Learners’ views on the entrepreneurial activities engaged in during practical work in Consumer Studies
The apparently intractable youth unemployment in South Africa has been partly attributed to lack of necessary skills. Young people are not acquiring the relevant marketable skills they need to secure employment opportunities or, alternatively, to develop their own businesses. The shortage of skills that are in demand can be partly attributed to the lack of exposure to entrepreneurial skills. Recent research on this topic has shown that there is a growing need for learners to acquire appropriate entrepreneurial knowledge and the skills from the early foundational years through to secondary education. This paper explores the entrepreneurial activities that learners engage in during practical work as part of the secondary school curriculum in Consumer Studies. A qualitative case study research design using semi-structured focus group interviews and reflective journals was adopted to explore Grade 11 learners’ views on entrepreneurial activities undertaken during their practical work in Consumer Studies in one secondary school. Findings revealed that Consumer Studies exposed learners to a variety of entrepreneurial activities including production and marketing of small-scale products, application of costing calculations, and knowledge of costing strategies. Such activities are needed in inculcating entrepreneurial knowledge and skills that are necessary for making youth resourceful and enterprising. The findings of this study also confirm the conclusions of previous researchers that practical activities in school subjects can stimulate acquisition of entrepreneurship knowledge and skills that could increase employment opportunities among youth and assist in the preparation of learners for their future careers.