Water Research Commission (WRC) and the Energy and Water Sector Education Training Authority (EWSETA) sign a collaboration agreement to drive a coherent Water Skills Ecosystem and Pipeline in South Africa
Highly water secure countries share three common features. They have high investments in knowledge solutions, they have well maintained infrastructure and they focus on nurturing talent and skills. This reality makes the Water Research Commission (WRC) and Energy and Water Sector Education Training Authority (EWSETA) well matched partners. With its long-term investments in research, development and innovation and annually supporting an average of 400 students the WRC is one of the key players supporting the development of new knowledge and solutions and supporting an advanced skills pipeline to develop these solutions. The EWSETA has a pivotal role to play in orienting its 353 water sector levy payers towards emerging water solutions and innovations and driving investments in skills and training for the water sector that gears new entrants towards greater work place preparedness and supports existing employees.
Addressing the skills gap in the water sector requires three key interventions. First, we need the many existing water skills interventions in SA to be better coordinated and connected along the skills pipeline. Second, there is a need to link new workplace entrants with opportunities in the water ecosystem for onsite learning and practical experience which is crucial to developing professionals. Third, the content of water sector training needs to equip employees with the ability to be resilient, flexible and prepared for the emerging challenges and solutions of the future.
To streamline the water sector skills pipeline and prepare water sector employees for the water jobs and opportunities of the future, the WRC and EWSETA signed a Collaborative Agreement on 15 March 2017. This collaboration focuses on exploring how to unlock opportunities for exposure to emerging water solutions and innovations using existing bursary, learnership and internship processes. Also, using mechanisms such as the Water Technologies Demonstration Programme we hope to unlock opportunities to expose new water sector entrants to technology demonstrations and management processes. This partnership also allows for the co-creation of new and more relevant mechanisms that will accelerate and streamline the water skills pipeline.
In the signing ceremony, Dhesigen Naidoo the CEO of the WRC emphasised that ‘South Africa’s route to higher water security lies firmly in the arena of human capital development. The lack of sufficient pools of skill and talent remains the number one constraint. This partnership between the WRC and the EWSETA seeks to catalyse our human resource development initiatives. The WRC and the EWSETA will bridge the traditionally Ivory Towers of Academia and the Real world of work to not only develop large new cohorts of water professionals, but a cadre equipped with advanced knowledge as well as the mechanics of the workplace. This will be a vital pillar in ensuring the future water security of the country and its ability to get to the target of universal access to clean water and safe sanitation.’
Errol Gradwell, the CEO of EWSETA, supported this statement emphasising that he “welcomes this partnership with the WRC as it presents the opportunity to synergise activities, address research gaps and questions, focus on career guidance and specialised skills and catalyse new platforms for skills cooperation”.
To find out more about the WRC go to www.wrc.org.za.
Water Research Commission
Private Bag X03, Gezina, 0031, South Africa
Email: email@example.com (Media Relations), firstname.lastname@example.org (Water RDI Roadmap Manager)
PO Box 1273, Houghton, 2041
Email Norah@eseta.org.za (Water Sector Manager)