This report has been commissioned by the South Africa Qualifications Authority. It reports on navigational tools available to learners, workers, work-seekers in South Africa and to those helping them construct work and study paths for sustainable and meaningful livelihoods.
The landscape of careers guidance in South Africa comprises many players, diverse and devolved information sources and services, and a policy and personnel infrastructure that suggests the situation of careers guidance has improved over the last few years. However, information exists in ‘thundershower’ initiatives for pockets of people. Changes in education and training make mastering information more complicated.
The key voids in information and guidance provision are: lack of coordination; no comprehensive, national, independent, good-quality, publicly available information; no national strategic policy leadership in the field; no models for systemic careers guidance delivery; paltry funding to outreach organisations; and no public recognition that support and accessibility are intertwined.
Needed are strategic leadership and coordination; comprehensive, national, independent accessible information for all linked to support services; and harnessing new technology to provide innovative services that increase accessibility dramatically. The learner needs to be at the centre of a radical rethink of careers services in a lifelong learning framework to ensure learners have access to navigational tools throughout a lifetime of work and study transitions.
A cellphone/telephone helpline is recommended and elaborated as a strategic and concrete point of entry to address many of these imperatives. The need for navigational tools is vast and a critical issue of access, redress and the efficiency of the education and labour market systems. SAQA, linked to both the Department of Education (DoE) and the DoL, is ideally placed to lead a partner initiative to set up a helpline for careers information and advice.