Vocational Skills Training

Amy Foundation – African German Youth Initiative

International Conference

27 August 2020

Exploring Vocational Skills programmes in South Africa in partnership with Germany

This project is implemented in the framework of the AGYI Innovation Fund

The Amy Foundation plans to launch a Vocational Skills Training (VST) programme to combat the scourge of youth unemployment in South Africa. According to Statistics SA, unemployment in the 15 – 34 year age group stood at 40% at the end of 2019, while the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates unemployment amongst 15 to 24 year olds to have been 53% in 2019.

Whichever way you slice it, our youth are in crisis! They are also the hardest hit by job losses in the current economic downturn created by the coronavirus pandemic, and are now being referred to as the ‘lockdown generation.

As a Foundation we see an urgent need to ramp up our interventions in this area. 

Since 2014, the Amy Foundations Youth Skills Development programme has been training young people aged 18 – 35 years in hospitality, beauty and wellness, arts and crafts and, more recently, technical skills. Working with development partners, we have placed more than 800 alumni in employment and self-employment in the past six years. The Amy Foundation also runs After School Programmes (ASP) in under-serviced townships in Cape Town, with more than 10 000 primary and high school learners having gone through our arts and culture, sports, life skills and academic support programmes over the years.

The aim now is to bridge the gap between our two existing programmes by introducing vocational skills to our grade 9 – 12 high schoolers early and motivate them to take this up as an option for a future career path. We will also be reaching out to our ASP alumni and look for ways to include them in this programme. We were encouraged by the visit, in February this year, by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, to discuss collaboration between our two countries to help boost vocational training in South Africa.

We are looking to partner with government, industry and other likeminded organisations to ramp up our countrys focus on VST and we plan to have an online conference in August to have a meaningful engagement on what the way forward should look like. 

The objectives of the conference are the following:

  • To highlight the importance of an effective Vocational Skills Training infrastructure for South Africa to combat the high level of youth unemployment.
  • To create awareness of best practice Vocational Skills programmes that South Africa can learn from.
  • To contribute towards removing of stigma associated with VST as a viable career path and encourage South African youth to pursue this option.
  • To create partnerships in Vocational Skills Training.
  • To showcase what the Amy Foundation is currently doing and planning to do further in terms of VST.

Lessons learnt from this important knowledge exchange will be well documented in a learning brief will be shared with conference participants.

Other partners who wish to replicate this programme will have access to the learning brief and can adapt it to fit their local context.


Ivor Baatjes

Ivor Baatjes is Director of the Centre for Integrated Post-School Education and Training (CIPSET), Nelson Mandela University and served as Chair of the Education Policy Consortium (EPC).

He has worked in all the subsectors of the post-school education and training sector. His research interests include adult and community education; higher education; workers education; and learning in social movements.

Ivor was Senior Researcher at the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation (CERT) at the University of Johannesburg and previously Director of the Centre for Adult Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). He also served as policy maker in the Adult Education and Training Directorate of the National Department of Education in the mid-1990s, and served on Ministerial and Departmental Task Teams. He was the founder and country Director of the Paulo Freire Institute – South Africa and continues to serve as a member of the international advisors to the Paulo Freire Institute (Brazil). 

His most recent research and work include:

Baatjes, I (with Geduld, D., & Sathorar, H.). (2020). Preparing Foundation Phase Education: Reading the word and the world through transect walks, pp, 15-26. In Kirylo, J. (Ed). Reinventing Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Contemporary critical perspectives. London: Bloomsbury.

Baatjes, I. & Baatjes, B. (2019). The struggles of adult educators in South Africa continues. Adult Education and Development. DVV International.

Baatjes, I. (2019). Learning in a Student-driven Collective. Paper prepared as part of MERSETA Research. Port Elizabeth: CIPSET, NMU.

Baatjes, I. (Ed). (with Baatjes, B., Balwanz, D., Harley, A., & Leurquain-Steyn, S.). (2018). Learning for Living: a new vision for post-school learning in South Africa. Cape Town: HSRC Press.

Baatjes, I. (2018). Policy issues: community and vocational education: a discussion document with policy communities. Port Elizabeth: CIPSET, NMU.

Baatjes, I. (2018). Curriculum innovation: addressing community needs. Port Elizabeth: CIPSET, NMU.

Baatjes, I. Baduza, U. & Sibiya, A.T. (2014). Towards a transformative pedagogy of vocational education in South Africa. In Motala, E & Vally, S. Education, Economy and Society. Pretoria: UNISA Press.

Yorck Dieter Wurms

Yorck Wurms holds a degree of a Diplom-Handelslehrer (University Mannheim/Germany) and a Masters in Africa studies of the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein/South Africa). He has gained over 7 years of experiences in working in the field of Migration. He worked from 2016 until 2018 as a seconded national expert (SNE) to the DG Migration and Home within the unit “Irregular Migration and Return.” In addition, he has worked for over 15 years in South Africa in the field of vocational training and sports development. During his time in South Africa he also managed the partnership between Lower Saxony (Germany) and the Eastern Cape (South Africa) for 7 years. His professional life started as a vocational teacher in Rheinland-Pfalz.

During his time as an SNE he worked in the areas of return, readmission and smuggling. He developed the structure for the handbook for return counseling as well as a harmonized workflow for return which is being offered as an IT-tool to all Member states and NGOs. This tool includes a monitoring and evaluation function to assess the return and reintegration process of the returnee.

