20 Feb
2015

Skills development in a South African context


By: Cassandra Julius HR ESSENTIALS

skills development

The spotlight has once again been placed on Skills Development (SD) within South Africa for a number of reasons;

The traditional view (which is still prevalent) is to ascertain how SD is able to increase the employability rate of our youth. Whilst this will almost always be a focus for our Government, the focus within business has also shifted through the impact of the revised Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Codes[1]; due to take effect on the 1st April 2015. The revised codes, places a huge responsibility on the employer to actively implement SD initiatives for not only their current workforce but to also use the codes to broaden the impact of SD to positively influence our economy.

The question you may be asking yourself at this stage is; “we have heard this and know this, so how do we get involved in SD that will benefit our organisation?” or “how am I able to implement SD initiatives without adversely affecting the business operation and my bottom-line?”

The answer is quite simple; find a training provider who will partner with you and who places Human Capital and Talent development at the centre of all they do. A “partner” as defined by OMNI implies ‘understanding the business and strategic objectives of our clients and finding the link to align SD initiatives to meet those objectives whilst maintaining business compliance.’

OMNI HR consulting is an accredited Private CET (Continuing Education and Training) College who has successfully partnered with business to project manage and implement Learnerships; a key impact driver for SD within the BEE Codes. A high-level overview (in layman’s terms) to assist you with understanding the basics regarding Learnerships is unpacked below;

  1. What is a Learnership?[2]

A Learnership is a structured learning process which combines theoretical knowledge and practical skills application in the workplace, leading to a qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

Qualifications are Outcomes-Based and therefore the knowledge component is acquired through training, whilst the skills component is achieved back in the learners natural work environment.

  1. What is the benefit to engage in Learnerships?

There are a number of benefits to engage in Learnerships;

  • Expanding /growing the skills-base of your organisation
  • Creating employable opportunities for individuals who can add value and grow your business
  • Qualify for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBB-EE) points under the Skills Development Category
  • Apply for and Qualify for Tax Rebates on successfully completed Learnerships.
  1. What is the time investment required from my business to engage in Learnerships?

A Learnership runs for 12-months.

During this time a learner would participate in Primary Training (with your chosen Training Provider), followed by Secondary Training (workplace-based) before operating within the business. There are a number of requirements that would need to be fulfilled from an assessment point of view, however, the contact times will be agreed upfront between the Training Provider and Employer before the Learnership commences.

  1. If my workforce is already skilled; can I complete the Learnership in a shorter period?

No. With reference to the definition of a Learnership (being a structured learning process); it cannot be completed sooner than 12-months.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is another avenue that could be explored where individuals could complete a Qualification registered on the NQF. This option still counts towards recognised Skills Development in terms of the BEE Codes.

  1. I have heard the term 18.1 and 18.2; what’s the difference?

These are classification codes recognised by the SETA’s (Section Education and Training Authority) in order to differentiate ‘who’ is participating in a Learnership;

18.1 simply means: learners are permanently employed with an organisation/business, whilst 18.2 means: learners were previously unemployed before participating in the said Learnership.

  1. How do I know which SETA I belong to?

Consider the skills profile of the company. What does approximately 60% of your employees do and what is the primary focus of the business? The company falls within that relevant SETA.

For further assistance, please refer to the Standard Industrial Classification codes on the Department of Labour website; alternatively consult with SARS who would have allocated the SETA when the company was registered.

We would be happy to engage with you further on a practical and implementable plan to implement SD within your business.

Perhaps Learnerships is not the chosen route you wish to take to implement SD; there are a number of ways to align SD to your business’ strategic objectives. Let’s collectively not lose sight of the positive return on investment SD will have for the business and our economy at large.

[1] https://www.thedti.gov.za/economic_empowerment/bee_codes.jsp

[2] http://www.saqa.org.za/show.php?id=5996

 

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