200 unemployed youth to be made made SME trainers

The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) is leading an initiative that will train 200 unemployed youths and turn them into Entrepreneurial Development Practitioners (EDPs).

The programme designed to advance SME skills across South Africa is a joint between SEDA, the Department of Higher Education and Training’s National Skills Fund (NSF), and German Government agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.

The youths will be recruited and trained for seven-and-a-half months in the different selected implementation sites.  Once certified as competent Entrepreneurial Development Practitioners (EDPs) they will be employed by training providers and each will train ten budding entrepreneurs on basic entrepreneurial skills for eighteen months.  The Programme is expected to provide entrepreneurial skills support to 2000 emerging entrepreneurs over four years. The training for EDPs is linked to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

Seda CEO, Hlonela Lupuwana, said the aim of the programme is long term and goes beyond just the eighteen month service for the EDPs.  “Linking the training to the NQF ensures that the candidates have something to build on for the future.

“We also believe that many of the trained EDPs will have the opportunity to find employment with the training provider responsible for the Programme roll out after their eighteen month service.  We also plan to draw from this pool of young people for our own Cadet Programme at Seda,” explains Lupuwana.

The programme is in line with the National Skills Development Strategy III (NSDS III), which guides the use of the skills levy received by the NSF and Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). NSDS makes a point that skills development is not just about training people for employment, but must also empower people to create opportunities to make a living for themselves. “In that spirit, the NSF funds the programme, while Seda provides quality assurance for the programme through its Accredited Learning Academy.  The programme also receives technical assistance (like advice and support via long and short term expertise) provided by GIZ”.

The SEDA statement said the training approach adopted uses coaching as an innovative methodology to facilitate and reinforce learning and development support to emerging entrepreneurs.  The key features of the methodology include one-on-one coaching and situational learning; long term non-invasive training delivery at the business premises; flexible and demand-led training programme; and networking and cooperation with other private and public organisations.

The SEDA statement said this stands in strong contrast to the conventional approach of classroom-based training, where the emphasis is on teaching and not on demand-led practicalities borne out of the realities facing an emerging entrepreneur.

The BESD Programme will be started in a first phase in the North West, Gauteng, and Free State Provinces.  The second phase of implementation will see a roll out of the Programme in the remaining Provinces.

Advertisements will be placed in community media during August to invite applications.  All shortlisted applicants will undergo a rigorous selection process.

For more information go to www.seda.org.za

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