Original Research

Reducing youth unemployment beyond the Youth Wage Subsidy: A study of Simtech apprentices

Mogantheran Naidoo, Muhammad E. Hoque
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 15 | a845 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v15i0.845 | © 2017 Mogantheran Naidoo, Muhammad E. Hoque | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 July 2016 | Published: 24 March 2017

About the author(s)

Mogantheran Naidoo, Graduate School of Business and Leadership, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Muhammad E. Hoque, Graduate School of Business and Leadership, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Orientation: South Africa currently has the twin challenges of worsening youth unemployment and scarce skills that threaten its economic and social stability. Artisanal trades are an occupation category that strongly reflects this current problem. Simtech Training Institute in Durban, the study setting, currently trains artisan apprentices and facilitates their internship work placements.

Research purpose: The objective of this study was to identify some of the critical success factors that differentiated Simtech artisan apprentices who obtained permanent employment, compared to those who are currently unemployed.

Motivation for the study: The main motivation of the study was to improve the conversion rate of artisan apprentices to permanently employed artisans.

Research design, approach and method: The study was a cross-sectional study conducted among 51 artisan apprentices who had graduated over the past 3 years at Simtech and who were selected randomly. An online questionnaire comprising primarily Likert scale type questions was utilised to obtain the responses from the sample. Factor analysis was used to remove scale items from the independent variables that did not impact the variability sufficiently. Then the remaining scale items that impacted variability significantly were combined and categorised as new composite independent variables. Logistic regression analysis identified success factors for permanent employment of Simtech graduates.

Main findings: Internship or workplace environment had a statistically significant impact on permanent employment. Youth work ethic had a minor impact on permanent employment status – albeit not a statistically significant one.

Practical/managerial implications: These findings showed that improving the internship/ workplace environment can reduce youth unemployment and address skills scarcity.

Contribution: Internship host companies and other stakeholders need to urgently focus on improving the quality of the internship/workplace environment experienced by artisan apprentices rather than just on the intake number of artisan apprentices that the Youth Wage Subsidy has encouraged to date.


human resource management; unemployment; career development


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Crossref Citations

1. Apprentice selection: A systematic literature review from 1990 to 2020
Juliet Puchert, Roelf van Niekerk, Kim Viljoen
Acta Commercii  vol: 21  issue: 1  year: 2021  
doi: 10.4102/ac.v21i1.932