Education and skills in tourism: implications for youth employment in South Africa

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The tourism sector is routinely offered as an option to grow employment in South Africa. Yet, questions need to be asked about the nature of employment in tourism, the state of education and skills training in the sector and its prospects for youth. Drawing on a national study, this paper interrogates tourism education and skills training issues in relation to youth employment and development. The findings reveal that youth in the sector find themselves in precarious employment: they typically have low-level skills, do not continue their education or training after being employed and have few career progression options. At the same time, a mismatch between the outcomes of education and skills training in tourism and the requirements of the industry come to the fore. Enhanced skills development and the creation of pathways for learning; labour market access and upward career progression are needed to advance youth in tourism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-839
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopment Southern Africa
Issue number5
Early online date19 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2020


  • tourism employment
  • tourism workforce
  • tourism education
  • skills training
  • human resource development
  • youth


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