In 2017, Tshikululu conducted a community needs assessment to establish the baseline data on skills training and employment in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district of the Northern Cape  on behalf of the Trustees of the Hotazel Manganese Mine Education Trust (HMMET).

In 2016, the Trustees of HMMET noted an announcement by the national Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) of its intention to establish and pilot a Community Education and Training (CET) College in the John Taolo Gaetsewe (JTG) District Municipality in the Northern Cape. Given that the establishment of a CET College was directly in line with the objectives of the HMMET Educational Trust, Tshikululu was commissioned by the Trustees to conduct a community needs assessment to establish the baseline data on skills training and employment in the JTG district to understand the need for a CET College in this area.

Being bound by the limited resources of a Trust, in addition to the community needs assessment, trustees also wanted Tshikululu to develop recommendations on how the HMMET could respond meaningfully in the Northern Cape CET, as well as how best the Trust could partner with DHET in ensuring that the College was a success.

Role & Solution:
In order to identify the strengths, resources and capabilities of this particular community, Tshikululu’s traditional approach to a community needs assessment followed a three pronged approach:  The first part of the approach involved substantial desktop research. With the HMMET project the aim was to completely understand the Johan Taolo Gaetsewe district and its needs, based on sourced public data such as published reports, journals and websites. Once the data had been sourced, Tshikululu evaluated and analysed the data, coming up with insights which would then guide the next phase of the community needs assessment. 

The second part of the approach involved on-the-ground field research.

Tshikululu understands the critical need to ensure that all the stakeholders’ voices are heard through using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The most important stakeholders in the HMMET CET College needs assessment were the youth. This research involved arriving in the JTG district with pre-defined questionnaires, targeting youth in local institutions and conducting one-on-one interactions to obtain all viewpoints. Interviews were also held with academic and support staff at the local Technical and Vocational Education and Training College, as well a sample of district employers. Tshikululu also attended a lekgotla with the tribal council to understand what their hopes and aspirations for the district were. They are a particularly important stakeholder as it is the Tribal Council of the Batlhaping Ba Ga Jantjie who voted to make the land available to the CET in 2016.

As the third and final part of the approach, Tshikululu collated and analysed all findings and inputs. A narrative was then compiled which provided recommendations for the trustees. 

The HMMET community needs assessment findings showed that there was a dire need for a CET College in this area, particularly offering courses in Agriculture, Tourism and Mining (and its associated industries), as well as focusing on basic skills-training. 

Tshikululu identified definitive opportunities wherein trustees could directly invest to assist in making the CET College a success. Furthermore, in order to drive the partnership between the DHET, Tshikululu’s community needs assessment was shared with the Northern Cape CET College Council.

Through their experience, expertise and partnerships, Tshikululu assisted the HMMET to establish an educational initiative to further achieve deep and sustainable social impact within the Johan Taolo Gaetsewe district.