belief that students learn best by having the theoretical knowledge they obtain from a TVET College, reinforced at regular intervals by real-life work experience and training in a structured workplace environment. Over a period of three years students alternate between theory classes at the College and hands-on experience with their Host Employer in block periods of between eight and fourteen weeks. In the workplace students are mentored by a Project Manager, specifically assigned to provide structured training on the focal areas specified in the Training Schedule. 70% of the students’ overall training period is spent with their mentoring host companies. On completing the programme, they sit for the revised A21 Trade Test. All training is based on the QCTO occupational qualification for electricians and plumbers so it is fully accredited.
The electrical DSPP was launched recently at EEC and the first twenty-five students have already been placed with their host companies where they will gain invaluable work-based exposure. The plumbing DSPP is scheduled for early 2017. All facilitators are fully qualified and training also takes place in the College state-of-the-art workshops so that students are familiar with the machinery when they go into the workplace. Apprentices for this pilot project are selected from a pool of NCV Level 3 and Level 4 students currently enrolled at the participating TVET Colleges. The Lead Employer (SACCI) is responsible for the students’ stipends, annual medical assessments and Trade Test fees, as well as providing students with a standard electrician’s or plumber’s toolbox
The Principal of EEC, Ms Happy Sibande, emphasised the significance of the dual aspect of this system. Without the crucial participation of the hosting companies, it would not be possible to offer a vocational artisan programme such as this. It is the preparation for the workplace and offering specifically a quality vocational education which sets a TVET College apart from a school. The College is particularly appreciative of the support offered by all the host companies who assist by taking students for either short periods of work-based learning or up to eighteen and twenty-four month internships. EEC’s partnerships with the relevant companies enabled the College to place all twenty-five students selected for the programme in the workplace