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Fibre processing SETA pins hopes on 4IR

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo
Johannesburg, 08 Dec 2023
Dr Felleng Yende, CEO of the FP&M SETA.
Dr Felleng Yende, CEO of the FP&M SETA.

Fourth industrial revolution (4IR) technologies are anchoring the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority’s (FP&M SETA’s) drive to upskill learners in South Africa.

This emerged during its annual general meeting (AGM), when the SETA marked its achievements over the 2022/2023 period alongside various stakeholders from across the 13 sub-sectors the organisation serves.

The day’s theme of “Unleashing tomorrow’s skills – navigating the tech- and innovation-driven future of the FP&M SETA” highlighted the organisation’s successes in the 4IR and innovation spaces.

The FP&M SETA was founded by the minister of higher education and training in 2011, to promote job creation and economic growth by coordinating the development and implementation of the sector’s training and education strategy.

It also seeks to implement the objectives of the National Skills Development Plan, and bolster the critical or scarce skills required to build the sector’s capacity, making it more economically sustainable and globally competitive.

“We are fortunate to have the support of government and industry partners who often speak our praises in rooms where we’re not present. The incredible work that the FP&M SETA does for disadvantaged people and communities across the country would not be possible without these key supporters,” said Dr Felleng Yende, CEO of the FP&M SETA.

“As part of our 4IR strategy, we’ve harnessed the power of technology to revolutionise the learning experience and meet the demands of an interconnected world.

“We have implemented a number of far-reaching and impactful collaborations with industry partners and other SETAs. Additionally, with support from each of these stakeholders, I am proud to say the FP&M SETA has, for the eighth time in 10 years, achieved a clean, unqualified audit from the auditor general, adding to our other accomplishments this year.”

Dr Yende and her team officially released the SETA’s annual report 2022/2023 during the AGM.

The report noted 3 269 learners had successfully completed learnerships, and employers provided 2 808 learners with opportunities to register or complete work experience.

The SETA committed approximately R9.7 million to assist students’ progress, or complete their studies at higher education institutions.

According to the SETA, 1 318 students benefitted from bursary grants.

It says it achieved total revenue of R398.7 million for the year, surpassing the previous year’s R363.4 million.

The FP&M SETA launched its online learning portal this year, allowing learners from across the country to benefit from the organisation’s training and upskilling offerings.

During the period, it initiated and continued learnership-focused programmes that teach fibre processing and manufacturing skills to people in disadvantaged and, often, underserved communities.

Additionally, the SETA introduced various 4IR concepts and tools, such as drone technology, virtual reality, robotics, high-speed WiFi and 3D printers to the Richmond community through the expansion of the Indaleni Centre.

“We are not only a skills development contributor. We are a catalyst for change – a SETA which uplifts South Africans who had been denied opportunities by providing them with the knowledge and tools to find employment or become employers themselves. We want our people to thrive and not just survive, so they can go on to teach others to do the same,” concluded Dr Yende.