Skip to main content
All Posts By

richardw@workforce.co.za

Training Force Reward & Recognition

By UncategorisedNo Comments

Training Force Reward & Recognition

 

At Training Force, we believe in giving credit where it’s due. To further advance this belief we launched a rewards and recognition programme in October 2021, where we acknowledge top 5 performing employees within the business monthly. Employees undergo a monthly performance review with their managers where the top performers are identified. The top 5 performers are not only recognised but they also get to rub shoulders with Training Force MD, Daniel Orelowitz through a lunch date.

 

Top 5 performers for the month of November 2021, Khumo Sihlangu, Jeanette Motake, Hayley Fynn, Max Flara and Yashil Maharaj were recognised for their excellence and hard work. Khumo the top performer of the month had this to say about the monthly performance review, “The performance review process is a great way for me to identify my strengths and weaknesses and what I can do better with the assistance from my manager. The process is quick.”

 

Through this mentorship and during these lunches the MD gets to share the company’s vision and emphasises the importance of mentorship, recognition and rewarding of employees.  The MD also benefits from these engagements as he also receives feedback and insights from operational people or people on the ground. Hayley Fynn expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to have lunch with the MD, “Having an open discussion with Daniel was something different and refreshing. Yes, he’s our “boss”, but it was nice hearing that he’s human too. And the way he explained certain things about the business was nice to hear. It gave me a new perspective about Training Force.

 

Jeanette had this to say about the recognition, “I personally feel that when you’re appreciated, you’ll improve your performance and communication. This has boosted me as an employee and encouraged my productivity.” Top performer, Yashil Maharaj agreed with this by saying, “being recognised as one of Training Forces top performers was truly an uplifting and motivating experience, it shows that our business does value its employees and recognises the efforts we make.”

 

The programme has been in full steam for 5 months and already has uplifted the spirits of those recognized and encouraged the rest of the employees to follow suite. In conclusion Daniel Orelowitz MD said; often people don’t feel seen in our organisation and we want them to know that we see and appreciate their hard work.”

 

By Nothando Matshoba

Upskilling is key to addressing the growing technology skills gap in manufacturing

By UncategorisedNo Comments

By Daniel Orelowitz, MD of Training Force

 

Technology has always been a significant disruptor in the manufacturing sector, and as the rapid acceleration of digitalisation continues, the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is once again changing the game. Robotics and automation are taking over many previously manual processes, making roles that were once fulfilled by human staff redundant. This reduces the cost of labour and, in turn, the cost of manufacturing, therefore increasing profitability for manufacturers. However, it also means that new roles are being created, and there is a technology-related skills gap that needs to be addressed through appropriate training and skills development initiatives.

 

Automating the future

 

Robotic automation can be used to significantly enhance systems and processes, making manufacturing faster, cheaper and more efficient while improving the quality of products as well as worker safety. Some of these roles include welding, assembly, packing, shipping and handling of raw materials, including hazardous chemicals.

 

As artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics continues to advance, robots will be able to take on a broader range of manufacturing tasks. However, while this is beneficial for the manufacturing sector as a whole, it has the potential to leave many previously employed people short of work. The required skill sets are changing – people need to know how to work with machines, rather than how to make specific products, and upskilling has become critical.

 

New skills for a new world

 

While machines take over mundane, repetitive and rules-based tasks, machines also require configuration, handling, management and maintenance, which in turn requires people. It has become imperative to upskill employees on new, technology-based skills such as these, because new job roles will be created as automation increases. There is also a growing skills gap when it comes to basic computer skills, because as digitalisation becomes more prevalent, aspects such as paperwork become computer-based.

 

The reality is that technology is taking away certain jobs while creating others, and alternative skills are essential to ensure continued employment and employability. Rather than hiring new people with new skills, those loyal workers who have become trusted business assets should be upskilled wherever possible. Not only will this allow them to add further value to a business they have developed loyalty to over the years, it will also give them greater opportunity to find future employment should their role become redundant.

