Making Sense of TVET – Employer Partnerships

Making Sense of TVET – Employer Partnerships

At the onset of the WorkFit Campaign, the team decided that it was important to recommend policy changes that would affect positive change in the TVET space. Given that partnerships are a key topic in the WorkFit Toolkit, the team chose to focus their efforts and resources on better understanding TVET College – Employer partnerships. This focus was chosen as research shows that these partnerships have a direct impact on youth work readiness. The intention is that in better understanding these partnerships, we can support improvements that benefit TVETs, employers and youth.

Given how important TVET College – Employer partnerships are and the fact many interventions in this area have not had the intended impact, WorkFit needed a research solution that would allow us to approach the problem without the constraints of previous paradigms. We needed a research methodology that would help us to delve deeper into the unseen dynamics that influence the success of these partnerships from a bottom-up rather than top down perspective.

Enter the Sensemaker® Methodology. With its origins in Dave Snowden’s work on complex adaptive change, Sensemaker® is an unusual research approach enabled by a software tool that can be used to gather both quantitative and qualitative data at scale. The methodology is unique in the way that it allows people to share their own stories of actual experiences and also allows them the opportunity to signify the meaning of their own stories. This transfers the power of interpretation back to the storyteller and eliminates analyst bias. The reason that this is important is because we as individuals make unique meaning of our experiences and form differing emotional attachments to those experiences. Sensemaker® enables us to capture the full richness of every storyteller’s experience and present the data in a rich tapestry of narrative patterns.

Not only is it a quantitative tool in a traditionally qualitative space, Sensemaker® also enables a new way of thinking about research. It generates a visual pattern, often presented as a landscape, showing the distribution of the stories against a map of relevant factors. This allows researchers to uncover insights and weaker emerging patterns that may otherwise be invisible.

In our research, we identified a range of factors that could contribute to the success of TVET College – Employer partnerships. We hope the results will help us to understand what enables or inhibits success in these partnerships and how they could be improved.

So: Why should you participate? Firstly, your story could help us better understand and improve these important partnerships. Secondly, the results that we receive and the insights that are drawn from the research will be shared with research bodies and relevant governmental departments and you could therefore be part of shaping policy changes. Finally, if the first two reasons didn’t convince you, perhaps this will: we are compensating each respondent R250 for their time. This compensation is guaranteed* and will take about 2 weeks to reach you.

Importantly, if you do participate we request that you provide as much detail as you can when you share your stories as this helps dramatically with interpreting results. Please note that the survey is anonymous and you have the option of providing your email address should you want to receive the compensation. Your email address will not form part of the data that will be analysed.

If you’re interested in sharing your story about a TVET-Employer partnership, fill in your name and contact information here and one of the team members will contact you with the next steps. For any further information or questions, please contact Stephanie on

*the compensation is guaranteed provided that the questionnaire is properly completed and that all responses are valid.

Stephanie Bührer

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