Original Research

A short report of the value of learnerships from an organisational stakeholder point of view

Sumari O'Neil, Nadia J. Davel, Natasja Holtzhausen
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 21 | a2006 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v21i0.2006 | © 2023 Sumari O’Neil, Nadia J. Davel, Natasja Holtzhausen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 May 2022 | Published: 12 January 2023

About the author(s)

Sumari O'Neil, Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Nadia J. Davel, Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Natasja Holtzhausen, School of Public Management and Administration, Faculty of Economic and Management Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: Learnerships has been operationalised in South Africa as part of the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS). The success of a learnership programme is influenced by stakeholder involvement.

Research purpose: This study set out to explore the value of learnerships from an organisational stakeholder point of view.

Motivation for the study: The stakeholder theory perspective posits the importance of stakeholders buy-in and involvement in learnership implementation.

Research approach/design and method: Semi-structured interviews with three key stakeholders in a specific learnership programme were conducted in 2020. Data were analysed by means of thematic analysis using Atlas.ti 8.1.

Main findings: Although the primary objective of learnerships is to develop vocational skills, the organisation and even larger community also reap benefits from hosting a learnership. These benefits include lower recruitment costs, capacity building with employees that understands the culture of the organisation, simplified onboarding, and community involvement.

Practical/managerial implications: Skills development in the learnerships is largely facilitated by means of social and informal learning. Although formal training opportunities are an important part of learnership, it should be designed to include interaction and collaboration with employees in the organisation.

Contribution/value added: Skills development as operationalised in the NSDS is part of the learner benefit of the learnership programme in South Africa. This article highlights how external stakeholders can reap greater benefits in terms of capacity building if the learners are engaged in meaningful organisational contribution.


Keywords

employability; learnerships; training and development; vocational training; work-based learning

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