The experiences and perceptions of unemployed people who participated in the skills development programme : a case study of KwaCeza.
Khumalo, Thobile Qaphelisile.
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South Africa is currently experiencing a paucity of skills in certain occupations and high rate of illiteracy. In order to address these challenges, the government promulgated legislations such as the Skill Development Act, 1998, Skills Development Levies Act, 1999, South African Qualifications Act, (SAQA) and other policies aimed at reducing the rate of illiteracy through providing Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET). These are progressive and commendable policies, as part of their implementation, many people (unemployed and employed) have received training in various trades using funds from the National Skills Fund (NSF). The study was therefore undertaken in order to learn about beneficiaries’ experiences and perceptions they hold towards these programmes. This study was conducted at KwaCeza through the Masibumbane community development project. The members of the Masibumbane community development project received skills training which was funded by the Department of Labour (NSF) in 2005. The training was aimed at enhancing their chances of accessing income generating opportunities. They were trained in carpentry, bricklaying, sawing and poultry farming. The study sought to establish how these project members perceived the skills development programme and learn more about their experiences during and after receiving training. The findings of the study revealed that the Skills Development Programme is perceived certainly as one of the effective programmes the government has ever introduced in South Africa. If well co-ordinated, it can play an important role in closing the skills gap that exists in the South African economy. However, the main challenge is that the majority of the people trained could not access job opportunities and have therefore lost hope. It became clear that the training they received was not demand led. The training was not linked to job opportunities available in the community, the people that were trained had no choice, but to take what was offered to them as they were desperate for income generating opportunities. The group that was trained in sewing and poultry farming had no market for their produce. This therefore implies that the Department of Labour as the custodian of skills development cannot successfully create employment opportunities for the unemployed people without the participation of various state departments and private sector. Other stakeholders need to work hand in glove with the Department of Labour in order to ensure that people are equipped with relevant skills and are able to access income generating opportunities in the open labour market.