Enhancing the Capabilities of Municipalities for Local Economic Development through skills training

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The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which the existing training interventions in municipalities can be able to build skills capacity for municipal staff to promote local economy, with special focus on two municipalities (Stellenbosch and Drakenstein), in the Cape Winelands District. Thus, it seeks to answer the following primary research question: To what extent can the existing training interventions help to build skill capacity for LED projects in two of the Cape Winelands’ municipalities? To do this, the study seek to analyse LED training for municipal staff carried out in the two municipalities for the past five years with special focus on the transfer of the acquired skills into job in the work place. The study is situated within the interpretivist paradigm, which focuses on meanings and attempts to understand the context and totality of each situation by employing the qualitative method of interviews which were conducted with staff and representatives of the municipalities and other key LED stakeholders in the two municipalities. The methodological finding reveals the following mixed results: Although the two Municipalities seems to be making great strides in providing trainings, there are some contextual issues in their working environments which disenables transfer of skills to the job. These issues are: Limited supports, limited opportunities to career progression, lack of motivation, working in silos and limited opportunities to practice. However, this conclusion does not invalidate the promise of capacity building to transform the two municipalities into an efficient developmental agent, but highlights the importance of the critical factors which tends to shape the positive outcomes of capacity building initiatives. Keywords: local economic development, capacity building, skills transfer, work environment, LED training.
SocioEconomic Challenges, 2017, 1 (4), pp. 35 - 44