South Africa’s proposed new engineering qualifications

The new occupational engineering qualifications proposed by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) are being phased in to improve graduates’ chances of securing employment.

According to QCTO CEO Vijayen Naidoo, these new qualifications are meant to replace the older National Accredited Technical Education Diplomas (NATED), which are currently being phased out.

An occupational qualification is a “qualification associated with a trade, occupation or profession resulting from work-based learning,” according to the QCTO.

The QCTO says that these qualifications yield a high chance of employment due to the element of work experience and that they are industry demand-driven.

This is why the organisation must ensure old qualifications are updated in line with an industry’s demands.

“Our goal is to improve the overall quality and relevance of vocational education and training in South Africa,” Naidoo told MyBroadband.

“New qualifications should provide graduates with a better chance of securing employment after graduation by equipping them with the specific skills employers are looking for.”

Naidoo says that the QCTO and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) aim to align industry demands and qualifications.

Therefore, both bodies are working on a transition plan to shift towards a more current qualification system that aligns with industry needs.

This includes replacing qualifications and reviewing and realigning old NATED curricula. The structure and content will be updated to reflect current industry requirements.

The proposed qualifications are five electrical and two mechanical engineering qualifications, which are shown in the table below.

The two mechanical engineering qualifications’ curriculums will be new and will not replace an older NATED programme.

These are indicated in the table as NQR.

Two electrical engineering qualifications, the electrical equipment maintenance specialist and the electrical engineering draftsperson, will also be new.

The remaining engineering qualifications, which are occupational diplomas, will replace outdated NATED programmes, indicated as RROQ.

These are the electronic engineering technician and the two electrical engineering technician qualifications.

No. Qualification/ Part-qualification Qualification type Qualification descriptor NQF level Credits Curriculum code **RHRQ/ RROQ/ RRPQ/ NQR
1  Qualification Occupational diploma Electronic engineering technician (automation) 6 418  311401-001-00-00 RROQ
2  Qualification Occupational certificate Electrical equipment maintenance specialist 6 121  311401-001-00-01 NQR
3  Qualification Advanced occupational certificate Electrical engineering draftsperson 6 159 311401-001-00-01 NQR
4  Qualification Occupational diploma Electrical engineering technician (automation) 6 431 311301-001-00-00 RROQ
5  Qualification Occupational diploma  Electrical engineering technician (automation) 6 417  311501-001-00-00 RROQ
6  Qualification Advanced occupational certificate Mechanical designer 6 185 311501-001-00-02 NQR
7  Qualification Advanced occupational certificate Mechanical maintainer and repairer 6 233 311501-002-00-01 NQR
**RHRQ: Replace historically registered qualification RROQ: Replace registered occupational qualification  RRPQ: Replace registered part qualification NQR: No qualification replacement

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South Africa’s proposed new engineering qualifications