With the recently announced awarding of pay-TV licenses the availability of trained technical personnel will be put under severe pressure. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa recently awarded licenses to E-Sat (part of Hoskens Consolidated Investments), Telkom, lesser-known Walking on Water - a Christian network, and On Digital Media, who have shareholders comprising of the Industrial Development Corporation amongst others.

One organization is gearing up for this potential shortage. Gauteng based National Electronic Media Institute (NEMISA), based in Parktown, came into being as an institution of education and learning, specializing in teaching production and technical skills required by the Television, radio and broadcasting industry.

Formed as part of a government initiative in 1998, its fundamental purpose was to train previously disadvantaged individuals, particularly women and to equip them with the skills required.

The newly revitalized institute is now in the process of finalizing meaningful, targeted and relevant coursework covering the entire spectrum of production activities serving the converging technologies for digital content production. It provides training in all disciplines essential to the emerging broadcasting industry where video, sound, graphics, animation and data merge.

Peter de Klerk, acting CEO comments, “NEMISA’s training philosophy is a very simple one. It’s all about content. NEMISA trains to produce content and produces content to train. Evidence of this is provided by the number of programmes produced by NEMISA students that have subsequently been broadcast. One example of this is Flowers of the Revolution, which is a six part documentary series which explores the lives and experiences of women who exchange the comforts of an ordinary life for the difficulties of waging the struggle against apartheid”.

If one thing is certain it is that the pace of technological change will continue to accelerate. NEMISA will therefore ensure that a sustainable technology strategy is deployed, a strategy that provides graduates with the skills, not only to be productive in the current working environment but to remain relevant beyond the technology of today. The technology focus will be on training thinkers and to instill in graduates the expectation of, and love of a lifetime of learning.

Recently NEMISA in partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters and MAPPP SETA began running a Broadcast Engineering Learnership at NQF Level 5. The learnership started in January 2007 with 20 learners. The learners were sourced from all over the country with the help of SABC regional offices and some of these learners are sponsored by MultiChoice.

The course covers the broadcast engineering curriculum qualification as set out by the SETA. It covers the basic principles of analog and digital transmissions with emphasis on how the underlying technologies influence the ultimate applications.

A fully functional workshop that was set up specifically for the learnership is available and there are intensive hands-on demonstrations and practical labs. Towards the end of the course the learners will cover a full design installation and maintenance of a studio environment.

The learners will be doing practical sessions at M-Net, SABC TV and Radio, MultiChoice, Telemedia and Globecast. There are formative and summative assessments on covered modules throughout the facilitation of the course.

For further information contact info@nemisa.co.za or browse www.nemisa.co.za