Tourism Plan to Outline Scarce Skills Needed

By Michael Appel

A Tourism Skills Sector Plan for 2008/09 is to increase South Africa's skills base by outlining the scarce skills required in the tourism industry. 'We never told universities and technikons what we needed, or what skills were scarce at the time,' said South African Tourism chief executive officer (CEO) Moeketsi Mosola.

Tertiary education, CEO Mosola said, needs to know that the skills they are providing are in line with what is required in the industry. '... so the Tourism Sector Skills Plan (SSP) 2008/09 is the first step in a long process of building the skills resource base in South Africa,' he said.

Mosola met with key tourism stakeholders as well as the department of labour to unveil the plan. The SSP is a guideline document containing sector skills priorities for implementation by all key stakeholders through developing and implementing Workplace Skills Plans (WSP) at enterprise level. Industries are therefore being urged to endorse the document, support the process and most importantly, implement the SSP.

According to the SSP document, 'data analysed from the WSP indicates that employment within the sector has grown by 7.2 percent in 2004, 14.3 percent in 2005 and 10.6 percent in 2006. 'The indication is that the entire industry employs less than one percent of the disabled and 1.2 percent of learners seeking experiential learning. It was also observed that in 2005 62 percent of senior managers were white and 22 percent were black.

'One of the key objectives of the plan is to ensure a positive impact on social legacy through advancing the tourism competitiveness agenda to support objective of creating jobs, growth and equity,' Mosola said. Representing Employment Services at the department, skills expert Dr Florus Prinsloo said the SSP is a management tool to identify scarce and critical skills for the economy, and affords training institutions the opportunity to know exactly where to put their money.

Prinsloo highlighted that over a period of 18 months his department has codified every possible occupation in South Africa, and the codes as well as the profession is all contained in the SSP documenting which skills are required. The SSP 2008/09 has been endorsed by the Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority, and holds the key to expanding and growing the country's skill base making South Africa one of the world's most desirable tourism destinations.

Mosola also announced that SA Tourism will be unveiling a National Tourism Career Fair later this year. 'The Fair will communicate with children that they can indeed be a professional in the tourism industry and will highlight career opportunities. 'The skills of 2020 need to be developed today, and the nationwide fair will go along way towards strengthening skills in tourism in South Africa,' said Mosola. - BuaNews



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