Factors that influence the employability of National Certificate (Vocational) graduates: The case of a rural TVET college in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa
Enhancing the employability of National Certificate (Vocational) NC(V) graduates in South Africa is important. If NC(V) graduates are not employable, this has a negative impact on both the local economy and the future prospects of these young adults. Yet, national data show high youth unemployment rates which includes those with NC(V) qualifications. The factors that influence the employability of these graduates – particularly in the rural areas of South Africa – are not well documented. This study therefore explored the factors that influence NC(V) graduates’ employability by means of a case study at a rural TVET college in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The case focused on recent NC(V) graduates’ perceptions of their own employability and also on input from lecturers in selected NC(V) programmes and potential employers in the study area. Semi-structured interviews were conducted. The findings indicate that negative stakeholder perceptions exist about the employability of NC(V) graduates in the study context, which was a major factor in determining these graduates’ employment prospects. Furthermore, there have been no attempts to strengthen relations between the particular vocational institution and the local employment industry included in the study. The TVET college was hampered by poor planning, while prospective employers had limited awareness of the NC(V) curriculum and its objectives. These factors underscore the dissatisfaction among rural stakeholders with the employability of NC(V) graduates in the study context.