ABET Learnerships Expand Opportunities

Many industrial nations struggle with “school-to-work transition” issues: graduates of their traditional educational systems have neither skills nor values immediately applicable in the workplace. In South Africa, however, industry leaders and educators have collaborated for more than twenty years, developing a sophisticated system that promotes students’ learning for work. In South African industries, the notion of a school-to-work transition seems as foreign because learning environments have been integrated from students’ first day of class. As they complete ABET learnerships, students are assessed according to the standards and expectations in their industries: skills are introduced in the classroom, and classroom activities support students’ acquisition of new skills, but the skills have meaning and value almost exclusively on the strength of their application in the workplace. Educators describe “outcomes-based” assessments. In ABET learnerships, the phrase means that if you cannot do it at work, you cannot do it.