Evaluation of a social-emotional competence programme for African unemployed male youth in a rural area
Seleke, Kgomotso Norah
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Youth unemployment is a major problem in South Africa as indicated in the Quarterly Labour Report (StatsSA) and the February 2018 State of the Nation Address. Literature indicates that prospective job seekers often lack the soft skills necessary to find employment. This study used a qualitative descriptive design to evaluate an existing social-emotional competence programme. The programme promoted intrapersonal, interpersonal and self-management competencies. Two participant groups were involved in this research, namely Participant group 1, which consisted of social workers at the Department of Social Development in Thabo Mofutsanyana district. Participant group 2 was unemployed African male youths, between the ages of 18-24 in a rural area (QwaQwa). These young persons had at least grade 8 level of education but had not completed grade12. The researcher is a social worker employed by the Department of Social Development in QwaQwa. QwaQwa is a rural area with a high rate of unemployment. There is a large number of youth who approach the Department of Social Development to ask for assistance and social relief such as food parcels or donations. Through staff development meetings and discussions amongst colleagues the researcher identified a need for soft skills development for unemployed youth. The social workers (Participant group 1) attended a workshop on social-emotional competence where they completed semi-structured questionnaires aimed at refining the programme content. Participant group 2 consisted of eight unemployed youths who completed a semi-structured questionnaire before involvement in ten sessions on social-emotional competence. There was a short focus group discussion on the content after each session. After completion of the ten sessions each participant completed a semi-structured questionnaire. Content analysis was used to link findings to the different sections of the social-emotional competence programme. The study explored the social-emotional competence programme based on the theory of social-emotional competence outlined by Hughes, Terrell and Patterson (2005) and Hughes and Terrell (2012). The aim of the study was not to create job opportunities for the young persons who participated in the study, but to equip young unemployed males with social-emotional competencies to enable them to function positively while looking for employment. The findings revealed that participants from both participant groups evaluated and responded positively to the programme. In this research, leaving school before completing matric was found to be an essential factor with a direct link with unemployment. Some core words and terms were translated into Sotho with the help of all participants. It was also clear that there were no words in Sotho for some of the words related to emotion. Some of the icebreakers and techniques were also adapted to fit the target group. It was clear that the young unemployed male participants generally understood the content and took part in the techniques. The research generated a wealth of data including line drawings. The dissertation concluded with a chapter which evaluated the progress concerning objectives and answering the research questions of the study, methodology, ethical aspects, limitations, dissemination and recommendations. It is recommended that further studies should be conducted focusing on the dangers of unemployment of long duration, and linking other client groups to the social-emotional competence programme These recommendations were made with the aim of empowering individuals, families and societies with constructive coping skills for the many social issues faced, unemployment being one of them.
- Health Sciences