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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751


BESTER, Coen  and  BOSHOFF, Estelle. Perceptions of managers in the public sector regarding the relevance of training and education of entrants to the labour market. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2009, vol.49, n.4, pp.728-739. ISSN 2224-7912.

The relevance and appropriateness of training and education have become an important issue that is being debated in many circles of society, including the government, educational institutions, the labour market, the private sector, the public sector, economists and consumers. Pertinent questions are being asked regarding the real definitions of relevance and appropriateness, the criteria that should be applied, the needs that should be addressed, and the functions that should be allocated to the respective role players. These questions are complex and difficult to answer clearly, especially in the light of the ever changing external and internal environments and the associated demands. Educational institutions which are preparing and equipping students for their future careers are therefore necessitated to ask themselves whether or not the training and development that they are providing are still relevant and appropriate. According to many educationists training and education can only be appropriate and relevant when the demands of the labour market can be addressed sufficiently. The purpose of this study was to determine these demands, especially from the view point of managers in the public sector, which is an important employer. A sample of 67 managers representing organizations in public sectors in urban and rural areas in the Free State and the Northern Cape, and from different managerial levels of the organizations, was selected. Information was obtained by means of questionnaires and focus group interviews. Paticipants 'responses were processed and interpreted according to the ground rules of content analysis. Useful information regarding the relevance of the training and education, as well as job related shortcomings of labour market entrants was acquired. Many managers indicated that tertiary institution training is not specific enough to address the unique needs of specific organizations, and that in-service training should be conducted to orientate newcomers to the unique characteristics and demands of a specific work environment, and to equip them with more specific job related skills and expertise. Another trend that emerged as a result from the study is that in addition to job related skills and expertise, life skills like interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills are also required in the work environment. Managers in the public sector identified numerous specific job related shortcomings of entrants to the labour market, including the inability to integrate theory and practice with one another; lack of sufficient job related practical knowledge; unrealistic expectations regarding salaries, fringe benefits and promotion opportunities; as well as a lack of a broad range of generic life skills. Examples of specific life skills that are lacking include self-confidence, the ability to work in diverse groups, interpersonal skills, commitment to achieve organizational goals, verbal communication skills, an internal locus of control, maturity, problem-solving skills, independent decision-making skills, work ethics, self-discipline, time management, quality of services, presentation skills, punctuality, self-actualisation, common sense, internal drive, adaptability and flexibility, stress management, conflict management, endurance and perseverance, humility, emotional intelligence, ability to see the bigger picture, and balancing the respective life roles.

Keywords : Relevance; appropriateness; training; education; managers; public sector; perceptions; entrants; labour market; job related knowledge; job related experience; general life skills.

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