Sectors & Skills: The Need for Policy Alignment presents the results of a large-scale study of the skill demands of five ecomic clusters in South Africa: the high-tech sector - automotive, aerospace and 'big science' techlogy such as space science, nuclear energy and biotechlogy; the resource-based sector - metals, chemicals, wood, paper and pulp; the labour-intensive sector - clothing and textiles, agro-processing and the creative industries; the services sector - financial services; ICT and tourism; and public infrastructure - energy and transport. Drawing on the skills of scholars and expert consultants throughout South Africa, the findings point to highly differentiated socio-ecomic conditions and divergent prospects for future growth in each sector. The analysis shows that each sector requires customised skills development strategies to meet specific sectoral conditions. This places widely diverging demands on the education and training system that, in turn, necessitate far greater levels of alignment between skills development and industrial policies. The mograph is based on a study of sector specific research and related skills requirements commissioned by the South African Department of Labour in 2006. It formed part of a wider research project related to the National Skills Development Strategy and the National Industrial Policy Framework of 2007, for which the Human Science Research Council led a research consortium comprising the Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town and the Sociology of Work Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand. Ecomic policy-makers, small business development and funding agencies, academics, development planners and human resource strategists will find this a vital resource in conceptualising and formulating new skills development strategies.
Dr Andre Kraak is a former Research Director for Human Resources Development and Science Studies in the Education, Science and Skills Development research programme at the HSRC. He is currently and independent Education and Training Research Consultant in South Africa.