 

People at the heart

 

The manufacturing sector is changing, but people are still at the heart of it, and it is imperative to give people the skills they need to continue to be productive and employable in a technology-driven future. Training initiatives need to become aligned with new skill sets required by 4IR as a matter of priority, so that the manufacturing sector can remain competitive and that its people can remain employable.

 

Companies have a responsibility to train their staff to ensure they remain relevant in the new world, and a moral obligation to help people develop skills that will enable them to continue being productive and employable. The benefit of upskilling and training from within is that these are people who already know the business, they understand the dynamics and processes, and will be able to assimilate their new skills a lot faster than hiring externally.

 

However, in order to get maximum benefit from training and development, these initiatives need to be aligned not only with skills required by the 4IR, but also skills required by the business. A trusted training partner can help to develop a training plan and roadmap for the future, to drive business forward while upskilling staff to remain relevant and adaptable in a world where technology is the future and is always changing.

So you’re paying a Skills Development Levy, but do you really get it?

By UncategorisedNo Comments

By Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director at Training Force

 

If you are running a business in South Africa and employing people, then you are probably familiar with the various taxes and levies that you are required to pay on a monthly basis, including the Skills Development Levy (SDL).

 

You are also likely to know that the SDL is a compulsory payment of 1% of your monthly payroll which gets paid over to the South African Revenue Service (SARS). You might even know that this money is then split between the different Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) that your company is part of as a funding mechanism.

 

Yet, from personal experience, I can tell you that this is just about all that most companies know about the SDL – it’s a tax that is paid monthly and disappears into the ether. But do you actually understand why you are paying the SDL? And do you realise that this gives you access to funds for training?

 

Most employers probably don’t. The sobering fact is that the vast majority of South African employers do not use, understand or even know about the SDL, or that it entitles them to claim a portion of this money back from their SETA.

 

Money is tight

 

In a COVID-19-battered world, where cashflow is a challenge for many businesses, I know that this probably got your attention. In fact, SETAs have two grants from which employers can claim, and this essentially is a pool of funds that they have access to and are entitled to.

 

So firstly, we have the Mandatory Grant from which a company can claim back 20% of the 1% of payroll they paid over as their SDL. In simple terms, if you paid R100 000 in SDL, you get back R20 000. This might not be a massive amount, but as my dad always says: “Better in your back account than the taxman’s.”

 

Secondly – and this gets better – as an employer, you can also potentially receive Discretionary Grant (DG) funding from your SETA. All you need to do is apply for training interventions, be it learnerships, bursaries, skills programmes or internships. Since this is a discretionary grant, your SETA will determine your refund amount based on your application.

 

How do I get funding?

 

So why are you paying your SDL and not seeing a cent back? Well, to apply for the funding, companies must submit an Annual Training Report (ATR), which is based on the training that they conducted in the previous financial year. Additionally, you also have to submit a Work Skills Plan (WSP) which details your intended training over the next 12 months.

 

The annual deadline for claiming from the Mandatory Grant is 30 April, so your WSP and ATR must be submitted correctly by this date. There is no set deadline for DG funding applications, but each SETA will announce its own DG funding window for companies to apply. But to be able to apply for this funding, you need to have submitted your WSP and ATR by the deadline. What’s more, successful WSP and ATR submissions will gain you Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) skills development points. See where this is going?

 

Overwhelming process

 

Unfortunately, the honest truth is if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the mammoth task of fulfilling the procedural requirements of skills development, then you probably should. It is an onerous undertaking. So, how can you make your own life easier? You could hire or upskill someone to be a Skills Development Facilitator (SDF), who can do your applications for you.

 

On the other hand, you could use a consultant or specialist training company that is proficient in these processes and will ensure that everything is done and submitted properly – and let me just stress that getting it right is rather important. Due to the sheer volume of applications that the SETAs receive each year, those that are completed incorrectly simply get binned.

