Intermediate-level workers in the services sector
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The services sector accounts for the largest share of employment in the economy and is for that reason important in terms of human resources development. This sector is increasingly under pressure from high consumer service levels and increased globalization. This has an influence on the demand for increased level of skills in the sector. Current trends show that there is a larger dependence by the sector on skills at the intermediate level, measured by supply-side outputs at college Technikon and learner ship level. Intermediates skills are often seen as a critical group of competencies which a large section of the workforce should possess in order to be able to compete successfully in a modern economy. The data analysed in this chapter show that almost half of the workers in the services sector have attained an intermediate level qualification (NQF level 4 or level 5). However the majority of this group hold a qualification at NQF Level 4, they form the bulk of intermediate level workers in the services sector. It is therefore clear that people need to be unskilled. The chapter argues that learnerships can play an important role in this regards, since workers could easily upgrade their qualifications by this route. The fact that the majority of graduations at FET colleges are in the related services sector study fields at NQF Level 5 is a positive sign, since this is the band of graduates that needs to grow further in order to supply the service sector with quality and employable intermediate skills.