Exploring the experiences of professional development of selected employees at Ethekwini municipality : a case study.
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This study aimed to find out the experiences of employees at eThekwini municipality in relation to the professional development support they receive. Its objectives were to explore the experiences of selected eThekwini municipality employees regarding the professional development support they receive; to identify current challenges observed by selected employees in the provision of professional development; and to establish provision on how to enhance professional development in eThekwini municipality. The study employed the constructive/interpretive paradigm which allowed the selected employees to share their views and provide the researcher with an in-depth understanding of their experiences in professional development. Since the paradigm uses a continuous course of understanding reality through conversation, the study adopted a case study research design. Probability was utilised in applying a systematic sampling procedure for selecting twelve employees from eThekwini Municipality to participate in the study. Furthermore, semi-structured interviews were conducted in each of the four regions of the eThekwini Municipality. The interview schedule used to probe participants about their experiences of professional development in their organisation was guided by the research questions. The findings revealed that some participants view professional development as relevant since it helped them execute their duties effectively, whilst others found it irrelevant owing to monotonous courses, training and programmes. The decisions pertaining to what professional development to offer and who it should be offered to seemed different with each region. In terms of challenges encountered in the provision and support of professional development, inadequate budgets, lack of needs analysis, limited external training, improper communication channels and using professional development as compliance and not a strategic tool, were cited. To counter these challenges the following suggestions were made: Municipality should offer recognised certificates of competence after completion of a course, training or programme; having qualified trainers with expertise; offering relevant programmes and increasing budgets for professional development.