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Cheeba Cannabis Training and Training Force Partner to Bring Hemp Training to Africa

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Cheeba Cannabis Training, the leading Cannabis and hemp educator in Africa, has partnered with Training Force, a top training provider focused on delivering job-specific skills assessments and training, to expand hemp training opportunities across the continent. This collaboration will provide learners with access to over 45 Training Force sites throughout the country and the seven official Cheeba Cannabis & Hemp Training Centres.


Through this partnership, Cheeba Cannabis Training and Training Force aim to advance the industry by offering high-quality training programs that educate individuals on the uses, practicalities, benefits, and regulations surrounding hemp and Cannabis.


Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director of Training Force, added, “This ground-breaking partnership with Cheeba Cannabis Training represents a significant step forward for the hemp industry in Africa, and we are honoured to be part of it. Through this collaboration, we hope to empower individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this exciting and rapidly growing industry which will play a significant role in job creation.”


This partnership comes in response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address in which he recognised the untapped potential of the Cannabis and hemp industry. The industry is valued at over R1.8 trillion in global sales and presents job creation opportunities estimated to be as high as 130,000 new jobs in South Africa.


Hemp is a versatile crop with numerous applications, including food, fuel, and fibre, and contains cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound with a range of health benefits. Despite the prospects, the industry is still in its early stages, particularly in Africa, where knowledge and training opportunities are limited.


The industry is a burgeoning one and according to Polaris Market Research, the global industrial hemp market size was valued at USD 4.26 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.9% by 2030. Africa, with approximately 200 million hectares of uncultivated land, is poised to become a leading player in hemp cultivation and processing.


“The collaboration with Training Force will allow us to broaden our reach and provide access to hemp education for individuals across the continent to support job creation and SMME development. We look forward to leveraging Training Force’s vast network of training sites and infrastructure to achieve this,” said Linda Siboto, co-founder of Cheeba Cannabis Training.


Cheeba Cannabis Training and Training Force are committed to advancing hemp education and training in Africa and promoting the benefits of this versatile crop. As interest in Cannabis and hemp continues to grow, this partnership will be at the forefront of providing the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in this dynamic and evolving industry.


The initial programs will deliver SETA-aligned NQF Level 2 and 4 programs covering “How to Start a Hemp Business,” “Hemp Cultivation and Processing,” and Africa’s first accredited Hempcrete Building course in partnership with Afrimathemp, accredited by the SA Council for Architectural Profession and the Engineering Council of SA, with more programs to follow.

List of Cheeba Cannabis & Hemp Training Centres

  • Ignited Unlimited – Paarl (Western Cape)
  • DankiPa Eco-Estate – Plettenberg Bay (Western Cape)
  • Vital Veggie – Midrand (Gauteng)
  • Vital Veggie – De Aar (Northern Cape)
  • Nongos Joint – Zeerust (Northwest)
  • Eastern Cape Cannabis & Hemp Training Centre – Powered by Cheeba Cannabis Training / Hlomla Multi Services – King Williams Town (Eastern Cape)
  • Invegrow / Genscore Africa – Malawi

About Cheeba Cannabis Training

Cheeba Cannabis Training (B BBEE Level 2) is part of the Cheeba Africa group which also owns and operates Cheeba Cannabis Academy.  The organisation has been at the forefront of the Cannabis and Hemp industry providing world-class education and training opportunities to the African market.  They are Services Seta and AgrSETA accredited and deliver online self-study, blended learning courses, contact courses and deliver full time programmes at their flagship campus in Rivonia Johannesburg.

About Training Force

Training Force (B BBEE Level 1) is a registered training provider focused on delivering industry and job-specific skills assessments and training interventions to businesses and their employees across a variety of industries. Since their establishment in 2003, they have provided over 3 000 companies with training interventions and upskilled over 55 000 workers through their branches across South Africa.

By delivering practical training solutions, they help businesses secure a more productive workforce. All their learnerships are aligned with SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority), the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and accredited with SETA Quality Assurance departments.


