An evaluation of the implementation of the South African skills development policy in the Amaoti area.
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The skills shortage and unequal standards of training in South Africa provided the stimulus for the Skills Development Policy. The purpose of the study was to analyze and appraise the Amaoti Vegetable Farming Learnership (AVFL), a skills development programme implemented in the Amaoti area. The aims were to establish what changes occurred to the scheme, which was implemented on a piece of land of land with no farmer as an employer; and to ascertain whether the AVFL achieved its intended purpose of providing participants with agricultural skills. Data were gathered via one-on-one interviews with six participants and two focus groups. One major finding that emerged from the study was that the programme equipped participants with agricultural skills. Another significant finding was that the elderly project learners did not accept being supervised by young mentors and perceived it demeaning. This resulted in a strained relationship between the two groups and subsequently led to non-productive supervision. The concurrent training of both learners and mentors also contributed to the strained relationship between the two groups. The study also found that the recruitment process did not adhere to the Skills Development Act, which prescribed that learnership participants should be recruited from labour centres. In the case of the AVFL, recruitment was conducted in the community. The use of land was problematic in that there were no resources. Recommendations included: 1) training of mentors should be done before the implementation of the learnership and should take into account cultural implications such as age differences; 2) resources need to be available on the land including water, ablution, and sick bay.