Focusing on the Factors Influencing Learners’ Decisions to Follow a Career in Engineering in South Africa

A steady decline in student enrollment at the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) of the South African Universities of Technology (UoT) has been noted in recent years. Small numbers of South African students have enrolled in mathematics as a subject, and most of them have performed poorly. Since there has been no scientific evidence to date that recruitment and guidance efforts work best to attract quality learners for engineering courses at UoT, the study sought to define the variables influencing the choice of engineering as a profession for learners. In the creation of an evidence-based recruitment and marketing model, this knowledge may help. For the study, a single-case explanatory study design was used, because it concentrated on the UoTs. Using feedback from first-year extended curriculum engineering programme students at a chosen UoT, a quantitative and qualitative analysis was conducted. The knowledge was analysed using the Research Statistical Kit SPSS (Social Sciences). The quantitative results were confirmed and triangulated by studying the qualitative data from more than one perspective. It defined the factors that played a role in the career choices of learners. Thematic clusters have emerged as a catalyst or development of an understanding or interest in engineering, the effects of various individuals on the career choices of learners, relevant exposure to careers in engineering, the enormous effect of teachers of mathematics and science on the career decision-making of learners, teaching methods, employability and the An institution’s image and credibility. It became apparent that engineering departments themselves need to take responsibility for their students’ recruitment. In most institutions, copying appears to be the key coping method in terms of publicity and recruiting engagements. Although many of the existing marketing and recruiting behaviour of UoTs were on par with the rest of the world, the model established and introduced alternative actions.

Author (s) Details

Michael Twum-Darko
Faculty Business and Management Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa.

Zelda Janse van Rensburg
Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa.

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