Provider Accreditation – Quality Management and Accreditation Update Sept ’23

By Anelle Rautenbach – Head: Quality Management and Accreditation 

Changes in education and training policies at the government level have influenced the decision to shift responsibilities from Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) to the Quality Council for Trades and Occupation (QCTO). The decision to phase out SETAs and empower the QCTO is driven by strategic alignment with national development goals, such as improving the Country’s workforce skills and addressing unemployment and skills shortages. This shift is necessary to enhance the quality and relevance of qualifications to meet the changing demands of the labour market.  

As a centre of specialization in conservation education, training and skills development, it is paramount that the SAWC’s accreditation remains relevant and up to date. During the third quarter of the year, the SAWC’s Quality Management and Accreditation Department applied to the QCTO for provider registration and programme approval. The QCTO is responsible for quality assurance as well as developing occupational qualifications and setting standards for skills development within South Africa. By aligning new learning programmes with these standards, the SAWC aims to assure potential students, employers, and stakeholders that they are receiving a high standard of education. This accreditation would validate the SAWC’s commitment to excellence in conservation education. 

For several years, the education landscape in South Africa has been evolving at the vocational level. This is part of a broader effort to centralise the management and regulation of occupational qualifications which, in turn, helps to create a more cohesive and standardised system across different sectors. It is for this reason that we ensure that the SAWC’s accreditation remains relevant and up to date. 

Changes in education and training policies at the government level have influenced the decision to shift responsibilities from Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) to the Quality Council for Trades and Occupation (QCTO). The decision to phase out SETAs and empower the QCTO is driven by strategic alignment with national development goals, such as improving the country’s workforce skills and addressing unemployment and skills shortages. This shift is necessary to enhance the quality and relevance of qualifications to meet the changing demands of the labour market.  

During the third quarter of the year, the SAWC’s Quality Management and Accreditation Department applied to the QCTO for provider registration and programme approval. QCTO accreditation will ensure that the courses offered by the SAWC meet national standards of quality and relevance. The QCTO is responsible for quality assurance as well as developing occupational qualifications and setting standards for skills development within South Africa. By aligning new learning programmes with these standards, the SAWC aims to assure potential students, employers, and stakeholders that they are receiving a high standard of education. This accreditation will validate the SAWC’s commitment to excellence in conservation education. 

Furthermore, QCTO accreditation will provide an opportunity for increased recognition both nationally and internationally. When an institution receives QCTO accreditation, it signifies that it has met stringent quality assurance requirements set by the independent body. This recognition lends credibility to the institution’s programmes and graduates, making them more attractive to prospective employers or collaborators within the field of conservation. 

Additionally, obtaining QCTO accreditation will allow the SAWC to contribute directly towards skills development initiatives within South Africa. With this accreditation, the College can participate in various projects aimed at enhancing vocational education and training opportunities. These initiatives often involve providing bursaries to individuals interested in pursuing careers in conservation. By being part of such programmes, the SAWC can make a significant impact on transforming lives while addressing critical skills shortages within the industry. 

Finally, the QCTO accreditation also fosters ongoing improvement and accountability within an institution. The QCTO accreditation process involves regular assessments and evaluations to ensure that the SAWC maintains its high standards. This feedback loop enables continuous improvement in curriculum design, course delivery, and student support services. The College can stay updated on industry trends, adapt to emerging challenges, and incorporate new technologies and learning methodologies as necessary. By being accountable to an external body like the QCTO, the SAWC demonstrates its commitment to continuous growth and development. 

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