Perceptions of small business managers on the effects of voucher-training programmes offered by the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority

Truman, Kiru (2014-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: According to Van Scheers (2010, p. 1) small businesses constitute 55% of the employment rate in South Africa. The argument that in the future new jobs are more likely to come from a large number of small businesses than from a small number of large businesses (Martin, 2001, p. 189) has challenged the South African government to support the empowerment of small business. The Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (W&R SETA) was formed as part of the governmental plan to ensure quality-learning provision within the wholesale and retail sector. The training of employees within small businesses in the wholesale and retail sector is not adequate (Mokgata, 2009, p. 4), despite the various methods of training funded by the W&R SETA. The small business unit at the W&R SETA introduced the Voucher-training System. Small levy paying businesses in this sector receive a voucher or vouchers that can be used to access free training opportunities for staff. Providers accredited with the W&R SETA are allowed to offer training programmes that suit the education and training needs of the sector. Companies pay the provider with the free vouchers they are allocated by the SETA. The scope of the Small Business Voucher-training System is to offer short courses that provide skills with immediate effect on the small businesses. The focus of this study grew out of the need to know if the voucher-training programmes meet the needs of small businesses in the wholesale and retail sector. In order to determine whether the voucher-training programmes meet the needs of the small business sector, the small business managers’ perceptions of the voucher-training programme are essential in order to develop insights into the possible improvements and sustainability of the programme. A descriptive research study from an interpretivist perspective is used to understand the perceptions of the small business managers of the voucher programmes. A case study design was used and forms the basis of this study. Interviews were used to elicit qualitative data that provide insights into small business managers’ perceptions of the voucher-training programme. A descriptive research study from an interpretivist perspective is used to understand the perceptions of the small business managers of the voucher programmes. A case study design was used and forms the basis of this study. Interviews were used to elicit qualitative data that provide insights into small business managers’ perceptions of the voucher-training programme. The reasons small business managers gave explaining why they selected specific programmes for employees indicate the influence the training had on employees and their future progression and development within their company. It showed how the company itself benefited from the employees involvement in these programmes and lists the most appropriate programme for these small businesses in the wholesale and retail sector. The small business managers’ reflections on any changes in their employees’ behaviour after the employee attended the voucher-training programme ranged from positive behaviours which they noticed to poor or no influence from the training interventions on employee behaviours at all. The learning programmes small business managers noted as essential in furthering the development of their employees are programmes that suit the respondents in this study. These insights are important in order to understand the type of programmes needed by small business managers in determining the further training needs for their employees in the wholesale and retail sector. The respondents shared various insights, from their personal experience after they had sent employees on the learning programmes, on how they felt the voucher programme system could be improved. The insights these small business managers provide on how to possibly improve the voucher-training programme indicate a thorough knowledge of their business and operational requirements which the SETA and providers need to pay careful attention to should this programme continue.

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