Facilitating college to work transitions for TVET College students - A research and development project (Joy Papier)

The overarching aim of this project is to facilitate pathways for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College graduates into the workplace. Recent government policies emphasise the need for public TVET Colleges to strengthen relationships with industry in order to improve learners’ chances of placement, both for practical internships and also for longer term employment. The project reference team recommended that N6 students be targeted as they are required to obtain practical training at the end of their college programme as a prerequisite for achieving the qualification.

Phase one consisted of linking employers and TVET Colleges in targeted economic sectors: Engineering, Tourism-Hospitality, and Wholesale and Retail. Employers were consulted about what they believed would enhance the employability of college graduates within their sectors. Although some of the ‘necessary skills’ described by employers were embedded in the N4 to N6 courses, they were not dealt with in any systematic way. The project colleges agreed with the sentiments expressed by employers that such cross-cutting skills might be better addressed in a focused, targeted, work-preparation programme delivered just prior to students leaving college for their practical placements. In this way, students would see the preparation programme as relevant and timely. With this rationale and frequent consultation with stakeholders, a ‘work preparation programme’ was conceived as an addition to the N6. The programme consists of five short modules with materials that are interactive and activity based. The preparation programme was delivered during the college holidays and included two structured visits to industry for purposes of student reflection and feedback.

The final phase of the project is currently underway. Students have been placed with various employers and are being monitored throughout the project. On the advice of the relevant Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), employers have been encouraged to access the PIVOTAL grant for student stipends but in the interim, colleges have been afforded student stipends in order not to delay implementation. The project ends in April 2015 and will yield significant findings/insights which will be shared in the various phase reports and on other platforms. Other colleges have expressed interest in the work preparation materials, and the project has already resulted in synergies among college departments internally as well as between colleges, SETAs and industry - which can only be to the benefit of college graduates in the future. A final report will be prepared at the close-out of the project that will include follow up data on the students, six months after their preparation and placement.

Prof Joy Papier is a Director of the Institute for Post-School Studies (IPSS) (including FETI), University of the Western Cape.

 

For further information contact Prof Joy Papier at jpapier@uwc.ac.za