Examining factors that shape Technical Vocational Education and Training engineering students’ understanding of their career choices19 October 2022
Background: This article seeks to examine factors that shape Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) engineering students’ understanding of their future career choices. Moreover, given the promising and ambitious vision for growth in both TVET and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), as envisaged by the policy framework, White Paper on Post School Education and Training (PSET) aimed at addressing the challenges, amongst others, of youth unemployment. Objectives: The objective of this article is to ascertain factors that inform students’ understanding of their future career prospects. Methods: In this research, qualitative self-administered, open-ended questionnaires were employed as a data collection tool to gather facts about students’ beliefs, feelings and experiences regarding certain engineering programmes and services offered at TVET colleges. Consequently, purposive sampling was utilised to sample 113 engineering participants who voluntarily completed the questionnaires, which were organised to gather the required data. Results: The findings of the study point to divergent views, where some students felt very strongly that TVET engineering qualification leads to full employment because of the demand for this skill, while other students argued that the high rate of unemployment in South Africa is so deep such that even graduates irrespective of qualification are not guaranteed employment in South Africa. Conclusion: Consequently, the researchers believe that the TVET’s learning programmes should be repositioned to articulate as a poor response to poor schooling in relation to labour market, amongst others, to ease school leavers into jobs or self-employment under conditions of widespread youth unemployment.