 

We find ourselves in economically turbulent times and a lot of businesses feel as though they cannot afford to spend money on training, because when budgets get slashed, skills and marketing get cut. But you also want your business to grow. Therefore, you have to ensure that your staff is reskilled, upskilled and tech-ready as needed. Thus, understanding and optimising your SDL has never been more important.

 

Feel free to reach out to me if you would like some advice on how you can leverage the benefits of paying your SDL, enabling you to make a difference and upskill your business.

 

CONTACT US

Mandatory Grant Submissions are now open till 30 April 2022!

By UncategorisedNo Comments

Why is it important for your company to submit Mandatory Grants?

 

Every year Levy Paying Organizations need to submit their Annual Training Report (also known as ATR) and Workplace Skills Plan (also known as WSP) BY 30 April. When you submit your WSP/ATR in time, then 20% of the taxes you pay (Skills Development Levies/SDL) is designated as mandatory grants to fund education and training programmes contained in the WSP and ATR. When you fail to submit on time, the following consequences apply to your business:

 

  • You cannot claim any points on your Skills Development which is a Priority Component of your BEE Scorecard, which results in an automatic level drop in your Scorecard
  • You are no longer eligible to claim the training spend back in the form of mandatory grants from your relevant SETA
  • You may not be eligible to receive discretionary grant awards


Training Force has a team of specialists to assist you!
For Mandatory Grants Guidance, contact your nearest Training Force Branch!

 

CONTACT US

Don’t overcomplicate things with SETA’s – a training partner is a valuable accomplice

By UncategorisedNo Comments

By Daniel Orelowitz, MD of Training Force

Any business that offers learnerships, internships, skills programmes and apprenticeships need to deal with various Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs). This can, however, be a complicated task. There are currently 21 different SETAs in South Africa, and they all have different processes and systems. In addition, for qualifications to be recognised by the SETA, training needs to be delivered by an accredited institution. Partnering with the right training provider can help to ease the complexity of navigating SETAs while delivering quality, accredited training that contributes to economic growth and sustainability.


Complicated landscapes

SETAs play a vital role in South Africa, offering vocational training and skills transfer in line with the National Development Plan. Any business that offers skills development as part of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) needs to get involved with at least the SETA involved in their particular industry, but often those for other industries as well. The issue is that there is no centralised system for SETAs and the systems and processes are frequently changing.

In addition, the process for registration is complicated and can take months. This means that enrolling learners can be onerous, especially when they are engaging in qualifications that are part of a different industry – for example, a manufacturing enterprise sending learners for business and technology training. For many businesses, a dedicated team for training and development just is not feasible, and a lack of time and expertise to handle these complexities is a common problem.


Negative impacts

Challenges around dealing effectively with SETAs can negatively impact training objectives. If the processes are not conformed to, the SETA may reject registrations, and the entire process must start again, causing significant delays. The complicated registration process can hold the process up, resulting in the late registration of learners, which can, in turn, affect B-BBEE scores for the year due to a lack of skills development points. The learners themselves also suffer, as they are not able to start their skills development programmes.

The external moderation of learners can also prove to be a stumbling block because this requires accredited personnel, and without this external moderation, the SETA will not award the learner with their certificate or qualification.


Your training partner is invaluable

Short of having an entire team in-house to be accredited and run and manage learnership processes with SETAs, a training partner is an invaluable resource. Not only do they have the accreditations to be able to handle the process from end to end, but they also dedicate resources toward dealing with complex registration.

As the core business of a training partner is to facilitate training, they will also take over the entire admin-intensive process of registrations, ensuring they are completed correctly according to the different requirements of the different SETAs. An effective training partner will have a team focused exclusively on registrations, making sure that documents are accurate and correct before submission so as to avoid possible problems. They will also follow up, make sure that everything is in order, and that there are no delays so that learners can start on time and B-BBEE points can be allocated correctly.

When it comes to navigating the complexities of SETAs, partners are critical. Make sure that you partner with an experienced, accredited training provider with the expert knowledge of the ins and outs of the various SETAs. This is essential in navigating this important, yet often frustrating and time-consuming element of business in South Africa.

