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Training and learning in the informal sector in the Gambia

Cole, Prince Taiwo (1999) Training and learning in the informal sector in the Gambia. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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    Abstract

    Over the last 30 years or so, there has been growing international interest in the "infon-nal
    sector" of the economy in developing countries, and there is now the recognition that to
    operate successfully as artisans in the informal sector, "apprentices" require a range of
    knowledge and skills.

    The general aim of the present, qualitative study, was to investigate how apprentices in
    informal sector enterprises in two trades (the Motor Vehicle trade and the Tie-dye trade) in
    The Gambia learn at the workplace and how such learning was facilitated. Twenty
    enterprises were selected for the study, ten in each trade.

    A variety of data collection methods were employed, namely, (a) individual, semistructured
    interviews of the entrepreneurs (who owned these enterprises), and of the
    apprentices, (b) observations of the tradespersons and apprentices at the workplace, (c)
    accounts of "critical events", and (d) documentary studies.

    The study has shown that (a) the tradespersons did not demonstrate to the apprentices the
    procedures for the tasks that they were undertaking, (b) the apprentices were not allowed to
    practise on the tasks that the tradespersons were contracted to und(rtake; (c) the
    apprentices practised their skills privately in their leisure time. (d) the tradespersons did
    not explain to the apprentices the theories underpinning the technical procedures; and for
    the apprentices, the term "theory" referred to the technical procedures, as such, rather than
    to the scientific and technological concepts and principles underpinning the procedures, (e)
    although the apprentices were often outwardly passive they did observe closely the
    tradespersons at work and made associative links with their own previous knowledge and
    experience.

    What has also emerged from the study is that apprentices' learning at the workplace in the
    informal sector is: (a) a multi-dimensional process, largely self-motivated and conditioned
    by the rigid hierarchical structure of the workplace. (b) (i) productivity-driven, (ii)
    atheoretical, (iii) unplanned, (iv) unstructured, (v) facilitated through role modelling.
    The study compared the concepts of learning which emerged from the study with the
    traditional concepts of learning and teaching in Vocational Training Institutions.

    This study has also shown that the tradespersons failed to assess formally competent
    performance at the workplace. There was no end-of-apprenticeship assessment for the
    apprentices in the Tie-dye trade; and in the Motor Vehicle trade, the assessment was adhoc.
    Importantly too, from the entrepreneurs' perspective, the workplace was about
    production and not about apprentice learning. The tradespersons were expected to
    concentrate on their jobs and not on training, in sharp contrast to the apprentices'
    expectation that the tradespersons should concentrate on skills training.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID uk.bl.ethos.323757
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Apprentices, Apprenticeships, Education, Labor
    Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
    H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
    L Education > L Education (General)
    Schools: School of Education and Professional Development
    Depositing User: Graham Stone
    Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2009 11:31
    Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:48
    URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/5982

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