Factsheet 6: Apprentice selection and progress

This workstream intends to:

  • Define the candidate selection criteria for occupational dual programme (DSPP) entry.
  • Establish procedures for the selection of candidates with the involvement of industry.
  • Track apprentice progress related to the trade and their personal development.
  • Identify areas for intervention and remediation regarding apprentice progress.
  • Provide ongoing support to apprentices regarding their personal and professional development.


  • Understanding the requirements of industry to develop appropriate candidate selection criteria for each occupational programme is crucial.
  • Decisions on selection criteria for the DSPP may not be amended for the pilot phase. All participating TVET colleges MUST adhere to criteria as provided by the Strategic Steering Committee .
  • Choosing candidates with the relevant entry level education (NC(V) 3 or 4), aptitude and attitude through a multi-level selection process is critical for the success of the programme and ensures higher retention rates.
  • The QCTO qualification document recommends a minimum of NC(V) 2 for some occupational programmes. This however does not suit the requirements of industry, as participants are too young and not mature enough.
  • From 100 candidates only 25 – 30% passed the suitability tests, with the major hurdle being the FLC numeracy test. This implies that for a pool of approx. 50 candidates from which companies can choose, at least 200 initial applicants are required.
  • Candidates in the programme were tested as follows:
  • Foundational Learning Competence (FLC) through the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) to ensure adequate numeracy and literacy skills to fulfil the current access requirement for the trade test
  • Medical tests applicable for the electrical occupation:
    • General medical fitness (incl. colour blindness)
    • Fear of heights
    • Fear of confined spaces
  • Practical assessment in order to demonstrate the required aptitude for the occupation
  • Employers were then in a position to select their own candidates. Employers emphasised that they see this as a critical success factor for the DSPP.
  • The pre-tests should only be the first level of selection: host employers select their own candidates from this pre-selected candidate pool using their own selection procedures. This ensures buy-in from the industry.
  • TVET colleges should prepare candidates for the industry selection process through simulated job interviews, as most learners never encountered these processes prior to programme implementation.
  • Candidates should only be selected once TVET colleges and lead employers are ready to commence programme implementation - long waiting periods might otherwise lead to the best candidates moving on to other opportunities.
  • As the ultimate long-term goal of dual occupational programmes, including the DSPP, is to contribute towards high employability amongst graduates, training without considering the apprentices’ career pathways cannot fully exploit the potential of the dual occupational programme. Attention should therefore be paid to career pathing.
  • Progress of Apprentices
  • An M&E framework should be defined to monitor progress of apprentices. Apprentice progress is to be recorded and tracked at the workplace and at the TVET college.
  • Challenges experienced by apprentices in their personal lives (e.g. health, family circumstances, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual harassment, pregnancy, HIV prevention etc.) may have serious implications for the apprentices. TVET colleges could assist such apprentices by giving them access to a TVET college psychologist, etc.
  • Soft skills, e.g. personal development, communication skills etc., should not be delivered as once-off training, but as short lessons throughout the duration of the programme to ensure continued support and development of the apprentice.
  • Apprentices should be provided with remedial measures where necessary to prevent them from dropping out of the programme.
  • Feedback should be obtained from the apprentices about their experiences during company training blocks, in order to monitor their progress and ensure quality training. Rotation amongst companies may be required in instances where an employer is unable to provide all the required workplace exposure.
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