Before the coordination of SETA activities during the Learning Cape Festival (LCF), which happened in the three months leading up to the Festival in August each year, there had been limited collaboration amongst the SETAs in the Western Cape. With the first LCF in 2002, there were only four SETAs who actively participated in the LCF. This number grew steadily throughout each year with a total of 12 SETAs participating in the LCF in 2006. During the various Learning Cape Festivals the SETAs progressively recognised the benefits of collaborating with each other. As a result of this they identified a need for continued collaboration.
The Western Cape SETA Cluster was established during the second half of 2005. At that stage 13 of the 25 SETAs were members of the cluster. The membership of the cluster grew steadily over the years with the cluster currently have representation of all SETAs. The objectives of the WC SETAC are:
- To improve individual SETA functioning in the region;
- To continuously improve and sustain inter-SETA relationships in the region;
- To adopt a collaborative approach to engaging with relevant stakeholders in the region;
- To establish linkages with other provincial initiatives with a specific focus on skills development and training in the region.
The functioning and programme of the WC SETAC is guided by the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) III. The strategic direction of the WC SETAC is therefore provided by the eight Goals of the NSDS III. As this SETA cluster operates within the Western Cape, the 12 strategic objectives of the Provincial Government Western Cape (PGWC) influence the functioning and programme of the cluster. The following were identified as the strategic priorities for the WC SETAC for the duration of the NSDS III:
- Importance of Sector Skills Plans (SSPs) for skills planning and delivery
- Collaboration between SETAs and public FET colleges
- Artisan development
- Employer involvement in skills development
- Rural Development
- Vocational and Career guidance
Successes of the WC SETAC include, amongst others, the signing of a collaboration agreement between the SETAs (of the cluster) and the six public FET Colleges within the province, on 17 August 2010. This collaboration agreement has already resulted in better relationships and working between SETAs and colleges. The WC SETAC has also been instrumental in the planning and implementation of the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) programme of the Department of Rural Development & Land Reform, both provincially and at a national level. Members of the cluster have also leveraged discretionary grant funding for skills development initiatives of Sector Development Agencies (SDAs) in the province.