Centre for Researching Education and Labour

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Research projects


Projects 2020 – 2024

Project Period Funder Focus
Skills for Industry 2020 - 2023 Swiss National Science Foundation This project focuses on specific programmes that contribute to industrial growth and transformation at a company level in six countries, two in Africa (Ethiopia and South Africa) and four in South and Southeast Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). The project focused on exploring the critical factors that help or hinder vocational skills development to contribute to inclusive industrial growth and transformation in the South African automotive, food and textile, and food and beverage sectors. Several technical reports were completed, and two papers were submitted to international journals.
Vet Africa 4.0: Reducing Inequality and Enhancing Sustainability Through Skills Development 2019 - 2021 UK Skills Council This project was a collaboration between REAL, Nottingham University, and Gulu University in Uganda and explored what a fourth-generation African TVET would encompass. REAL led two cases in Eastern Cape and Durban. The findings of the VET Africa 4.0 project culminated in a book titled “Transitioning Vocational Education and Training in Africa: A Social Skills Ecosystem Perspective” which was launched in 2023 with Bristol University Press.
Fundisa for Change: Green Economy Project 2019 – 2021 GreenMatter Partnership NPC This project was funded for the development and trialling of ‘Fundisa For Change Materials’ and an online learning course focused on Green Economy within Economic & Management Sciences (EMS) and FET Business Studies.
Labour Market Intelligence Project (LMIP) 2019 - 2024 DHET Useful reports on hierarchies in qualifications and occupations were produced and will be finalised in 2024 as well as a report on Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO): A Critical Review and SWOT Analysis.
  2020 - 2024 Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA) REAL provided a useful analytical framework for assessing skills against actions required for the public sector to enable SDG achievement as well as a Framework to classify occupations and qualifications in the public service sector. REAL has built a knowledge of occupations and skills in the public sector context and is well-positioned to take on other public sector work. Various presentations of the research conducted under the PSETA partnership were presented at the DBSA HR Convention (Feb 23) and the PSETA Research Colloquium (June 23).
  2021 – 2023 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) The South African National Energy Association (SANEA) in partnership with the Wits Business School’s African Energy Leadership Centre (AELC), the University of Witwatersrand’s Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL) and with the support of the South African BRICS Business Council proposed the development of a South African Energy Skills Roadmap to support a Just Energy Transition in South Africa.
Building local food economies as a just transitioning practice 2021 - 2023 NRF-funded The project was aimed at providing insights into how a local skills ecosystem that supports a local food economy emerges and to what extent it models just transitioning practices. The local associated food skills ecosystem study aimed to promote local innovation, use of new local technology, understand local workplace drivers of skill formation, skills formation to support the development of a local food cluster, and job design and career paths.
Second chance Matric and Community Education and Training (CET) 2022 – 2023 Old Mutual Foundation This project was funded by Old Mutual Life Assurance Company, South Africa. This project aimed to contribute to the overall body of knowledge on post-schooling education, specifically the Second Chance Matric in the CET Sector and supporting learning methodologies that can enhance these learning outcomes.  
Occupations and Skills: Professionalisation in the Banking Sector 2022 - 2024 BankSETA The project examines the value of professional designations in banking and investigates the perceptions of key role players in this regard. The centre established a well-functioning team with REAL staff and interns and developed critical tools for data collection. The centre completed four of the five deliverables for the project, this included the inception report, literature review, data collection and the draft report. The finalisation of the project has been extended to the end of June 2024.
Food and Beverage SETA Research Chair 2023 - 2026 Food and Beverage SETA The Research Chair Prof Allais and her team undertook 5 projects that included looking at enablers and constraints for skills planning within the sector, energy hotspots in the food and beverage manufacturing sector to enable a low-carbon transition, skills ecosystems for a Just Energy Transition, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework and tools, and an impact study of unemployed learners who undertook various SETA programmes (includes a tracer study)
NBI IRM Skills Ecosystem 2023 National Business Institute (NBI) The project focused on the ‘skills ecology’ of four sites i.e. Atlantis, Kathelong, Mandeni, and Mamelodi to consider the interconnected factors and stakeholders that influence skill acquisition and utilization. This research was done to build a more dynamic skills eco-system, with a focus on a hub that can provide skills training and other forms of support to township-based Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) doing installation, repair, and maintenance (IRM) work.
A Rapid Skills Needs Assessment in Marine-based Renewable Energy (Mauritius) and the Circular Economy (Seychelles) 2023 International Labour Organization (ILO) The project was carried out to contribute, in the medium- to long-term, to the establishment of a Vocational and Research Campus for Blue Economy Jobs. This involved the assessment of:
  • The current and emerging skills supply and demand for offshore wind energy and biomass in Mauritius, and waste and the circular economy in Seychelles.
  • The skills supply implications for TVET institutions to deliver related skills
  • The involvement and enrolment rate of women and girls in training programmes in blue and ocean economies.
UCL-Wits-ARUA Collaborative research project on Knowledge Co-creation 2023 - 2024 UCL The research partnership between the three universities focuses on a study of Tanzanian community-led initiatives to mobilize and use indigenous knowledge to educate and inspire environmental stewardship roles in the fisheries sector and to develop their skills for practising sustainable fishing. Two staff members from REAL joined three other researchers to conduct research in Somanga a fishing village over three days in May 2023. The first draft of a paper has been written and will be sent for publication in 2024. 
Economic and Labour Market Analysis for a Just Transition in SA: Creating Learning Pathways for a Just Energy Transition 2023 – 2024 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) This project was split into two streams of work. The first steam involved an economic and labour market analysis to support a just energy transition in South Africa. The project sought to assist in understanding the specific needs of employers in different regions of the country and for different technological changes that will produce the highest numbers of new jobs. Specific focus was placed on how the labour market was changing due to the just transition and what factors served as possible enablers or inhibitors of the just transition. The second stream focused on the mapping of learning pathways and provided insight into occupational and educational progression linked to streams of work central to a just transition. Investigating the nature of learning pathways aimed to create better flows within education and training, improved connections between education and work, and improved development and use of skills at work.
Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority green hydrogen project (CHIETA) 2023-2024 CHIETA The study falls under the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) Green Hydrogen Research Chair at the Wits AELC.  The focus of Wits REAL’s study is examining the potential role of SMMEs, cooperatives and startups in green hydrogen in South Africa.
Unesco Bridging Innovation and Learning TVET (BILT) New Qualifications and Competencies in Africa 2022 UNESCO BILT The purpose of the is to explore the concept of Bridging Innovation and Learning in TVET Project: Trends in New Qualifications and Competencies in Africa.
CBPEP (the EU-funded Capacity Building Programme for Employment Promotion), Skills Dialogue Series 2022 CBPEP The project convened and managed a series of five high-level stakeholder dialogues aimed at the development of a systemic framework for engagement between the vocational skills development system, employers and government.
RPL international benchmarking research project 2024 QCTO The project aims to strengthen the conceptualisation of RPL for the occupational sector by examining current international trends and practices for RPL in Vocational Education and Training (VET).