Skills development becomes even more critical as the transformation of 4IR continues

By Uncategorised3 Comments

By Daniel Orelowitz, MD at Training Force, a company within the Workforce Training and Consulting Cluster, part of Workforce Holdings

 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is a digital revolution that has massive transformative potential. Technology is rapidly evolving, and if used correctly, it can improve both the spend and quality of business operations. However, without the right skills within the business, technology is either used ineffectively or not used at all, which can be detrimental.

 

In addition, those without the skills to thrive in a digital world will fall behind in terms of employability. Skills development has thus become even more critical, for businesses to grow, for employees to remain appropriately skilled, and for South Africa to become increasingly competitive on a global stage.

 

Skills at the heart of managing change

 

The digitalisation of 4IR is a massive shift for business. The systems and technology not only improve efficiency and enhance productivity, they also remove traditional geographical boundaries and make doing business globally much easier.

 

They also change the way businesses operate, which makes adapting crucial. Proper change management, including skills development and training, is a big part of this. If employees are not empowered with the skills required to use new technology, the end result is often resentment, lack of adoption, and even higher staff turnover.

 

The other challenge is that, across the board, jobs that were previously done by people are increasingly being taken over by technology. These are typically low skill, mundane and repetitive tasks that automation makes far more efficient. However, if employees are not upskilled beyond the level of machines, they will no longer be able to add value to a business.

 

New skills, new opportunities, and new challenges

 

As technology evolves, the need for skills such as developers, computer operators and other technical skills grows, and even gives rise to new job descriptions that did not exist in the past. However, if people do not even have basic computer skills, they will be left far behind.

 

Not many companies in South Africa are geared for this shift, and at a basic education level, South Africa faces significant challenges. The digital divide is still a real problem, particularly in the rural areas, which means that, when confronted with technology, people are often apprehensive because they do not know what to do with it. Skills development, again, is absolutely critical. We need to train people from the ground up, empowering them to build, grow and maintain relevant skills.

 

A problem for every business

 

All businesses need to invest in training all of their staff and upskilling them in technology, because without these skills in the future, they will not be able to contribute to the workforce. It is also important to continue to provide training, because as technology evolves, the skills required to use it will change. Skills development helps to grow the people within a business, which is more cost effective than continually hiring new skills, and it also provides opportunities for people to better their lives through upskilling.

 

If organisations in South Africa do not take steps to address these challenges, they will fall further and further behind, with inefficient processes, lack of agility and a growing margin for error. The skills required will obviously differ depending on the organisation, but regular training has become a must have. Not only that, but skills transfer needs to take place for training to be effective, so the right training partner with the correct accreditations is also a must.

 

Companies that can adapt quicker to the changes brought about by 4IR will be more successful, but in order to adapt they need the right people with the right skills. Looking internally and upskilling people already in a company is not only easier than finding new skills externally, it also creates opportunities and fosters greater loyalty.

 

Ultimately, all businesses will win if they work to upskill their employees, because everyone will have a more skilled pool of resources to draw on. This in turn will improve South Africa’s competitiveness and economic prospects. However, having the right training partner is essential to ensure that skills development takes place successfully.

Skills development becomes even more critical as the transformation of 4IR continues

By Uncategorised2 Comments

By Daniel Orelowitz, MD at Training Force, a company within the Workforce Training and Consulting Cluster, part of Workforce Holdings

 

August 2021

 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is a digital revolution that has massive transformative potential. Technology is rapidly evolving, and if used correctly, it can improve both the spend and quality of business operations. However, without the right skills within the business, technology is either used ineffectively or not used at all, which can be detrimental.

 

In addition, those without the skills to thrive in a digital world will fall behind in terms of employability. Skills development has thus become even more critical, for businesses to grow, for employees to remain appropriately skilled, and for South Africa to become increasingly competitive on a global stage.

 

Skills at the heart of managing change

 

The digitalisation of 4IR is a massive shift for business. The systems and technology not only improve efficiency and enhance productivity, they also remove traditional geographical boundaries and make doing business globally much easier.

