Leon Beech, Northlink College Principal, speaking at the Gala Dinner

In response to addressing the theme of the conference, the presenters covered various aspects of addressing challenges facing our environment.

We heard that we need to engage with industry a lot more and be creative in our approach to empowering our institutions and learners, and that we need to consider changing our DNA to be more responsive. There were presentations by a few speakers on new and innovative management systems that we could implement that would assist us in capturing and reporting data more effectively and efficiently, whilst we were also reminded that we cannot do without “the internet of things”. Technology and its impact was unavoidable – and we need to keep pace!

The structure of our classrooms, our engagements with learners, the approach by our educators and delivery staff needs to be evolving continuously to remain relevant, and we need to create more platforms for direct engagement with industry, since we need to know what our customers want before we offer them our service. DHET and QCTO gave updates on their progress in meeting the demands of the sector.

We were reminded that Apprenticeships are growing and showing exceptional results, and this platform of delivery is the most successful currently. The Western Cape Government Game-Changer programme was also celebrated and gave credence to the funding behind it.

The challenges of HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence was again sharply brought into focus and the growth and success of peer-to-peer counselling was reflected upon. This area of focus was well articulated.

Mr Leon Beech, representing Northlink College, who have been accorded the Host College status for the next few conferences, spoke at the Gala Cocktail function about the changing dynamics in the TVET sector. He lamented the funding challenges, reflected on the impact of the “Fees Must Fall” crisis currently playing itself out, as well as the curtailing of student intakes at the TVET colleges in 2017. All of these factors contribute to the enormous task that lies ahead for the TVET sector, and the message is clear: “Adapt or Die” if you want to continue to be effective in this sector!

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