News & events


Working to live rather than living to work: Employability revisited

13 March 2014

Speakers: Dr Adrienne Watson, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Date: 13 March 2014
Time: 12H15 for 12h30  – 13H30


In contemporary debates and discussions on labour supply and demand, complex issues around curriculum responsiveness and employability tend to be masked in a somewhat mechanistic idea that there is a pipeline of workers supplying (or not) industry.  Similarly, the importance of individual well-being as inextricable from broader levels of social and economic progress is obscured. 

This paper, linked to Theme 4’s Reconfiguring the post-school sector, attempts to recalibrate the theoretical lenses through which education and training are viewed as the solution to skills shortages, enhanced employability and economic growth.  Sen’s (1993) and Walker’s (2010) work on capabilities and human flourishing frames a focus on occupational work process development (Rauner 2005) as holistic competence.  Within this, Bernsteinian ideas around the recontextualisation of knowledge from workplaces into education and training institutions informs the analysis on curriculum and how this links back into the workplace.

The centrality of discipline specific knowledge (Wheelahan 2010, Winch 1998, Young 2008) is maintained as a balancing voice to social constructivist theories of learning. It is hoped that a multi-layered approach such as this will open out the complexities and constraints subsumed in the supply of a skills pipeline which is seen as a key driver of future prosperity for South Africans.

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