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What is National Cultural Industries Skills Academy (NaCISA)?
NaCISA is a special-purpose vehicle of the DAC, with the prescribed mandate to support the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) strategy through the coordination of targeted industrial skills development interventions as a creative skills development catalyst. It is:
• a bespoke organisation for creative economy skills development to make the creative industries globally competitive,
• a catalyst for human-resource calibration for creative industries, productivity and innovation,
• a hub of high-level partnerships and network systems for industry research; and a creative platform for talent nurturing and promotion of the SA creative footprint,
• the custodian of creative industries, virtual knowledge and their promotion,
• a champion of creative excellence and standards.
NaCISA is not:
• a training institution (such as a university or a college),
• a Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) for skills planning, funding and accreditation of providers,
• or an NGO with a mission to promote community arts education through skills development (as in community arts centres).
NaCISA will be a central point for capacity building and skills development in the Arts, Culture and Heritage (ACH) Sector. It will be an incubator for almost all the skills that are needed to have an optimally functioning ACH Sector.
Some of the sectors falling within the DAC ambit are engaged in facilitating ongoing interventions to develop skills strategies, which is a positive intervention. However, the Sector still lacks an overarching strategy that will provide a broad skills framework. Therefore, NaCISA is a strategic development in the ACH Sector and will function as a network centre with existing initiatives.
The development of NaCISA will be a learning process and will be guided by other policies and legislation in the ACH environment, including the:
• White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage, 1996
• Cultural Industries Growth Strategy (CIGS), 2005
• Cultural Institutions Act
• IPAP 2
• New Growth Path
• National Film and Video Foundation Act
• National Arts Council Act
• Department of Arts and Culture Legislative Review, 2007
• Department of Arts and Culture Policy Review, 2009
Problem Statement
Skills development is one of the many challenges facing South Africa. There are skills backlogs in almost all South African socio-economic sectors, including the cultural industries. This is not a uniquely South African problem but a global one. To some extent, this has led to the phenomenal mobility of skilled individuals. Although global in character, if this mobility goes unchecked it has the potential to create inequalities between the South and the North. It has already changed the demographic patterns of some Western countries in terms of race and cultural diversity.
Knowledge is increasingly becoming an important factor in the global economy. It is embedded in skilled individuals and also drives innovation and creativity. Therefore, by investing in people, one is directly investing in the economy. In South Africa the shortage and scarcity of skills frustrates efforts to grow the economy.
The South African government’s focus on eradicating poverty - by creating an environment that focuses on increased job and employment opportunities and skills development - has become critical. The pillars of South African human resource development are articulated through the Human Resources Development Strategy (HRSDS) and the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS III). The cultural industries are essential sectors in contributing to the achievement of stated government policy frameworks.
Although the NSDS III is the key reference for skills interventions, each sector needs to have a comprehensive strategy that will provide a framework for further interventions to be made at various levels in the value chain. The ACH Sector lacks a coherent policy development framework that provides an overarching strategy for skills development interventions. Therefore, this Sector will need to have its own overarching National Arts, Culture and Heritage Skills Development Strategy.
The DAC has not previously invested resources in the important task of ensuring coordination of the development of a Cultural Industries Skills Development Strategy. The consultation process has indicated consensus in the industry that skills development in this field is uncoordinated and incoherent. It also indicated that the DAC has a responsibility to provide leadership to all stakeholders in the cultural industries to address these weaknesses. This will ensure that the cultural industries have the necessary skills to increase the contribution of the Sector to economic growth.
Institutions and sectors currently operate in isolation. This, combined with skills blockages, contribute to the inability of the cultural industries to respond to market opportunities that have the potential to create employment opportunities.
• Establish research and development capacity, linked to the planned Cultural Observatory, to track, understand and anticipate supply and demand trends, to project skill growth drivers (policy, technology, markets and skills) and to improve the quality and relevance of skills in the Sector. These activities will contribute to the development of a Cultural Industries Skills Development Strategy that consolidates the skills plans for each sector.
• Develop a system of talent identification and development to create strong pipelines and immersion systems, and to increase the number of talented young South Africans attracted to the cultural industries through networks of centres of excellence across all provinces.
• Promote mass participation in arts and heritage. The strengthening of the institutional and structural frameworks of skills development in community arts centres, schools, colleges and universities will link skills development to production and performance. This will nurture local audience development and critical markets for quality calibration of local and international productions.
• Build capacity for work-integrated learning in order to articulate priority skills gaps, including industry practice culture, for higher education and training (HET), i.e. universities, colleges and community arts institutions, and stimulate the creation of systems for industry-to-HET exchanges, job placement, creative product identification and investment, and the improvement of the skills of those already in the workplace.
• Foster a system and standards of qualifications and quality assurance for creative industry skills development and promote internationally benchmarked minimum standards for industry practice for each trade or practice sector.
• Design a supply system and institutional arrangements that cohere with current and future demands in the form of a national network of economic centres of excellence for:
o Research, skills development and/or production (may take the form of a ‘regional centre of excellence’ that combines a university, college, the State Theatre, community arts centres and film/recording studios);
o State-of-the-art performance, exhibition and gallery spaces;
o Repository of archives for IKS and other artefacts, audio-visual records, art works, etc.
The above institutional arrangement will be pursued with the view to exploring the establishment of an appropriate innovation hub, in the form of a physical resource (building), with essential components that coordinate across provinces and does not duplicate existing infrastructure.

Exit employment opportunities created/to be created
A project team comprising DAC officials and external experts has been set up to develop a comprehensive strategy.
Provinces, Regional/Local Municipalities
Broad consultations with key players across the country are ongoing.
Training offered and beneficiaries
Training will cover the broad cultural industries streams and value chain.
Contact details
Department of Arts and Culture
Tel: 012-441-3664
Fax: 012-441-3455