The recent incorporation of South Africa’s electronic media, film and advertising sub-sectors from the defunct Media Advertising Publishing Printing Packaging-Sector Education Training Authority (MAPPP-Seta) into the newly formed Media Information Communication Technologies (MICT) Seta has brought many challenges.
A big point of confusion is that, while electronic media and film now fall under the MICT Seta, the print media sub-sector has been incorporated into the Fibre Processing & Manufacturing (FP&M) Seta. However, the MICT Seta has undertaken to do its best not to let the new landscape affect stakeholders negatively. Constituents from the former MAPPP-Seta are reportedly happy with their interaction with the new Seta thus far.
As per Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, the MICT Seta was formed on 1 April and incorporates the former Information Systems, Electronics and Telecommunications Technologies (ISETT) Seta, working within the ICT sector.
A road show on 2 and 3 June at the Midrand Conference Centre introduced the new MICT Seta, with the purpose of facilitating skills development in media, advertising and ICT, to stakeholders.
South African Screen Federation (SASFED) board member Michael Lee attended the road show and said that the MICT Seta has been “really impressive’ so far. “Their road show ran on time, was well organised, and they listened to our comments. They have struck us as ethical, straightforward, and serious about their mandate,’ says Lee.
MICT Seta CEO Oupa Mopaki emphasises that the Seta wants to be driven by its stakeholders. “With regard to administration, all qualifications that relate to film, electronic media and advertising have been successfully transferred to the MICT Seta, putting us in a position to accredit aspirant training providers and to register assessors and moderators and issue competency certificates to learners against those qualifications.
“All the projects that were transferred from the MAPPP-Seta to MICT are progressing very well, with project monitoring and evaluation running smoothly without any glitches. In fact most of the service providers have commended us on our systems,’ says Mopaki.
He notes that a big challenge was sharing the MICT funding model with the stakeholders from the film, electronic media and advertising sub-sectors. “A lot of displeasure was expressed and we duly took note of that,’ says Mopaki.
According to SASFED’s Lee most of the challenges of the new landscape relate to the specific way the film and broadcast industry functions. This includes the fact that the MICT Seta is focusing on employers as the main point of their activities.
“Our industry is not employer-employee driven but freelance and independent driven. The skills development plans and Workplace Skills Plans (WSPs) do not address the majority of the industry, and furthermore, most companies are small and do not have the time or resources to dedicate themselves to the process. This causes a huge skewing of the information the Seta receives and the industry representatives they naturally interact with,’ explains Lee.
He believes this is especially true in the area of scarce skills: “I think everyone at the road show from the film industry was startled to see that the MAPPP-Seta reported video editing as a scarce skill in the industry. This is one of the least scarce skills I can think of.’
However, according to Lee the freelance nature of the film industry was one of the issues discussed at length when two top Seta representatives visited their school, the Academy of Screen Arts, recently. “They proposed that there should be on-going communication with industry stakeholders, even those who are not employers and don’t necessarily fit as a direct constituency of the Seta. This should help the Seta to understand the industry better and be able to interact with it more appropriately,’ says Lee.
Mopaki confirmed that the Seta plans to engage with stakeholders continuously by having round table discussions on the matter. “Suggestions that came through at the road show regarding the employers / training providers forums were formerly recorded and are being followed up with a view to implementing them,’ says Mopaki.