Energy Sector Education and Training Authority
The Energy Sector Education and Training Authority (ESETA) is set to change slightly when the South African Government’s new SETA landscape kicks in during March 2011. They will become one of 15 SETAs that will be recertified with minor changes as part of the Government’s endeavour to prioritize steps towards better education and training for all – and within all economic sectors.
According to an announcement made by the Government and National Skills Authority (NSA) of South Africa in November 2009, the Electrical Contractors sub-sector within ESATA will be transferred to the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) and matters relating to the distribution of water will be transferred from the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA). This makes perfect sense since electrical work (as opposed to electricity supply) is very much a part of the construction industry, and ESATA has always been a skills development authority operating within both the energy and water sectors. In any case, ESATA has been dealing with water issues for the past five years.
ESATA’s role to date
Like all SETAs that have been functioning in terms of the 1998 Skills Development and Skills Development Levies Acts since 2000, ESATA has been focusing on its own particular sector, analyzing and developing the appropriate qualifications and learning programmes that are needed by the sector. These relate to everything from a short course option to much more complicated college courses and university degrees. This is because the area of expertise covered by those working for or aiming to work within the electricity and energy sector is in part, highly specialised.
Up until now the relevant sub-sectors have been:
- nuclear power,
- renewable energy,
- electrical contracting which now becomes a sub-sector within the CETA because it is more relevant to construction, and
- water, which will now formally include water distribution, previously handled by the LGSETA.
While not all workers need to be highly qualified, there is a real need for well qualified and professional people. By improving the general levels of education and training for this sector, the industry itself will be much better off. As it is, the energy sector within South Africa is currently facing more challenges probably than any other economic sector.
For the past decade, since it was founded in 2000, this SETA’s targeted focus has been on:
- collecting information about skills development needs,
- identifying and developing training programmes and qualifications,
- partnering with the relevant stakeholders and groups interested and committed to the energy sector, and
- facilitating specific skills development to meet the needs of the sector.
ESATA has conducted significant research in the labour market in an endeavour to fulfil their Sector Skills Plan of action. This research material has been benchmarked through a variety of Workplace Skills Plans and Annual Training Reports.
Based on this research, ESATA is able to identify the needs of those in the sector who want to gain the necessary skills, education and training necessary for employment within the sector. The information gathered by ESATA has enabled them to facilitate the development and implementation of a variety of learning programmes including ABET programmes, skills programmes, apprenticeships, and learnerships (which in some ways are similar to apprenticeships).
Opportunities for learners
ESATA is in a position to recommend learnerships and guide those already in the industry who want to further their education and training, as well as their skills. These learners are urged to contact ESATA to find out more about issues relating to the workplace experience, apprenticeships, discretionary grants and bursaries, as well as the most suitable – preferably accredited – college courses they can register for.
Where to find ESATA
The Energy Sector Education and Training Authority is based in the centre of Johannesburg, Gauteng.
Telephone: (011) 689 5300
Fax: (011) 689 5343/5342