Research on workplace barriers faced by rural graduates
SLF recently partnered with the Rural Education Access Programme (REAP) to conduct research on the experiences of black rural university graduates in the workplace in South Africa. The research is part of REAP’s “Bridging the Gap between Higher Education and the Workplace” project. It aims to provide a clearer picture of what challenges or barriers face previously disadvantaged students from a rural background in gaining access to appropriate employment at a suitable level and building successful careers in their field of study in the longer term. REAP’s over 300-strong alumni association will form the main research cohort, while employers and those who have helped to prepare students for the workplace will also be interviewed over the nine-month research period.
The research results will be shared widely with the public and with all stakeholders working in the higher education sector to assist in identifying ways in which black tertiary graduates might be better prepared and assisted to flourish in their post-study careers. This is an important endeavour as most bursary support programmes have addressed only the “first gap” of getting disadvantaged youth into tertiary studies, but neglected the “second gap” between tertiary studies and the workplace, where many still face significant challenges.
This research will be led by SLF’s Projects Director and Senior Researcher, Dr Andrew Hartnack. Andrew has, over the last five years, conducted a wide range of strategic research on youth development and educational interventions for sector leaders REAP, the DG Murray Trust, Umthombo Youth Development and Columba Leadership. His research has been shared widely in the sector through several Learning Briefs, published by the DG Murray Trust. Anthony Muteti and Nathi Tshabalala will also play a crucial role in the research, along with a research assistant, Lisa Menyane, herself a former REAP student.