 

They also change the way businesses operate, which makes adapting crucial. Proper change management, including skills development and training, is a big part of this. If employees are not empowered with the skills required to use new technology, the end result is often resentment, lack of adoption, and even higher staff turnover.

 

The other challenge is that, across the board, jobs that were previously done by people are increasingly being taken over by technology. These are typically low skill, mundane and repetitive tasks that automation makes far more efficient. However, if employees are not upskilled beyond the level of machines, they will no longer be able to add value to a business.

 

New skills, new opportunities, and new challenges

 

As technology evolves, the need for skills such as developers, computer operators and other technical skills grows, and even gives rise to new job descriptions that did not exist in the past. However, if people do not even have basic computer skills, they will be left far behind.

 

Not many companies in South Africa are geared for this shift, and at a basic education level, South Africa faces significant challenges. The digital divide is still a real problem, particularly in the rural areas, which means that, when confronted with technology, people are often apprehensive because they do not know what to do with it. Skills development, again, is absolutely critical. We need to train people from the ground up, empowering them to build, grow and maintain relevant skills.

 

A problem for every business

 

All businesses need to invest in training all of their staff and upskilling them in technology, because without these skills in the future, they will not be able to contribute to the workforce. It is also important to continue to provide training, because as technology evolves, the skills required to use it will change. Skills development helps to grow the people within a business, which is more cost effective than continually hiring new skills, and it also provides opportunities for people to better their lives through upskilling.

 

If organisations in South Africa do not take steps to address these challenges, they will fall further and further behind, with inefficient processes, lack of agility and a growing margin for error. The skills required will obviously differ depending on the organisation, but regular training has become a must have. Not only that, but skills transfer needs to take place for training to be effective, so the right training partner with the correct accreditations is also a must.

 

Companies that can adapt quicker to the changes brought about by 4IR will be more successful, but in order to adapt they need the right people with the right skills. Looking internally and upskilling people already in a company is not only easier than finding new skills externally, it also creates opportunities and fosters greater loyalty.

 

Ultimately, all businesses will win if they work to upskill their employees, because everyone will have a more skilled pool of resources to draw on. This in turn will improve South Africa’s competitiveness and economic prospects. However, having the right training partner is essential to ensure that skills development takes place successfully.

Do more than just tick a B-BBEE box – make training a top business priority

By UncategorisedNo Comments

By Daniel Orelowitz, Executive Director: B-BBEE Skills Solutions at Training Force

Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) is a prerequisite for doing business in South Africa, and training forms a significant portion of the B-BBEE scorecard. However, training is also critical to help address the skills shortage in the country that is only growing as we move into the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). Businesses need to make training a priority, working not only with B-BBEE consultants but also with Skills Development Facilitators (SDFs) and importantly, outsourced training partners. This ensures organisations can tick all of the boxes while also developing skills they need to create a competitive edge and maintain focus on their core business.

Pieces of the puzzle

Many businesses make use of a B-BBEE consultant to assist with identifying requirements for the B-BBEE scorecard. This includes training on priority skills. An SDF can then engage with the business to identify skills shortages and requirements, and thereafter create a skills program. The SDF will endeavour to marry required skills with B-BBEE priority skills in order to create the best blend to achieve both business and B-BBEE benefits.

However, neither of these providers actually deliver the training required. In addition, there is such a broad range of skills that may be required, either from a business or compliance perspective, that it is impossible to deliver everything in-house. No single organisation can be an expert in their core business as well as every facet of skills training they need. This is why it is advisable to obtain the services of expert, accredited third-party training partners, that will tailor training programs to meet skills development and B-BBEE goals.

Skills development benefits everyone

Training makes up 20% of the B-BBEE scorecard, and as such is a significant part of compliance. In addition, even if all other elements score high enough to raise a company’s B-BBEE level to, for example, Level 2, if their training does not obtain at least eight out of the 20 available points, they will automatically drop to Level 3. This can affect many elements of business including tenders and contracts. It is necessary to spend a certain amount of turnover on training and improve the skills of a specific percentage of staff, in order to achieve this.