From Confusion to Clarity: How a Reliable Training Partner Can Simplify Learnership Administration

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By Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director at Training Force


When starting a learnership or training programme in South Africa, several crucial steps must be taken to ensure that the programme is compliant and that learners receive the appropriate certification upon completion. Such administrative steps are extensive and can get complicated quickly – from registering the learnership programme and obtaining the approval of the relevant Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) to ensuring that the training programme meets the requirements of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO). From a people perspective, accredited facilitators and assessors must be engaged, and learners must be recruited, on-boarded and managed, while regular progress reports must be submitted to the SETA. All of which adds up to an unreasonable amount of work to expect a company to handle in-house.


The overwhelming business of learnerships


Companies undertaking such programmes must also be prepared to tackle immense administrative burdens such as manual document collection and quality checks, recruitment of learner candidates and suitable hosting, as well as lengthy and time-consuming programme registrations. Then comes the need to oversee portfolios of evidence along with internal and external moderation, all of which demand constant follow-up with the various SETAs that are all severely understaffed.


Frustration and extensive paperwork


One of the biggest sources of frustration is dealing with SETAs, whose approval processes can take up to eight months, causing unnecessary delays. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts, and learners and businesses must wait for the approval. This cycle of constant following-up and continuous waiting is taxing on internal resources and their time and can become extremely discouraging.  The challenges of dealing with the various SETAs can be tough concerning disabled learners, or learnership outside the company’s sector. In addition, running learnership programmes requires a lot of technical paperwork, and each SETA has its strict submission requirements and format preferences. This causes a huge headache for both learnership participants and the organisation responsible for managing the programme. If training is not the organisation’s core business, it can be exhausting for employees to handle the extra workload. Hiring additional full-time staff might seem cheaper at first, but the costs can add up quickly, and managing these new employees is simply another problem for someone else to deal with.


Learnerships: whose burden is it, anyway?


Considering the value of learnership programmes in addressing our country’s skills and unemployment crisis, businesses should not have to face these bureaucratic hurdles unassisted. Nor is it logical for them to handle the stresses and headaches of learnership programmes alone. Instead, businesses should focus on their core revenue-generating activities and delegate the responsibility to training experts. By partnering with an accredited, reputable, and experienced training provider, the immense pressure of learnerships can be greatly reduced. This is because training partners have established relationships with the SETAs and are familiar with their specific regulations and procedures.


Outsourcing efficiency and results


A worthy training partner will have honed their efficiency at tackling every aspect and detail of training and learnership programmes, assuming total responsibility thereof for their client companies. By partnering with a specialist training provider (rather than keeping it in-house) companies can outsource their headaches and ensure that their budget and resources allocated to training are efficiently utilised, without the need to manage the performance of internal resources. Furthermore, an experienced training partner makes possible learnerships and training programmes beyond the scope of the company’s focus or industry. Practically speaking, if a company handled learnerships in-house, they’d only be able to offer three or four learnerships, but by joining forces with a training provider, they gain efficiency and cost-effectiveness on an unimaginable scale – with immediate access to up to 42 different learnerships and all the necessary trainers and materials required for each certification.


More skills, more jobs


A reliable training services provider will help businesses create clarity from confusion by taking responsibility for the administrative burden of learnerships, and setting up and running critical programmes that are compliant and recognised by the necessary skills development authorities. Not only will this help learners obtain their certifications as quickly and effectively as possible, but it also helps companies to achieve their training and skills development goals effectively. In so doing, this can open funding and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) opportunities for companies that can make learnerships a mutually beneficial process that is instrumental to filling educational gaps and increasing skills levels in South Africa. In turn, this will aid in critically addressing unemployment by creating the skills needed to fill the jobs that feed and grow our economy.

