The role of Majuba Technical and Vocational Education and Training College programmes in addressing industrial skills shortages in Newcastle and Amajuba District.
Dlamini, Phakamani Irvine.
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This research assesses how the programmes offered by Majuba College, a Technical Vocational Education and Training centre (TVET), are best suited in their design to address the skills shortages pertaining the industries operating within the Newcastle area and the Majuba district as a whole. Furthermore, the study sought to establish whether vocational training programmes were designed in line with the goals of the South African government to equip the youths with the requisite skills, knowledge and attitudes that are of utmost importance for their absorption into the labour market. The problem statement was formulated from the concern that the college programmes being offered to the students were not really in sync with the needs of the industrial community of the particular area where the college is located. A case study strategy was employed for the research and the setting was non-contrived. It was also exploratory in nature. The choice of the research strategy was motivated by the need to collect qualitative data from the participants and thus meet the research objectives. A case-study of the Majuba TVET College portrayed views of two experienced representatives of local industries in Newcastle. The representatives were from the textile and the manufacturing industries. The information collected from the interviews pointed out various challenges that the institution (Majuba TVET College) is currently facing. These challenges include lack of infrastructure, poorly resourced campuses, competency of lecturing staff and inadequate lecturing staff with specialised skills. A structured interview method was applied in the study under review to gain the perceptions of the Majuba TVET programmes from role players. The researcher, as a practitioner in the field, has also made some observations during data collection. A broader purpose of the TVET sector was analysed in the literature and included views of other industries in relation to the TVET College programmes. It was also evident from the research that a paradigm shift is needed in the design of college programmes if the government is to achieve its goal to minimise unemployment amongst youth. Findings indicated that Majuba TVET College programmes are mostly focusing on Engineering field in equipping its learners with the necessary skills that are required by industries. However, the case study discussions during the research process indicated that the college paradigm has shifted from one area of discipline, and is expanding its partnership with other local industries as well.