The Book

The book in a nutshell

The Skills Handbook captures and summarises in one place everything you need in order to be effectively involved in skills development in South Africa.

It is bi-annual and it is a reference book. It  covers foundational concepts, key developments, the legislative environment, key sectors, best practice breakthroughs, and the contact details for all the main role-players as well as service providers and consultants.

Its also big - 554 A4 pages of full colour. I try to keep it short and sweet but at the same time balance the need to give accurate and complete information. Nevertheless you will find it a lot easier to read than the thousands of government gazettes, strategy documents, white papers and power point presentations that it draws on.

The Book Cover

The book cover has an image of a mine worker's face watermarked into it. Mineworkers represent one of the most disempowered groups of people in our country, working in harsh conditions, facing death daily, and, as Marikana has shown us, left without support or effective representation in society.

Mineworkers offered the first strike action resistance to early apartheid, under JB Marks, and also gave birth to the modern South African trade union movement. If we can empower the mine workers of this country, then we can probably succeed in empowering any other group of people, and if we can't, then we face a questionable future.

The original image is shown below. Thanks to Pieter de Ras for permission to use this photo.

The Table of Contents

So what does this edition of The Skills Handbook include? The topics are alphabetically arranged (like an encyclopedia) but also grouped under thematic headings. The main thematic headings are:
  • Plans
  • Programmes
  • Participants
  • Processes
  • People
Click image to enlarge

 For a more detailed breakdown, see the Table of Contents page.

What is special about the 2015/16 edition?

We are alive at a unique point in human history. In the last fifteen years, human civilisation has changed more rapidly than ever before in recorded history. To meet the many challenges and opportunities before us, we need to rapidly and flexibly learn, teach and develop new solutions and responses. Human Resource Development is therefore the critical component in all national, organisational and community led responses to the challenges of the 21st century.

South Africa however, faces the double challenge of meeting present challenges while also catching up after centuries of having its human potential systematically degraded. To assist in setting free South Africa's human potential, RainbowSA Publishing has crafted an information resource to inspire and inform all role-players, from practitioners to policy makers, who are involved in education and training.

Now in 2015, The Skills Handbook arrives at a critical point in time where multiple, inter-related changes are taking place across all levels of the post-school education and training landscape. The 2015/16 Skills Handbook will unpack, simplify and de-mystify the underlying forces shaping these changes, as well as the operational details they entail. It will reveal areas of participation and benefit for all role-players as together we face and resolve our past history as a country, and write the script of our emerging future world.

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