Despite the strong policy commitment within the TVET system to: (1) expand access for enrolment and (2) strengthen the sector’s capacity to provide vocational skills that prepare youth for productive employment, the sector continues to face significant challenges. Combining negative perceptions by both prospective employers and society, TVET graduates are often perceived as lacking the relevant skills and attributes necessary to succeed in the labour market. Such concerns are even more salient in moments of economic strain as in the current global health and economic crisis, and within the current technological expansion described as the much acclaimed Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
Recent evidence, however, from DHET’s flagship national Skills Demand and Supply studies (Reddy et. al. 2016; Asmal et al. 2020) show a promising outlook for graduates with TVET qualifications within a rapidly changing labour market. While still precari-ous, this promise is most readily seen in the potential of the TVET sector to provide mid- and high-level technical qualifications. The precarity exists due to the ongoing misalignment between skills demand and supply. This mismatch is exacerbated by quality concerns linked to both the training and subsequent qualifications offered by TVET institutions.
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