This paper qualitatively seeks to understand matching of TVET graduate competence in their vocations of study with the competence expectations of the employers. Both soft and technical competences were considered using cross sectional data that was collected from 102 firms that had activities in the Welding and Metal Fabrication, Horticulture and Plumbing TVET vocations. From the qualitative analysis there is a perceived skills gap in both soft and technical skills although the negative sentiment is more for technical skills. The private sector argues that the skills gap is potentially attributed to outdated learning technologies, ill-trained trainers, inadequate practical classes and poor student attitudes. Furthermore, since competence testing is not mandatory post TVET study besides being poorly marketed, as such employers are largely unaware of it thus not demanding for competence certification prior to employing a TVET graduate. As such whether a TVET graduate is competently productive or not at work place is attributed to luck. Policy wise therefore, upon completing TVET training, undertaking competence testing ought to be made mandatory. Besides, periodic entrepreneurial surveys could be helpful in matching TVET skilling to the dynamic work environment.
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RUFORUM Working document series