The Importance of Critical Cross-field Education and Training Outcomes in Skills Development

Workplace Skills Plans (WSP) are the most effective ways of ensuring consistency when addressing the skills development needs of a specific sector. The WSP outlines the Professional, Vocational, Technical and Academic learning (PIVOTAL) programmes you intend to implement, whether it is an apprenticeship or a learnership. Implementing PIVOTAL programmes and Critical Cross-field Education and Training Outcomes, commonly known as Critical Outcomes, is another way to further establish overall consistency.

Critical Outcomes are defined by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as “generic outcomes that inform all teaching and learning”. These outcomes are prioritised as key areas of development in students, regardless of the specific area or discipline. These outcomes are seen as important in developing, within the students, the capacity for lifelong learning.

Below is a list of Critical Outcomes adopted by the SAQA:

1. Identify and solve problems using critical and creative thinking.

2. Work effectively with others as a member of a team, organisation or community.

3. Organise and manage one’s activities responsibly and effectively.

4. Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information.

5. Communicate effectively using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in oral and/or written presentation.

6. Use science and technology effectively, showing responsibility towards the environment and health of others.

With the first three prioritised outcomes, the intent is to help learners develop into problem-solving, team-orientated members of society and for them to contribute meaningfully to the country.

Some of the other outcomes are qualification-specific. For example, a mechanic works on vehicles, so he is required to have technical knowledge in this area. But this does not mean that he cannot acquire skills outside of his discipline. In order to create a capacity for lifelong learning, the mechanic should acquire other critical skills such as verbal interpersonal communication skills and problem-solving skills.

Another key principle is the meaningful contribution of the citizens in social institutions. This is upheld through exercising tolerance and ensuring the social and economic success of our country. For this to be possible, it is important to develop skills like working well with others, communication and responsible participation in community life. The use of science and technology in a considerate and responsible way is also an important skill.

The Critical Outcomes also provide the learner with tangible skills they can use outside of the training environment or industry. These skills include self-management, effective learning strategies and cultural and aesthetic awareness. Along with exploring entrepreneurial opportunities, these are useful in helping the learners attain self-actualisation.

The importance of having PIVOTAL programmes such as learnerships in your Sector Skills and Workplace Skills plans cannot be overstated. After all, this is the primary means through which you can develop these Critical Cross-field Education and Training Outcomes.

At Primus, our NQF registered learnerships provide students with on the job training, as well as other widely applicable skills that are aligned with the Critical Outcomes endorsed by SAQA.

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