The HRDC was established in March 2010 with the goal to improve the foundation of human resources in South Africa by focusing on economic and social demands as well as skills development.
Our Founding History
In March 2006, the South African government decided to establish a short-term skills intervention initiative within the office of the Deputy President. The rationale for this decision was that the government recognised that education and skills development is key to driving socio-economic growth in order to substantially reduce poverty, inequality and unemployment.
The government recognised that while long-term improvement in HRD takes time, an urgent need existed to address priority skills areas immediately, grow the economy and improve labour absorption. The government also pointed out that, in order to be successful, this would require a collaborative effort on behalf of government and all its social partners.
In support of the above a Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) was established under the leadership of the then Deputy President as a high-level task team to accelerate human resources and skills development in priority skills areas to support the national growth initiative. JIPSA did not duplicate existing structures but rather set priorities, identified and resolved systems blockages and constraints, and monitored and reported on progress. It also sought to align the training and skills development efforts of the public and private sectors without undermining the development and implementation of longer-term HRD strategies.
The distinguishing feature of JIPSA was that it represented a specific joint venture by government, business and labour to make a critical difference to skills provision over the short and medium terms, in direct response to identified skills needs in the economy and to promote labour absorption. JIPSA focused the attention of key government departments and bodies – such as the SETAs and public education and training providers – on the achievement of core national objectives. It called upon business leadership to ensure that the private sector played an active and energetic role in the provision of priority skills, and it called upon organised labour to throw its weight behind a shared priority skills agenda.
JIPSA, in short, was a joint initiative of government, business and labour to fast-track the provision of priority skills required to support accelerated and shared growth in South Africa. JIPSA did not duplicate the roles of existing government departments, statutory bodies and institutions, but sought to establish mutually agreed priorities, improve communication and the flow of information between the relevant bodies, identify and address problems and bottlenecks, and monitor and report on progress against agreed targets.
JIPSA also provided information and practical experience that informed the establishment of the Human Resource Development Council of South Africa in March 2010, which is a much longer-term strategy that aims to meet the country’s social and economic development needs.