Barriers to effective workplace skills development in the electrical sector.
Electrical contractors are evolving though a challenging phase in the maturing democratic South Africa. Government has allocated funding and has mandated skills development to the Sector Educational and Training Authorities (SETA), however, this strategy has lost its focus. With the golden thread lost in the maze of institutional bureaucracy. Implementation strategies at government and industry level should overlap each other, compliment and reinforce one another and form the core of South Africa’s Skills Development Strategy. Whilst it is true that there is a severe skills shortage in all technical fields, the reasons behind these shortages is not clear. The aim of this study was to determine what challenges electrical contractors in KwaZulu-Natal faced that prevented the development of skills in the industry. The lack of actual sector skills intelligence transfer from industry to government departments resulted in incorrect statistics of the electrical contracting sector. The objective of distributing the survey to all electrical contractors that were registered with the Electrical Contractors Association SA (ECA SA) in KwaZulu- Natal Durban and surrounding areas including Richards Bay was to conduct a study amongst the total population and then establish a simple random sample. An electronic questionnaire was mailed to all contractors registered with the ECA SA KwaZulu-Natal. A total of 540 respondents viewed the survey and 269 completed it. This translates to a 50% completion rate. It has been proven that 58% of electrical contractors were training electricians. Further analysis revealed that there was a relationship between the age of a business and the man hours invested in training. Older businesses conducted more training. There was also a relationship between the number of man hours invested in training and the number of qualified electricians employed. The greater the man hours of training the larger the number of qualified electricians employed. Whilst there was no relationship between man hours invested in training and accessing SETA funding, electrical contractors believed that the full reimbursement for training would accelerate the skills development processes.