25 Nov

Skills up in ‘shut down’


A very unique PMI training solution recently played a vital role in ensuring that more than 1000 people employed in the automotive industry in the Eastern Cape, received sustained earnings and up-skilling through a planned temporary layoff.

In late 2013, one of South Africa’s leading automotive manufacturers approached PMI with a request to train1500 of their hourly-paid staff, who, due to a planned ‘shut down’ period earmarked to redesign a production line, were at risk of being forced to take unpaid leave for up to six months.

PMI’s client had applied for Training Layoff Scheme (TLS) funding from the government and required a training partner to take responsibility for the process and the training intervention.

The TLS is designed to offer employers and workers an alternative to job losses as a result of operational requirements or economic distress. Rather than lose income and possibly their employment, workers are given the opportunity to participate in training during the layoff period; earning a training allowance and ensuring their employment contract remains in place.

“Although participation in the TLS is voluntary, the benefits are obvious,” says Noeline van Schalkwyk, general manager of PMI Eastern Cape. “Workers retain their employment and all benefits, they are paid a training allowance for the duration of the training and learn new skills which because they are aligned to their employer’s skills needs, will assist in future career growth and increased earning potential.”

Employers benefit from the time TLS gives them to either make the required operational changes or recover from certain economic pressures, without the risk of losing experienced and skilled staff.

“The TLS process is complicated; relying on the collective efforts of many parties including the CCMA, the relevant SETA, The National Skills Fund (NSF) and UIF, the Department of Labour, and others,” says van Schalkwyk. “Although our client’s application was submitted before the planned shut down in November 2013, written confirmation from MERSETA was only received in March 2014.”

To assist their client throughout the process, PMI put together a project team to research and manage the TLS process and to guide and support their client’s HR team. “We gained valuable experience and insight into the TLS process through the management of this project, learning that will enable us to assist other clients to effectively and efficiently access the funding when needed.”

While waiting for written confirmation, PMI took responsibility for and successfully recruited 34 accredited trainers and admin support staff, and sourced and secured a training venue that could accommodate 800 plus learners in multiple classroom environments,

On the 24th of March, 2014 learners arrived to start their training, which now had to be completed in only two and a half months opposed to the originally planned six months.

“Many of the workers were still scheduled to work at the client’s site during the training period, albeit for reduced hours, and this required a great deal of flexibility in our training schedules,” says van Schalkwyk. “Despite this, 1126 workers successfully completed either the NQF 1 GETC Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Activities or NQF 2 National Certificate in Production Technology Learnership or the Introduction to Manufacturing Skills Programme.”

In a province already battling with high unemployment and poverty, the effective management and delivery of this Training Layoff Scheme not only ensured the sustained earning of more than 1000 people, it up-skilled them.

“As a company committed to upliftment through skills, we are excited about the potential of the TLS and the Retrenchment Assistance Programme (RAP), designed to assist retrenched workers up-skill for improved chances of reemployment or self-employment post retrenchment,” concludes van Schalkwyk.

PMI (a member of the Adcorp Holdings Group) is an accredited Higher Education Provider with a national footprint. Their services include:

  • Training from NQF 1 to NQF 7 level across a range of Qualifications, Learnerships, and Short Learning Programmes
  • Disability Solutions
  • Human Resource Consulting
  • Social Development Projects

For more information on the Training Layoff Scheme and the Retrenchment Assistance Scheme please contact any one of the PMI branches nationwide, details available on www.pmi-sa.co.za or email info@pmi-sa.co.za


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