A workplace literacy perspective on unlocking employability of Technical and Vocational Education and Training College graduates

Swart, Marietta (2018-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

The inability of young graduates emerging from education and training institutions, including technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges, to find employment or socially useful work, constitutes a challenge to economies worldwide. A contributing factor to this crisis is these graduates’ lack of employability attributes. In this study, modern-day workplaces and the demands of work were explored from a workplace literacy perspective to conceptualise workplace literacy and the development thereof. ENGLISH ABSTRACT : Literacy is circumscribed in the context of the workplace, and its development at TVET colleges is conceptualised in an ideological perspective as evolving identity and behaviour. Becoming workplace literate means recognising the value and purpose of literacy practice in different workplace-related contexts, and integrating and applying literacy practices functionally so as to establish a literate identity. This identity includes capabilities to use and produce multi-modal texts. Ultimately, such a workplace literate identity manifests as creative and critical literacy behaviour, which transforms the individual as a thinking and working being and enhances employability. The resulting conceptual frameworks that result from the review of literature on the topic, served as basis for the content analysis of a TVET college curriculum from which, in turn, possible measures have been developed to prepare and make TVET college graduates a better fit for the world of work. To validate the conceptual frameworks, a directed content analysis was conducted of the affordances provided for workplace literacy development in the intended curriculum of the Engineering and Related Design programme. The analysis traced these affordances in terms of the aspects and elements of the developmental layers of workplace literacy as described in the conceptual framework. A comparison was drawn between the number and type of affordances provided in the curriculum documents of the fundamental and core subjects of this programme. It was found that there are ample affordances to develop workplace literacy at functional level, especially capability with academic literacy practices. However, there are minimal affordances to master capabilities in terms of using literacy critically and creatively for purposes of development and transformation so as to prepare for transition to the workplace. From the conceptualisation of workplace literacy and the development thereof and the content analysis, a number of implications were derived for creating literacy-rich and enabled environments in TVET colleges. These are spelled out as practice turns for classroom practice and practitioner, as well as possible measures for college life and culture and TVET policy. A simplified instrument was attempted to guide the evaluation of the curriculum and the development of workplace literacy practices in terms of affordances for developing workplace literacy readiness. The research contributes to the ideological understanding of workplace literacy in a TVET college context. Workplace literacy means more than reading and writing in a workplace and being employable by virtue of being literate. It includes capability with other coding systems and functionally applying literacy practices within technological work environments. Developing such a literate identity has the potential to transform an individual’s life and work practices. Although quick solutions to TVET college graduate unemployment and employability are not proposed, being able to do work as conceptualised in an array of workplace contexts cannot but enhance employability.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Een van die kritiese uitdagings wat gegradueerdes van opleidingsinstansies soos tegniese en beroepskolleges voor te staan kom, is om werk en betekenisvolle werk daarby te vind. Een van die bydraende faktore tot hierdie ekonomiese krisis wêreldwyd is die werksgereedheid van sulke gegradueerdes. In hierdie studie is daar gekyk na die moderne werksplek en die uitdagings van werk vanuit ‘n werksplek geletterdheid perspektief om werksplek geletterdheid en die ontwikkeling daarvan te konseptualiseer. Geletterdheid word gedefinieer in die konteks van die werksplek en die ontwikkeling daarvan word konseptualiseer in ‘n ideologiese perspektief as ‘n spesifieke identiteit en gedrag. Werksplek geletterdheid beteken om die waarde en doel van geletterdheidspraktyke in ‘n verskeidenheid van werksplek kontekste te verstaan en om hierdie geletterdheidspraktyke te integreer en toe te pas om ‘n werksplek identiteit in terme van geletterdheid te vestig. Hierdie identiteit sluit die gebruik en skep van multi-modale tekste in. Ten einde manifesteer hierdie identiteit as kreatiewe en kritiese geletterdheidsgedrag wat die individu as ‘n denkende en werkende wese transformeer en werksgereedheid bevorder. Die konseptuele raamwerke in dié verband dien as basis vir die inhoudsanalise van ʼn kollege kurrikulum en daaropvolgend vir die voorgestelde implikasies om tegniese en beroepskollege gegradueerdes voor te berei vir die werksplek. Om die konseptuele raamwerke te valideer is ‘n direkte inhoudsanalise gedoen in terme van die geleenthede vir werksplek geletterdheid ontwikkeling in die voorgestelde kurrikulum vir die opleidingsprogram ‘Engineering and Related Design’. Die analise het behels om hierdie geleenthede te identifiseer in terme van die elemente van die werksplek geletterdheid soos gekonsepsualiseer. ‘n Vergelyking is ook getref tussen die aantal en tipe geleenthede wat in die kurrikulum dokumente van die fundamentele en kernvakke gevind is. Die analise het getoon dat daar vele geleenthede is om funksionele geletterheidsvaardighede, spesifiek vir akademiese geletterdheid, te ontwikkel. Aan die ander kant is geleenthede om kritiese en kreatiewe geletterdheid vir ontwikkeling en transformasie van geletterdheidspraktyke te bemeester minimaal. Hierdie vaardighede is krities vir die oorgang na die werksplek. Die konseptuele raamwerk en inhoudsanalise dien as basis vir ‘n aantal implikasies om geletterdheidsryke en bemagtigde omgewings in tegniese en beroepskolleges te vestig. Die implikasies word uitgespel as wysigings in praktyk in terme van die klaskamer en die praktisyn, asook moontlike aanpassings van kollege-lewe en -kultuur en tegniese en beroepskollege-beleid. ‘n Vereenvoudigde instrument is ontwikkel om die kurrikulum en ontwikkeling van werksplek geletterdheid praktyke te evalueer in terme van die geleenthede vir ontwikkeling van werksplekgereedheid. Die navorsing maak ‘n bydrae in terme van die ideologiese begrip en verstaan van werksplek geletterdheid in die konteks van tegniese en beroepskolleges. Werksplek geletterdheid is meer as lees en skryf in ‘n werksplek en om werksgereed te wees in terme van geletterdheid. Dit sluit ook vaardighede met ander kodeersisteme in, asook om effektief en produktief te funksioneer in tegnologiese werksomgewings. So ‘n werksplek geletterdheid identiteit het die potensiaal om die individu en werkspraktyke te transformeer. Alhoewel vinnige oplossings vir kollege gegradueerdes in terme van werkloosheid en werksgereedheid nie voorgestel word nie, kan die vermoë om te werk soos gekonsepsualiseer in verskeie werkplek kontekste nie anders as om gereedheid vir werk en indiensneming van gegradueerdes te bevorder nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105068
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