Employer expectations and prospective employee realities : a model to address the need for employable skills
De Jager, Hermina Catharina
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It is a generally recognised fact that the economy of a country is to a large extent dependent on the level of education of its citizens. A learning nation has the prospect of becoming a winning nation. The more knowledge and skills people possess, the more effective they will be and the better they will be able to think, to be inventive and to be creative. South Africa, however, is hampered in becoming a learning nation due to many learning problems. The harsh reality is that these learning problems sooner or later end up at the door of employers as productivity problems. One of the reasons is that students have unrealistic expectations and that there is a lack of employable skills as well as a dearth of communication between Higher Education Institutions and industry. Undoubtedly industry is one of the primary customers of graduates' developed by Higher Education Institutions, but there is a lack of effective communication between the two parties involved. This study aims to make a contribution towards ensuring that graduates are employable and that they meet the expectations of employers when entering the workplace for the first time. An intensive literature study was undertaken in order to determine the employable skills employers expect from graduates, where after a questionnaire was designed and completed by employers who employ graduates from the Faculty of Management Sciences at the Vaal University of Technology. The results obtained from the questionnaire, clearly indicate that the curricula need to be adapted to the changing demands of industry, in order to provide products that are of world-class standard. The implementation of the employable skills model will attempt to provide a solution to better equip learners who have to participate in a global economy.