However, training should be about more than just a compliance exercise. Certain sectors, such as mining, need to engage in community development programs, and working with SDFs and training providers can help to upskill these communities. This in turn provides both skills development and workplace experience, helping to address some of the underlying socio-economic inequalities we face.

In addition, training staff in the right areas improves not only their skills, but their productivity levels as well. There are many forms this training can take. The most common is learnerships, which provide a full 12-month qualification with both theory and practical experience. Not only do learnerships match companies with the skills they need, it also provides opportunities for learners without previous formal qualifications to obtain one and further their career prospects. In addition, there are skills programs, part qualifications, apprenticeships and short courses like first aid and health and safety, which can be matched to the needs of the business.

The right partner is key

While many organisations have some training in-house, it is simply not possible to maintain the resources capable of delivering training on every single element required for B-BBEE, compliance or business improvement.

Partnering with accredited training providers through B-BBEE consultants and SDFs can ensure that the right skills are transferred, at the appropriate level, adding business value. In addition, organisations will be able to focus on their core business, while having peace of mind that training is up to date and that B-BBEE compliance and skills development are taken care of.

Skills should always be a top priority for every company. Even if budgets are tight, there are always creative ways to make sure training is cost effective, if you engage with the right partner.

About Training Force

Training Force is a Skills Solution company that provides a variety of meaningful and shared valued accredited training specializing in Learnerships and Skills Programmes. The training interventions assists companies to maximise their BBBEE scorecard and at the same time makes a real impact on employees and learners. All programmes are aligned with SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority), the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and accredited SETA Quality Assurance departments.

B-BBEE is an opportunity for economic growth, not just a compliance exercise

By UncategorisedNo Comments

By Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director at Training Force

The purpose of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) is to promote inclusivity and grow all areas of South Africa’s economy. If done properly, it helps to close our skills gap, grow the Small Medium Enterprise (SME) sector and encourage entrepreneurship, all of which will stimulate economic growth. However, in many instances B-BBEE is nothing more than a tick box compliance exercise, which negates any benefit and is not the spirit in which the requirement is intended. The right training partner can help businesses take their B-BBEE to the next level, aligning training with business to ensure sustainable growth and improved efficiency, among other benefits.

Working smarter, not harder in the wake of Covid

For many businesses, the pandemic has meant reducing staff complements in an effort to stay afloat. This has the unfortunate consequence of also forcing staff to work harder and take on new roles, making training more important than ever.

Skills development is also an important element of the B-BBEE scorecard, helping those who previously have not been afforded opportunities to upskill and grow. Incidentally, skills development is also critical in ensuring economic stability and prosperity, and South Africa has a significant skills gap that needs to be addressed.

By embracing the true spirit of B-BBEE, the right skills can be addressed to make a meaningful difference to business. Aligning B-BBEE efforts, particularly training, with actual business needs and values, will not only ensure people are upskilled in a relevant way to help grow the economy, they will also be able to improve business and advance themselves at the same time.

What you put in is what you get out

The reality is that B-BBEE is a requirement for doing business in South Africa, however, this should not be the sole or overriding imperative driving it. Businesses in South Africa need the economy to function and prosper to ensure their own prosperity and growth. Investing in the transformation of the economy  increases the buying power of the market which in turn means more customers, and a more profitable business.

Our current unemployment levels reduce the amount of money in circulation, and every business is feeling the pinch. B-BBEE should not be regarded as a hindrance to business, but rather an opportunity to obtain necessary skills and drive the recovery of the economy faster.

Skills level up

Skills development lies at the heart of both B-BBEE and economic recovery, which makes training crucial. Finding the right training partner is essential to help upskill employees as well as to provide employment and skills development opportunities through learnership initiatives. Your training partner should also manage the areas of the B-BBEE scorecard focused on skills, which account for 20% of the overall rating.

