The impact, challenges and opportunities of the national qualifications framework on the automobile industry.
The promulgation of the South African Qualifications Authority Act, 1995, will transform the way in which learning is designed, developed, implemented, managed, assessed and evaluated. Many different organisations, institutions, industries and sectors understand the guiding principles and concepts of this Act but are grappling with all the forces and factors that impact and influence the implementation of the Act. The Act introduces the National Qualifications Framework, which will impact on learning and present many challenges and opportunities for education and training and development practitioners in South Africa. Because of the newness of this Act, many organisations, institutions, industries and sectors are in the process of waiting until all the relevant South African Qualifications Authority structures are in place before embarking upon some sort of action. Traditionally, most learning has been 'inputs' based (course content, course duration, course entrance requirements and course methodology). The South African Qualifications Authority Act, 1995, will refocus learning to 'outputs' (outcomes), with a fundamental shift in thinking about the way in which learning is designed, developed, implemented, assessed and evaluated. This shift may be described as "it does not matter where, when or how one learns, but what one learns, why one learns and if one has learnt". The South African Qualifications Authority Act, 1995, will also transform learning organisations in the way they plan and do things. The seven automobile manufacturers, together with the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA), are challenged with these paradigm shifts. This dissertation was therefore concerned with these central issues in 'operationalising' the principles and concepts of the National Qualifications Framework within the automobile industry. The study revealed that most of the organisations in the automobile industry: • Are not well enough informed about the latest developments of the South African Qualifications Authority; • Do not necessarily have access to current, relevant and reliable information about the National Qualifications Framework; • Are all dedicated to uplifting the knowledge, skills and abilities of their staff through their 'multi-skilling model' for education and training and development; and • Support the underlying principles and concepts of the National Qualifications Framework. The automobile industry is therefore presented with many challenges and opportunities for the provision of education, training and development. Some challenges and opportunities for the automobile industry are: • The need to refocus education and training and development programmes/projects to ensure national alignment and international comparability; • The need to develop education, training and development staff in line with the 10 education, training and development practitioner roles; • The need to keep abreast with national initiatives impacting education and training and development.