From the desk of the MD – Daniel Orelowitz

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The year has barely begun, and we find ourselves in the middle of the 1st quarter of 2023. This is generally the time where many medium-to-large companies are facing BBBEE and financial year end deadlines, and most are in the planning phase for submission of their Workplace Skills Plan Targets and Annual Training Reports. We have found that accessing funding grants can be a challenging process for many individuals and organisations especially with the ever-changing SETA/QCTO Landscape.


Most larger companies have a comprehensive understanding of Grant Applications, but there are still so many emerging companies that do not necessarily know that a Workplace Skills plan (WSP) is a strategic proposal where you capture all your planned training for the coming year and the ATR is a report of actual training completed during the previous year, and what it entails. These organizations are often paying Skills Development Levies but don’t know how to access mandatory and discretionary grants. It has been a great pleasure to have helped emerging and established companies with their strategic planning, specifically unlocking of mandatory and discretionary grants. We continue to do so with any of our clients who require this service.


In most circles a perception exists that the SETA landscape is laden with red tape, and to some extent there is truth therein, but inversely any funder would have qualifying criteria for applicants. The challenge then is to have the understanding of how to navigate in this arena. To this day, we have found that there are still too many organisations missing the non-negotiable 30th April deadline for submission of their WSP/ATR which immediately results in BBBEE non-compliance for the Skills Development Category. It can only benefit your organization to meet this deadline, so that you are able to claim your Mandatory and Discretionary Grants. Not only do you fulfil a vital part of your BBBEE, but you can also use the discretionary grant funding to supplement or partially subsidize your training budget. Furthermore, should you opt for learnership interventions, the grant awarded results in the associated learnership tax incentives, which is always a win-win.


We always work to ensure that employers have the best opportunity for being awarded funding. However, we have often found that many companies do not adequately prepare their Pivotal Plan. Companies must declare their pivotal plans on their WSP and, when the discretionary windows open, apply for the pivotal training declared in their WSP and not derail from what they planned as it may very well result in not being awarded funding. When you are in the planning phase of your workplace skills plan, we encourage you to reach out to us so as to ensure that your planned interventions are recorded correctly from the get-go. We can then provide you with the appropriate guidance if needed and assist in the correct supporting documents for your application. It is always the culmination of a solid partnership of learner, employer and training provider that results in project success. Together, we can relish in niceties such as the recognition of the learner’s achievements and graduation ceremonies, and placement opportunities and promotions made possible for the beneficiaries of our training.


We continue to work tirelessly to bring skills solutions to industry and we look forward to helping you with your SETA applications. We are a provider that understands the National Skills Development Agenda and Strategy and are excited to play a meaningful part in creating a difference through skills development.

Learnerships can be a business hack for companies in South Africa – if they do it right

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By Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director at Training Force


Despite being Africa’s most industrialised nation, South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world and is currently struggling with low GDP growth in the thick of global market uncertainty. Economic recovery and growth are desperately needed, but this requires job creation and skills development to meet our country’s current and future needs. One of the most effective ways to achieve skills development and job creation is through learnerships. An integrated skills development intervention, learnerships are aimed at promoting growth in employment and facilitating capacity building across sectors to address scarce and critical skills shortages. Learnerships are attractive for businesses since a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) score and tax benefits are available, however, managing these programmes can be a massive undertaking. Here, it is advisable for companies to partner with an accredited training provider to sidestep the system while gaining all the B-BBEE and tax benefits with none of the associated administrative and compliance burdens.


In short, outsourcing their learnership programmes is the business hack every company needs to embrace in 2023.


What is the big deal about learnerships?


Currently managed by the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), learnerships are directly related to particular occupations and roles. They provide a pathway that leads individuals through to accredited National Qualifications Framework (NQF) qualifications. Learnerships ensure that more people are trained for a specific working environment, and businesses benefit from having a more skilled and experienced workforce. Through such skills development programmes, learners are now able to further their education while employees contribute to the establishment of a pool of skilled labour that can either be absorbed permanently into their organisations or redirected to be of benefit elsewhere in the industry.


