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Higher Education News South Africa

Artisan training offers quick access to employment

Youth should consider careers as artisans, particularly given the 50% failure rate at university, indicating that many are out of their depth.
Artisan training offers quick access to employment

Sean Jones, CEO of black empowered Artisan Training Institute (ATI), says, “If students opt to enrol for artisan training, they will get an apprentice placement with an employer from the time of enrolment and earn a stipend, from the employer, in their first year of training. Almost all our learners are assigned to an employer from enrolment stage.”

Frequently, students will study at university for three to four years and, upon graduation, many struggle to obtain gainful employment. Graduates in most cases earn rock bottom salaries, as there is an oversupply of their skill and knowledge offering. Many, with degrees who are not absorbed into large corporate companies, end up working as waiters or other semi-skilled jobs, such as sales assistants or security.

Artisans, however, are almost guaranteed formal employment and, upon graduation can earn R20,000 to R25,000 per month, which is more than most university graduates will earn. “The economy desperately needs these mid-level skills – artisans are a vital cog of the economy.”

Additionally, becoming an artisan – whether it is as a nurse, baker, electrician, diesel mechanic or tractor technician for example, is a springboard to other careers in engineering, sales, training, management or entrepreneurship.

Jones says it is a pity that many families eschew the vocational training option, as there is a far greater need for artisans than for university graduates. The irony is that many jobs in the corporate world will simply disappear in the very near future. However, there will always be jobs for artisans.

“Mechanisation coupled with smart production technologies is on the increase. This will lead to a plunge in semi-skilled jobs. It goes deeper than that, as innovators are constantly coming out with disruptive technologies including apps, 3D printing solutions, robotics and nanotechnology as examples, eliminating many occupations. Uber has disrupted the marketplace in the taxi industry as an example, even competing strongly with the ‘yellow cabs’ in the United States, whilst many 3D printing companies have disrupted, and/or enhanced many traditional manufacturing companies.

“Another example is estate agents, who are slowly being made redundant. More and more tech-savvy people are selling, buying and renting properties on-line. Many occupations, in the near future, will no longer exist – but artisans are the bedrock of the economy and will always be needed. There needs to be a mindset shift in South Africa, both from our educational institutions and the broader population,” concludes Jones.

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