The months of February to May have been a whirlwind of SAPER activity. The second phase of our data collection has come to an end and the fieldwork has taken us as far as Cape Town to Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Johannesburg, George and Port Elizabeth. All of this in order for us to conduct in-depth, face-to face interviews with the South African planning community. The group was diverse and included the young and old (and wiser), men and women, multi-racial and multi-sectoral to create a representative sample.
Conversation ranged from the state of the South African planning profession, graduate readiness for the job market, diversity, technology and skills requirements. It was fascinating to sit down with persons from academia, government and the private sector and hear their perspectives on issues that affect both their communities and them personally. Interview after interview we realised how complex and fluid the work of planners is and that a long list of both hard and soft skills is required in order to mould a successful graduate. It was also interesting to discuss how expectations are met in a planner’s daily work in face of the great challenges (and achievements) of the profession.
Altogether it was an extremely successful and engaging experience and SAPER would like to thank each and every participant for their time and insights.
In total we have conducted 96 interviews (89 with South African planners) and all recordings are currently being transcribed and coded, as we speak. Some very interesting themes are already evident and we look forward to the final outputs.
Next up: The South African and UK teams are getting ready for their writing retreat in the UK.
Rouve Bingle and Lorena Melgaço