The proposed work below is currently in the public domain eliciting research funding. The career4.0 research is a one year research project whilst the post-secondary applications and college-APT projects are both longitudinal studies.
To identify and document the new range of skills that are needed by traditional ‘Blue Collar’ operators and technicians within industry 4.0.
Jobs are the cornerstone of our economic and social lives. They give people meaning, self-respect, income and the chance to make societal contributions. Today, there are concerns that this relationship is under strain as structural change once again disrupts employment levels and occupational patterns.
Industry 4.0 is already having noticeable implications on the world of work. The nature of work itself is changing and with it the skills and aptitudes needed. The World Economic Forum predicts that 41% of all work activities in South Africa are susceptible to automation and that 39% of core skills required across occupations will be wholly different by 2020. These predictions resonate to most other countries on the continent.
The focus of this research is to identify the tasks and skill sets that are becoming increasingly relevant to traditional ‘Blue Collar’ operators and technicians. The research hopes to aggregate this information into new career paths and training requirements, particularly for that portion of the population who do not possess strong foundational maths and science skills. The purpose of this research is to advance curriculum design at vocational colleges and skills centres so as to create alternate routes into careers 4.0. This will be a critical outcome to grow the lower to middle class economy.
Introducing career guidance into post-secondary application requirements as a means of reducing student dropouts.
Inconsistencies in post-secondary application requirements might be a major cause of student dropouts.
Government allocates around R18 billion annually to financing students for post-secondary study. There is a dropout rate of around 22.5% of students in contact study of which approximately 50% drop out in their first year. This means that more than R1 Billion is lost to students making wrong study and career choices. Notwithstanding the social impact thereof, of further concern is the loss of potential tax payers to replenish the national purse.
Whilst the school curriculum makes provision for career guidance to be provided the effective delivery thereof is hindered by both competency and systemic issues.
It is the responsibility of teachers to adequately equip learners to make well informed and emotionally mature study and career choices. These are competencies that teachers can develop and learn over time. Systemically however there is a problem; the common scenario at most schools is that the teacher responsible for providing career guidance is regularly rotated. Competencies may be learned but will never be mastered when this is the case. Career guidance requires proficiency. If a teacher is to become proficient in providing relevant and appropriate career guidance he/she needs to spend time in that role.
Many universities however, unwittingly reinforce the situation described above. It is our belief that as long as universities attach no significance to career guidance, the status quo at schools will remain. It seems short-sighted for universities not to do so. The University of Johannesburg reported that in 2015 they had 1650 dropouts which equates to an estimated loss in revenue of around R75 million, yet they offer no academic points for Life Orientation (the subject area wherein career guidance is found). This is not unique to them alone, indeed there are many universities that do not consider the Life Orientation subject area as a contributor towards throughput.
To a certain degree this is understandable. Life orientation is an assortment of subject matter which also includes for example physical education, citizenship and personal well-being; subjects that do not necessarily contribute towards throughput.
In short, it is our suggestion that systemic inconsistencies at tertiary institutions cause teachers to underperform in the delivery of career guidance and causes pupils to undervalue it. This project is intended to rectify this.
To establish national benchmarks using the College-APT in order to assist TVET colleges to predict the potential success of students enrolling for their academic programmes.
The College-APT is a Literacy and Numeracy test that TVET colleges currently use to place students. These tests were originally designed by the Centre for Access Assessment Testing at Nelson Mandela University to serve as access tests for their academic programmes prior to the National Benchmark Test (NBT) being instituted.
The College-APT underwent three years of validity studies at several colleges to establish the predictive validity of the test in relation to the academic programmes that were on offer at the colleges. Norms were established at a programme level based on the internal examinations set by the colleges.
The intention is to now extend this research to establish a broader set of norms based on the national examination results. This will establish broader predictive validity across all colleges. This research will further facilitate the development of a database of College-APT test scores that can be used to better understand the calibre of student that has a higher chance of success within a particular programme of study.
This research project supports the drive to reduce dropouts at post-secondary institutions and focuses on TVET Colleges.