THE National Qualifications Framework Bill provides for a fully integrated and needs-driven occupational learning system that will meet industry needs.

To achieve that, extensive use will be made of an Organising Framework for Occupations. The Framework will set the base for linking various occupations to specific skills and will help in identifying further training needs.

The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations will use the Framework as the basis for developing occupational qualifications to meet the needs of specific industries.

The Department of Labour, with the help of international organisations, introduced an Organising Framework for Occupations in February 2005 to align all skills development activities in South Africa.

The Framework is a skills-based classification system that encompasses all occupations in South Africa. The classification of occupations is based on skills levels and skills specialisation that make it easy to find a specific occupation within the framework.

A job is seen as a set of roles or tasks to be performed by a worker.

An occupation describes a series of jobs or specialised tasks performed by a worker that can be grouped together for the purpose of this classification.

Identified occupations are classified according to two main criteria, namely skill level and skill specialisation. The concept of a skill is used in the context of competency rather than a description of a task or function.

The skill level of a job or occupation is related to a competent performance of tasks associated with a job or occupation. Skill level is an attribute of an occupation, not of an individual and can be measured by:

  1. Theory
    The level or amount of formal education and/or training.
  2. Work experience
    The amount of previous experience in a related occupation.
  3. Practical application

    The amount of on-the job training usually required to perform the set of tasks required for that occupation competently. Therefore, it is possible to make a comparison between the skill level of an occupation and the required educational level on the National Qualifications Framework.

    With the onset of the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations and the use of the Framework it stands to reason that HR departments will need to align or redesign profiles for all positions or occupations in a company as closely as possible to the description given in the Framework.

    This will be to the benefit of all employees in terms of education and training and will add greatly to the ease of achieving a qualification by means of RPL assessment.

    In addition it will have advantages in terms of competency based recruiting and selection efforts.

    Therefore, occupational qualifications will consist of common or core learning and specialised learning components. These components will replace fundamental, core and elective.

    All of the task or skills components will be core to the qualification and compulsory for a learner.

    In addition, there will be specialisation components to be used by learners as appropriate to the specific occupational requirement.

    A learner will have to achieve foundational mathematical and language representing the minimum proficiency required to be able to engage in occupational learning or as might be required in the context of a specific qualification. These requirements will be on a “fit for purpose” basis.

  4. Des Squire is a managing member at Amsi and Associates. Call: 082 800 9057 or email: des@amsiandassociates.co.za

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