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The success of learnerships? Lessons from South Africa.s training and education programme

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  • Rankin, Neil
  • Roberts, Gareth
  • Schoer, Volker

Abstract

Vocational training programmes, like South Africa’s learnership programme, which combine classroom learning and on-the-job training seem like the type of intervention which can create skills, get young people into jobs quicker, and reduce youth unemployment. This paper uses a longitudinal dataset of young people over four years—some of whom participate in the learnership programme—and firm level data to assess whether the programme meets its objectives, and based on this draws lessons for similar programmes in other countries. The results are disappointing: young people completing learnerships are more likely to be employed but this fades quickly; they do not get better jobs; and the way the programme is funded, as well as the nature of the firms which undertake subsidized training, means that the programme redistributes resources from smaller to larger firms and from more labour-intensive firms to less.

Suggested Citation

  • Rankin, Neil & Roberts, Gareth & Schoer, Volker, 2014. "The success of learnerships? Lessons from South Africa.s training and education programme," WIDER Working Paper Series 068, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2014-068
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    File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/wp2014-068.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Courtney Monk & Justin Sandefur & Francis Teal, 2008. "Does Doing an Apprenticeship Pay Off? Evidence from Ghana," CSAE Working Paper Series 2008-08, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    2. Alberto Behar, 2010. "Would Cheaper Capital Replace Labour?," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 78(2), pages 131-151, June.
    3. Neil Rankin, 2006. "The Regulatory Environment and SMMEs. Evidence from South African Firm Level Data," Working Papers 06113, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    4. Rita Almeida & Jere Behrman & David Robalino, 2012. "The Right Skills for the Job? Rethinking Training Policies for Workers," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13075, August.
    5. Eichhorst, Werner & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria & Schmidl, Ricarda & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2012. "A Roadmap to Vocational Education and Training Systems Around the World," IZA Discussion Papers 7110, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Keywords

    vocational training; youth employment; South Africa; learnerships;

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