A recent employability evaluation of graduates of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s Elsenburg Agriculture Training Institute (EATI) has found that 68.1% of its youth graduates (18-35) were more likely to be employed. This is 26.4% higher than their counterparts surveyed in StatSA’s Quarterly Labour Force Statistics. At the time of the evaluation, which took place between January and March 2023, 54% of graduates were employed. In the six months after graduating, 42% of surveyed graduates found employment, 18% were engaged in a learnership/apprenticeship/internship, and 2% were self-employed; the unemployment rate was 21%.
Commenting on the evaluation, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, said, “The development of our young people and our workforce is at the core of the Western Cape Government’s new economic strategy, Growth for Jobs. EATI graduates want to be economically active. So, I am pleased that an EATI qualification is contributing to improved access to economic opportunities and employability.”
The evaluation report also highlights that employed graduates confirmed the value and relevance of their studies for their work. The report also makes recommendations that could support the impact of EATI: These include:
- Ensure that all programmes undergo regularly scheduled reviews to maintain relevance and effectiveness, include input from industry stakeholders, and consider graduate feedback and employability.
- Strengthen partnerships to provide students with practical experience and consider offering work experience and internships as part of all AET programmes.
- Establish a standardised approach to engaging with the industry.
- Expand collaboration with industry to design and offer short courses focused on emerging developments and trends, such as drone technology and climate change.
- Develop structured recruitment initiatives specifically targeted at individuals from previously disadvantaged and non-traditional agricultural backgrounds to increase their participation.
- Provide structured career guidance to students during their studies. Consider implementing a formal programme that assists in exploring career options, particularly emerging job opportunities within the agricultural sector.
- Consider establishing an alumni association to foster networking and ongoing support among graduates.
- Continue the good practice of undertaking regular evaluations.
Minister Meyer continued, “Our Growth for Jobs strategy foresees a thriving agriculture sector bolstered by graduates who are armed with the skills, experience, competencies, and capabilities to prosper individually. For this reason, the recommendations suggested by the report will be factored into our planning.”
“EATI will therefore strengthen the role it plays in building a thriving agricultural sector where capable, economically active graduates can access economic opportunities and employment, including the skills of the future”, concluded Minister Meyer.
Spokesperson for Minister Ivan Meyer