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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

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

Abstract

SCHULTZ, Cecile et al. Capacity development among skilled and highly skilled unemployed persons in Pretoria, Gauteng, in order to improve their employability and self-employability. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2021, vol.61, n.3, pp.794-816. ISSN 2224-7912.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2224-7912/2021/v61n3a9.

One of the objectives of some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is to assist unemployed persons to become employed or self-employed. In Pretoria, Gauteng, one such NGO gives training and support to unemployed persons with the purpose of capacitating them in certain areas of need. This exploratory research was aimed at determining how skilled and highly skilled unemployed persons involved in this NGO's programme view their own ability to become employed or self-employed. The capacity approaches of Sen and Kolbe served as theoretical frameworks for this study. Interpretivism as a research philosophy and a phenomenological approach guided the study. Interpretivism, phenomenology and a qualitative research method were therefore used. Two semi-structured focus group interviews were used to obtain rich data from the participants. Forty-two unemployed persons were involved in the NGO programme at the time, and eleven persons volunteered to participate in the study. Seven persons with a post-school qualification participated in one focus group interview, and four persons with a Grade 12 certificate in the other. The purpose of this division was to attain a wide variety of perspectives in the dynamics of each focus group interview. The trustworthiness of the data was essential; this was achieved by considering credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse the data into meaningful themes and categories. Saturation of data was taken into consideration. Verbatim extracts were used to substantiate the themes. The themes yielded by the findings were categorised according to Kolbe's capability approach based on the three faculties of the mind (cognitive, affective and conative), as well as the strategies to develop capacity. The findings can be summarised in three main themes, namely the cognitive, or thoughts (self-image, new thinking, skills); the affective, or emotions (motivation, negative emotions relating to relationships, dealing with depression and despondence); and strategies to develop capacity (recognised prior learning and job shadowing). The conative part of Kolbe's approach did not feature in the findings. Recommendations were drafted by combining the findings of the study and the literature review. This combination resulted in the development of a framework to improve employability and self-employability of the skilled and highly skilled unemployed persons. This framework consisted of the "what" (capacities) that should be developed and the "how", that is, strategies to follow in order to develop the capacities of the skilled and highly skilled unemployed persons. Training in making online job applications, writing a curriculum vitae, computer skills, how to brand and market oneself, how to network, job interviewing and entrepreneurship should be offered. Coaching and mentoring should be made available, especially to persons who want to be self-employed. Financial assistance should be considered as start-up funds for a new business venture. To improve employability and self-employability, the cognitive, affective and conative parts of the person should, therefore, be taken into consideration when developing personal capacity. It is recommended that, in future research, this study be extended to other skilled and highly skilled unemployed persons and to unskilled unemployed persons in South Africa. The constraints on employability and the influence of the Covid-19 pandemic on unemployment in South Africa should also be researched.

Keywords : cognitive; affective; conative; strategies; capacity development; unemployed skilled and highly skilled persons; Gauteng; non-governmental organisation.

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