In a format that combines structured learning with hands-on work experience, learnerships are key to ensuring that individuals are equipped with the theoretical knowledge necessary to work in their field and the practical know-how necessary to secure a job in that field. As attractive as the business benefits of learnerships may be, companies generally have to source eligible candidates and have them vetted and onboarded, all of which direct time and resources from other core functions of the organisation.


Developing essential skills


An experienced training provider can step in here, and take on the recruitment, enrolment, and management of the right candidates for the company’s learnerships. As training and employee development specialists, it is their core business to help their clients align with the requirements of learnership programmes, such as the Youth Employment Service (YES) programme. This learnership programme provides the company with exceptional B-BBEE benefits, while greatly assisting to close the skills gap in the youth market. An enterprise can participate in facilitating 12-month work experience programmes for unemployed youth by either:


  1. Sponsoring and hosting youth within their business
  2. Sponsoring placements elsewhere within an existing SME/supply chain
  3. Providing hosting to the benefit of a new SME.


How do learnerships benefit employers?


From B-BBEE scores to tax incentives, there are several noticeable benefits when implementing learnerships in the business:


  • Contributing to skills development, job creation and economic growth, while boosting the company’s productivity and adding to its value through the employment of skilled, knowledgeable, competent employees.
  • Establishing a pool of properly-trained, experienced employees with critical skills to draw from gives the business a clear competitive edge in the industry.
  • Being committed to skills development positively impacts the company’s B-BBEE status, improving employment equity targets by enabling previously disadvantaged employees or unemployed individuals to upskill themselves and earn qualifications.
  • There are Learnership Tax Incentives that allow employers to claim up to R120 000 per individual that completes their qualification, along with monthly Employment Tax Incentives (ETI) for every employee hired between the ages of 18 and 29.

An all-round win-win

Between recruiting candidates, handling all aspects of their HR onboarding, and payroll, and overseeing their learnership progress and assessments, there can be a lot for businesses to come to grips with. Partnering with a training provider that specialises in youth development is the smartest business hack that ensures everyone benefits –  the company gains the full tax and employment equity advantages of learnerships, while candidates achieve their full potential through the successful completion of such programmes.

Online training can be a viable solution for upskilling your workforce without impacting operations

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By Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director at Training Force

Workforce training, while essential for upskilling, can cause operational downtime which affects the company’s bottom line. However, this is easily countered with the introduction of on-demand online training. This gives workers the flexibility to attend their training sessions without impacting their work schedules. Such training can significantly reduce the operational downtime that stems from face-to-face training sessions, which are usually scheduled during working hours. Online training makes it possible to accommodate both the operational demands of specific projects and the need to facilitate skills development.


Conflicting concerns


With conventional training programmes, the number one concern for businesses is operational downtime. While the need to upskill employees is undeniable, the need to avoid operational downtime is simply more pressing. This results in training programmes being constantly postponed, or delayed, in the hopes that training can happen during a quieter period, when the timing is better. Realistically, the timing is never going to be ideal, so businesses need to figure out how to fit training into operations and how to work operations around training. Here, online training is the solution.


Weighing costs and benefits


With conventional face-to-face training, employees usually have to apply for study leave in advance. Extra hands become necessary, whether this means another employee stepping in to cover that individual’s shifts or bringing in casual labour. There are plans that need to be made and costs that need to be considered in addition to expenses incurred with paying for the training course itself. While few businesses can afford the negative impact of downtime or the cost of extra hands, the positive impact of investing in employees through training and upskilling initiatives cannot be overlooked. With training, employees become better at their jobs – more capable, and more productive. They’re either able to do their job quicker, or they’re able to take on more work, which makes the training worthwhile.


How can online training make a difference?


The effect of operational downtime can be minimised by making online training available to employees. Lessons and course material are available on-demand to trainees, which means they can access and consume at their convenience. They can either come in to work a little earlier or complete the training during their lunch breaks, during quiet periods in the day or after hours, as their schedule permits. If they need to use company resources to do so, this is possible. Not only does online training facilitate convenience, but it also allows trainees to learn at their own pace. Something not necessarily possible with conventional in-classroom training. Learners can consume the material at their own pace and if anything is unclear, they can revisit or replay the audio or video or reach out to a training facilitator for assistance. This means that the individual can ensure that they fully understand the required material before moving onto the assessment.


