Informal Learning a Means to Brighter End
Informal learning can be a powerful tool in helping close the skills gap and create jobs.
This is the finding of research conducted by senior lecturer in the School of Social Sciences Dr Joseph Rudigi Rukema among mechanics, hairdressers and construction workers in informal settlements.
Rukema says his findings show that 90% of the participants have acquired skills through informal learning, from friends, relatives or from established businesses and organisations.
‘The study also reveals that the majority of the respondents are self-employed, using the very skills acquired through informal learning.
‘According to my findings, while informal learning proved to be a success in bridging the knowledge gap and creating employment, it was apparent that most of participants had limited skills in project management, book-keeping, financial acumen and marketing hampering the success of their business. It was also apparent that most of the participants lack writing skills in their mother tongue or can hardly speak or write English,’ said Rukema.
‘Based on the above and from my own experience and as part of community engagement, I believe it is worth initiating and promoting informal learning and entrepreneurship in a project to create jobs for our young people.’
Rukema invited all those interested in being part of such a project to volunteer to provide training in project management, financial skills, book-keeping and marketing to benefit those in need. He is also assisting builders in informal settlements to establish builders’ associations “informal settlements builders association” and appeal to anyone or business with construction contracts to consider “Informal Settlements Builders’ Association”.
Rukema obtained his PhD in Social Policy Studies at KZN after which the University awarded him a three-year postdoctoral Fellowship. He is currently a visiting scholar at five universities in Africa.
While studying towards his honours degree in Public Policy at UKZN, he worked as a car guard then a security guard. Through his social and economic background he developed a passion for social entrepreneurship and the spirit of community development which culminated in him initiating numerous community projects. Rukema has also developed two development models. 1 Community self-help banking model. 2. Entrepreneurship through Research – Converting Research into Community Projects.
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