Tracer study of the placement of boilermaker graduates in the labour market

Hlophe, Dolly
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This tracer study was designed to track the placement of boilermaker graduates in South Africa. The mining skills sector plan identifies amongst others the boilermaker trade as in short supply. To respond to the scarcity of boilermakers in the mining industry, the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) deployed funding to various mining companies to equip potential individuals with boilermaker skills. The skills development interventions (training of boilermakers) funded by the MQA aims to enhance the existing skills base of the South African mining sector and to develop a supply of graduates for the sector’s future skills needs. Against this background, a tracer study was conducted to determine the effects of MQA funding on boilermaker skills development interventions. The research was conducted to answer the following primary research question: What is the placement profile of the boilermaker graduates in the labour market? The study employed mixed research methods to collect and analyse data. Semi structured interviews were used to collect qualitative data from the potential employers. Questionnaires were used to collect quantitative data from the boilermaker graduates. The study was based on the 2014 to 2016 learnership cohort supported by the MQA. The analysis of the quantitative data from the boilermaker graduates played a significant role in assisting the researcher to answer the primary research question and subsequently deal with the primary research objective which was to track the placement of boilermaker graduates in the labour market. The findings show a positive trend in terms of boilermaker graduates’ shift from the learning environment to the world of employment noting that out of 40 respondents, 27 were employed and 17 of these graduates were employed as boilermakers. Furthermore, it took less than six months for all 17 individuals to find boilermaker employment. The findings point to three key themes influencing the employment prospects of boilermaker graduates which include the nature of the qualification, government legislation, and graduate attributes. The study discovered that employer representatives favoured boilermaker graduates who had more exposure to practical knowledge and experience particularly those with the Section 28certification,as opposed to those with a TVET college qualification. The cohort of boilermaker graduates and the study sample was dominated by black male individuals which correlates with one of the key aims of the Skills Development Act(SDA)and related legislation to improve the employment prospects of previously disadvantaged groups through training and education. The study further revealed that employers tend to prefer boilermaker graduates with skills and attributes such as technical competency, lifelong technological learning tendencies, good work ethics and honesty
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, in 50% fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management (in the field of Monitoring and Evaluation), 2020
UCTD, BOILERMAKER, GRADUATES, LABOUR MARKET, Mining skills, Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) d