From an operational scheduling perspective, if there needs to be face-to-face training, companies and employees will need to reach a compromise. The company can give workers a Friday off for training, and in return, workers can give a Saturday for the same purpose. Expecting employees to attend Saturday-only training is impractical. There needs to be a level of sacrifice on each side in order for everyone to reap the benefits of training.


Commitment is key


In addition to a level of sacrifice being necessary on both sides, employers and employees alike need to be committed to the training to see it through. It’s important to bear the benefits in mind, and to remember that the end will justify the means. In addition to productivity improvements that come with enhanced skills, employees that participate meaningfully in training opportunities will have a sense of accomplishment that comes with having achieved a new qualification or acquired a new skill set. This contributes to employee retention, which is a positive outcome for employers that is realised along with increased productivity. Ultimately, the form and format chosen for training will depend on each company’s unique requirements. The right training partner will be able to facilitate the necessary mix of online or face-to-face training, feedback and assessment – whatever it takes to get the training completed in a way that minimises operational downtime while maximising the opportunities for valuable skills development.

The Age of QCTO is coming – is your organisation prepared to make the switch?

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By Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director at Training Force


The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) is a Quality Council established in 2010 in terms of the Skills Development Act (Act 97 of 1998) as amended in 2008. Its role is to oversee the design, implementation, assessment, and certification of occupational qualifications, including trades, on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF). By June 2023, it will be the primary responsibility of the QCTO 4 for the oversight of the design, accreditation, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications, part-qualifications, and skills programmes in South Africa. Its role is critical in ensuring that South Africa has a qualified workforce to contribute to job creation through better opportunities. The QCTO signals major changes in the skills development space, and a significant number of organisations remain unclear as to how these new standards will affect them and their workforce. Continuous delays in rolling out these changes has resulted in mass confusion. It’s time to set the record straight so that we can move forward with training sector priorities: quality skills development that facilitates South African economic growth and recovery.


What is the QCTO and where does it fit in?


The QCTO is one of the three Quality Councils legislatively responsible for the educational paradigm in line with its constitution. Umalusi is the Quality Council concerned with the development and management of the quality of a sub-framework of qualifications for general and further education and training. The Council on Higher Education (CHE) is concerned with the promotion of a system of quality assurance for all higher education institutions, such as universities and colleges. The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) is charged with the establishment and management of an occupational qualification sub-framework, as well as providing guidance to skills development providers (both private and public) and assessment centres who must be accredited by the QCTO to implement occupational qualifications.


Change can no longer be ignored or avoided


It’s been more than a decade in the making, but change is finally coming. Working behind the scenes, the QCTO has gradually been building capacity as a stand-alone institution to take over its mandated functions from SAQA. “According to the QCTO, the registration end date for all ‘historical’ qualifications is 30 June 2023, with a phase-out period of one year for learners to still enrol up to and including 30 June 2024”, after which it will be necessary to move over to occupationally directed qualifications. Training, assessments, moderations, and achievements on these qualifications will only continue with learners registered before 30 June 2024. A teach out period will facilitate learners enrolled before 30 June 2024 until 30 June 2027, but statements of results and certificates will no longer be issued post 30 June 2027.


Renewed focus on specific skills


While change is always difficult and challenging, it’s important to remember that the new QCTO qualifications are intended to be specific in terms of the occupational profile of those who should benefit from the qualification to enhance the quality thereof. To facilitate this renewed functional focus, there has been a shift from generic training to specific skill sets. This is in line with the QCTO’s mandate to ensure that there are occupational qualifications that respond to South Africa’s skills development priorities to support labour market needs and state initiatives.