B-BBEE accreditation is also essential to ensure that businesses will receive the desired return on their investment into training. Getting it wrong can cost organisations a lot of wasted money but getting it right will undoubtedly aid a business. The crux is to embrace B-BBEE for the right reasons and align training with required skills, so that businesses will not only tick all of the right boxes, they will also benefit themselves and the economy as well.

About Training Force

Training Force is a Skills Solution company that provides a variety of meaningful and shared valued accredited training specializing in Learnerships and Skills Programmes. The training interventions assists companies to maximise their BBBEE scorecard and at the same time makes a real impact on employees and learners. All programmes are aligned with SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority), the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and accredited SETA Quality Assurance departments.

Opinion Piece: Skills development lies at the heart of improving economic participation

By UncategorisedNo Comments

By Daniel Orelowitz, MD at Training Force, a company within the Workforce Training and Consulting Cluster, part of Workforce Holdings

July 2021

Skills development is one of the cornerstones of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) and makes up a significant percentage of the scorecard. More than simply seeing it as a compliance exercise, however, South African businesses need to shift their mindset. The goal of B-BBEE is not to stifle businesses, but to provide a fair environment for all, and to uplift previously disadvantaged people to enable them to earn an income and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. Skills development should be seen as an opportunity to grow economic participation, which ultimately will benefit all businesses by bolstering the country’s entire economy.

The foundation of B-BBEE

B-BBEE is a prerequisite for doing business in South Africa, especially when large organisations and government tenders are involved. The goal is not to create additional hoops for business to jump through, but to create a fair environment for enterprise. It provides a competitive advantage to smaller businesses entering the market, in an effort to stimulate economic growth as well as job creation. The emphasis on skills development is aimed at equipping South Africans with new skills to allow them to progress and in turn, succeed and grow business.

While the principles of B-BBEE are sound, the way it has been applied has not created the success that is required to redress the disadvantages of the country’s historical path. As the economic landscape currently stands, unemployment is a massive problem, and discouraged jobseekers an even larger one. It is unsustainable for the majority of South Africans to be inactive in the economy, and we need to address this as a matter of urgency.

Better business for all

Without applying B-BBEE principles, businesses risk cutting themselves off from potential markets – while they may not do business with government directly, their customers might, and procurement scores have a knock-on effect. Conversely, higher B-BBEE scores can be a competitive advantage. When faced with the choice of two suppliers, if all other factors are equal, the enterprise with the higher B-BBEE rating will inevitably be awarded the business.

A complex landscape

B-BBEE accreditation requires a certificate from a verification agency approved by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS). However, B-BBEE requirements are often open to interpretation, and different agencies may apply the codes requirements in different ways.

Partnering for success

This is just one example of where the B-BBEE codes are open to interpretation. There is no right or wrong answer, until such time as a clarification is published. In addition, different criteria are applicable to different categories of business depending on their size and turnover. The scorecard itself is made up of five elements, of which skills development is a priority element that rewards 20 points. However, skills development is also interwoven into all of the other elements, with skills initiatives forming part of achieving these areas as well.

This is why the right skills development partner is crucial to help businesses navigate this often-complex landscape. An expert partner will ensure skills development is aligned with both B-BBEE requirements and business needs, to actively improve both. This leaves enterprises free to focus on their core business, while the training partner delivers upskilling programs that match skills development to business strategy.

In it together

Not only is skills development a huge driver of B-BBEE compliance, education needs to be at the heart of what B-BBEE is, because it is the key to improving South Africa’s economy. It is the duty of all businesses to teach people, to help them become economically active, to uplift them and give them the skills they need to become valuable, contributing members of the economy. B-BBEE should never be simply about ticking boxes as a short-term compliance exercise, because this does not create sustainable economic growth.

It is in the interest of all businesses to grow the economy, because increasing the market is the key to greater wealth, rather than simply trying to increase individual share in a small, stifled and struggling market. Businesses need to embrace the opportunity to create a win-win situation in the long-term. If every business works to upskill people in relevant skills, then we will all benefit.