UP offers adult education and training to all its employees

Posted on September 26, 2020

“This means a totally new life story for individuals who would have lost hope at some point but now have wings to fly again,” says Enid Thue, project manager of UP’s Adult Education and Training programme.

In response to the objectives set out by the National Skills Development Act of 1996, and the National Development Plan, UP established Adult Education and Training (AET) centres across its Hatfield, Hillcrest and Onderstepoort campuses to offer training to all its employees. UP is an institution of higher learning that has both a social and moral responsibility towards all employees, including general workers, cleaners, security personnel and any others who have the desire to go back to school and transform their lives for the better, says Enid Thue, project manager. “On a much bigger scale, this means a totally new life story for individuals who would have lost hope at some point but now have wings to fly again and experience the world in a different light,” she adds.

This is a great opportunity for individuals to reconstruct their lives and aspire to go further by empowering themselves to take advantage of available opportunities. The focus is on skills development to bridge the skills gap among non-academic staff at UP.

The AET programme is run in partnership with Media Works, an accredited, credible and experienced training provider. Candidates first go through the assessment process to determine their level of competency, before being placed on any of the four AET levels to begin with.

The programme involves computer-assisted learning and learner-facilitator interaction. Individuals attend a minimum of three hours per week on a rotational basis in line with a set timetable that accommodates operational needs. They have a facilitator on site to assist them; the facilitator focuses on each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, thus allowing each person to progress at his/her own pace without the pressure of having to keep up with the rest of the group.

Once exam readiness has been established, individuals qualify for examinations with national accredited examination bodies such as the Independent Examinations Board. UP’s partnership with Mediaworks has consistently produced a pass rate of over 85% for the past five years.

AET success depends largely on both the commitment of the trainees and involvement of line managers as mentors and coaches. Effective facilitation cannot be understated.

Those who complete all six prescribed learning areas obtain a full NQF level 1 qualification. This means they are fully functionally literate (can read and write with understanding) and that they are ready to begin with their matric studies.

It is not easy to juggle work and class attendance, so it is commendable that those who have taken up adult education rise above adversity to make it work. COVID-19 could not deter them either: the Hatfield and Hillcrest AET cohort took it upon themselves to explore continuing with their classes via WhatsApp.

- Author Jimmy Masombuka

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