He prepared and took part in the negotiations of the practical agreement to improve the readmission process to The Gambia and oversaw the implementation of the agreement. He was the back-up for the cooperation on readmission with Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Yorck Wurms reported regularly about his work to the Member States and civil society in various working groups. He contributed to the communications and the legislative proposals of the European Commission. On several files (The Gambia, harmonization of return) he cooperated very closely with the European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN).

He served as a member of the committee overseeing the implementation of an information campaign in Afghanistan and of the evaluation committee for a tender for information campaigns against irregular migration in The Gambia. He also started the development of a Curriculum for Return and Readmission.

Before working for the European Commission, he was the policy officer for Home Affairs at the representation of Lower Saxony to the European Union (2012 – 2016). He was mandated by the German Bundesrat to participate in the council working group “High Level Asylum and Migration” as well the Working party “Visa”.

Between 2005 and 2012 he worked as representative of Lower Saxony in the Eastern Cape (South Africa), overseeing the partnership between the two provinces. During this time, he set up and managed a volunteer program for young Germans to work for one year at primary schools in the Eastern Cape. He supported the reform of the vocational training system in the Eastern Cape in cooperation with the GIZ and the Ministry of Education of Lower Saxony. Most challenging during this time was to implement sustainable projects in the nearly dysfunctional environment of the Eastern Cape.

His professional life started as business economics teacher at vocational college from 1995-1997.

Currently he is working as a consultant specialized in delivering workshops the field of return and reintegration. He has conducted workshops on these aspects in Kosovo, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Germany and Cyprus.

Isabella Hlabangu

Head of Department: Training & CSR

Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC – Dual Vocational Training in South Africa based on the German model.

Isabella is responsible for the management of the CATS Program (Dual vocational training in Business Administration), driving the extension of the CATS Program to Cape Town and Zambia and coordinating Namibia, raising and managing Corporate Social Responsibility projects as implemented by Member companies through the Chamber, implementation of various Dual Vocational Projects in support of Companies to reduce unemployment (i.e. Mechatronics Training, Logistics Management, Agriculture and Water Management related vocational training and Training of Lectures from TVET Colleges) and responsible for building bilateral relationships on Vocational Education projects between South Africa and Germany.

She completed a Dual Vocational Programme in Business Administration through the Chamber in 2003, holds a BCom – Human Resources Management and recently completed a Post Graduate in Educational Management. She has more than 15 years Human Resources experience in the Engineering and Energy Industries. At the Chamber since 2016 as HOD: Training and CSR, where she the opportunity change one life at a time.

Isabella is a product of Dual Vocational training in herself in South Africa and she knows first-hand the doors such opportunities can open and the lives it can change. She is passionate about skills development and training and sees this as her true Vocation.

Nigel Prinsloo

Nigel Prinsloo is a lecturer and researcher specialising in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

He works for the Institute for Post School Studies at the University of the Western Cape and over the past few years he has been involved in a number of initiatives related to the development and support of RPL as well as the TVET and the Adult Education and Training (ACET) sectors. Nigel also teaches at a local Community College.

Premier Alan Winde

Premier Winde is unable to attend in person and will deliver a pre-recorded video message.

Premier Winde has previously served as the provincial Minister of Finance, Minister of Economic Opportunities and Minister of Community Safety. He was first elected to serve as an MPL in 1999, a position he held for 10 years before the Democratic Alliance was voted into power in the province.

His campaign for the premiership was centred on improving economic and household prosperity by getting the basics right, such as education and healthcare, and improving safety and public transport for all the residents of our province. He has further committed to improving the efficiency of government service delivery through innovation and new technology.

Short biography

  • Date of birth: 18 March 1965.
  • Before Alan Winde began his career in politics, he started and successfully operated 10 businesses in his home town of Knysna.
  • In 1996, he ran as an independent candidate and was successfully elected to the South Cape District Council.
  • Following this, he was approached by the leadership of the Democratic Alliance to run for Provincial Parliament in the Western Cape, a responsibility and challenge he gladly accepted.
  • Between 1999 and 2009, he served in various political roles, including as Chief Whip of the official opposition and Western Cape Provincial Finance Chairperson.
  • In 2009, following the DA’s victory in the provincial election, he became the Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism.
  • In 2014, the Democratic Alliance retained the Western Cape. Alan Winde took up the position of Minister of Economic Opportunities, in charge of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism. On 1 November 2018, he became the Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, and on 10 May 2019, following a campaign which spanned communities across the province, he became the Premier-Elect of the Western Cape.
  • He enjoys spending time with his wife, Tracy, and children, Jason and Lauren. In his spare time, he’s a keen cyclist and coffee drinker. He serves on the governing body of his daughter’s school.

Cassie Kruger

Cassie Kruger is a qualified teacher and holds degrees from the University of Stellenbosch as well as University of Cape Town.

In Jan 1994 Mr Kruger was appointed as the Principal of the then South Peninsula Technical College.  

On 01 October 2003 he was appointed as CEO of False Bay TVET College.

On 01 July 2019 he was appointed as the DHET Regional Manager for the Western and Northern Cape

Mr Kruger has served on various professional bodies and community structures and Ministerial Task Teams

. Amongst others he served as:

  • A Board member of SA Society of Co-operative Education (SASCE)
  • A Trustee of the Access Trust
  • A Ministerial Appointee on the Council of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and served amongst others, on the Senate of the University, Search and Selection Committee for Senior Appointments
  • A Ministerial Appointee on the Council on Higher Education (CHE) – Current


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