Learners’ and employers’ perceptions of vocational training in the South African tourism industry
With the growth in the tourism industry, it is a priority of government to develop quality Learnerships and Internships in South Africa to improve skills and the qualifications of the tourism workforce. Employers are increasingly conscious of the value for money from their investments in training and are demanding that training be more deliberately aligned with the strategic needs of their organisations. However, the tourism industry still complains that learners are not adequately prepared for the workplace and the learners believe that they have sufficient knowledge to meet the needs of the industry. The purpose of this research was to analyse the skills expectations of learners versus employers with reference to the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport SETA (CATHSSETA). This was achieved by conducting quantitative research by means of a structured questionnaire that was distributed to 217 employers and 1023 learners on the CATHSSETA database. Various significant differences between skills expected by employers and those presented by learners were found. Employers expect higher levels of competence than those which learners in the CATHSSETA programme can deliver. More specifically, employers indicate that learners lack skills in handling customers professionally and being proactive in solving problems. It is thus critical to review current vocational training programmes with the input of all relevant role players in South Africa if this country is serious about the tourism industry.
Keywords: Learners, employers, internships, learnerships, tourism skills.
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