Labour Market Intelligence Partnership

1. A spotlight on research related to reconfiguring the post-schooling sector


Glenda Kruss and Rushil Ranchod

In 2013, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)-led research consortium, known as the Labour Market Intelligence Partnership (LMIP), focused largely on data collection, but space started to be created for analysis and writing.  Early results are emerging from each of the projects’ six interlocking research themes. These results will be crucial in informing the development of a credible institutional skills planning mechanism.

We spotlight the work and thinking on Reconfiguring the Post-Schooling Sector, which investigates the ways in which interaction and alignment between diverse post-school education and training systems and labour markets can be enhanced. The key issue for researchers in this theme is: even if we succeed in creating accurate and reliable projections of the numbers of skilled workers of different types required at different levels by firms in specific sectors, how do we ensure that post-school education and training institutions have the will, matching expertise and capabilities to meet that demand?

Post-school education and training organisations with distinct historical trajectories respond in diverse ways to government policy and market imperatives. There is not a linear response or automatic adoption of policy interventions and regulations. Hence, we need an understanding of the ways in which these organisations interact with firms and intermediaries to shape their core activities, in order to identify appropriate change mechanisms.

The research focus is on networks and alignment between the actors in national education and training sub-systems, firms and intermediaries in four distinct sectors:

1. Agro-processing is a sector prioritised for high employment and income opportunities and potential in rural development, but in which value-addition activities need to be enhanced to promote exports. The sugar sector is small and highly organised and provides a potentially rich case. We focus on the geographical area where sugar is most strongly concentrated, KwaZulu-Natal.

2. The automotive sector has long been identified as a priority and leading manufacturing sector, in terms of contribution to GDP and employment, but technological capability building is required to improve value-added production and global competitiveness. We focus on the Eastern Cape as one of the poorest and most vulnerable regions in South Africa.

3. Business Process Outsourcing has been identified as a potential sector in which South Africa can become a global leader, particularly as a business hub in Southern Africa. We will focus on the front of office sub-sector, which is concentrated in the Western Cape.

4. The SKA is not a sector as such, but is a national priority area identified in the New Growth Path plan for high-level skills development and innovation, with potential for the development of advanced capabilities over the long term.

In each of these sectors, enhanced skills development at all levels, and better alignment with education and training organisations, are identified as critical to technological capability building – and hence, economic growth and inclusive development.

Fieldwork commenced in August 2013. Researchers have visited sugar mills, automotive components firms and astronomical facilities, as well as the universities, FET colleges, private HET and FET colleges, and intermediaries (such as industry associations and SETAs) that are involved in skills development in each sectoral system of innovation.

Dr Glenda Kruss leads the research project “Reconfiguring the Post-Schooling Sector” in the LMIP.

Dr Rushil Ranchod is the communications manager for the LMIP.

Quick links

Race and educational inequality

Book on the Doctorate

Fact sheet on NEET's

Evaluating the ‘MOT'

A case study of higher education curriculum

LMIP: Reconfiguring the post-schooling sector



The DHET skills forecasting model

Research update from SAQA

Update on ministerial task teams

Curriculum innovation programme (CIP)

LMIP fosters the research-policy nexus




Statistics on post-school education and training, 2012


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The Research Bulletin on Post-School Education and Training is prepared by the Directorate: Research Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation. Enquiries or contributions may be directed to: Lesego RamoseTel: 012 312 5657 Email: Department of Higher Education and Training, 123 Francis Baard Street, Pretoria 0001