Making the switch


This will require transformation, right down to a business operating level. All Sector and Training Authorities (SETAs) report to the QCTO. SETAs are licensed until 2030 and will continue with the annual WSP/ATR, allocation of grants and funding, learnerships and the phasing out of legacy qualifications. Under the QCTO, they will also have the additional responsibility as Development Quality Partners (DQP) and Assessment Quality Partners (AQP) for occupational qualifications. Another major change that will take some getting used to is the programme duration for some learnerships. Some learnership cycles have now been increased to two years, in some cases five, depending on the qualification. As for SDPs, it will be critical for them to get accredited and to align themselves with AQPs, to move from the SETA space to the QCTO space as soon as possible to leverage their understanding of how best to make the transition. SDPs will need guidance in implementing and adapting to the new processes.


Adapt or get left behind


It’s essential for all organisations involved with skills development to ensure that they are positioned and ready for this change if they’re to survive the transition. A transition of this magnitude is going to have gaps and possible glitches, but now is the time for both industry and SDPs to work towards understanding these new processes and policies and perhaps challenge the implementation thereof where there is a lack of clarity or ambiguity. This is particularly important where companies are reliant on skills development programmes for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) level points. To this end, such organisations would be wise to partner with training provider partners that have already undertaken and achieved QCTO accreditation to lead the way.

Win-win: Addressing youth employability and boosting low B-BBEE scorecards through the YES Initiative

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By Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director at Training Force


Having already created more than 82,000 work experiences while attracting over 2,200 corporate sign-ups that have assisted with more than 700 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) level-ups, the Youth Employment Service (YES) Initiative works toward making young South Africans employable. Through 12-month learnership and internship programmes, individuals gain quality work experience, with a minimum of 5% of learners absorbed into permanent employment at the end of their programme. In addition to equipping young individuals with skills that increase employability, the YES Initiative gives businesses with lower B-BBEE ranking the opportunity to boost their standing through efforts that identify and upskill top young talent with a view to joining their workforce.

Although the aim of this programme is to inspire corporates to focus on youth employability while gaining a B-BBEE scorecard advantage through improved post-learnership absorption, there are some factors for businesses to consider before taking the leap. Let’s look at what companies need to know before getting involved in such a win-win situation.


Addressing unemployment through enhanced employability


With their future heavily reliant on job readiness and ability to enter the labour market, South Africa’s youth is particularly vulnerable in an unstable economic climate. It is here that the YES Initiative, a South African Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) joint national initiative between business, government, and labour, can step in to address youth unemployment by upskilling individuals with real work experience that leads to increased job placement. All of which happens without state funding, relying entirely on the private sector to drive outcomes based on their desire to level up their B-BBEE score.

Upskilling and levelling up


For businesses that cannot advance their B-BBEE ranking, participation in the YES Programme is extremely attractive. Where businesses meet all the qualifying criteria and pre-conditions, which include delivering YES-specific learning programmes, they have the means to enhance their overall B-BBEE status by up to two levels. An enterprise can participate through facilitating 12-month work experience programmes for unemployed youth by either:

  1. Sponsoring and hosting youth within their business
  2. Sponsoring placements elsewhere within an existing SME/supply chain
  3. Providing hosting to the benefit of a new SME

Maximising the potential of YES


Depending on the size of the business and its turnover, YES targets will differ. In meeting such targets, businesses can progress one additional recognition level on their B-BBEE scorecards when they absorb or arrange permanent employment to 2.5% of their facilitated YES employees.

Organisations that go above and beyond the target by 1.5% and permanently employ 5% of the target group will gain one level recognition enhancement and three bonus scorecard points, while those that double the target will be enhanced two levels on their B-BBEE scorecards. For companies that have limited physical resources for running YES programmes in-house, there is the option of sponsored host placements.

Working within programme parameters


There are several limitations in place to prevent businesses from utilising the programme incorrectly. When it comes to placing learners in permanent employment at the end of their 12-month work experience, the company must create a new role for the learnership participant to meet the B-BBEE requirements for their score. In other words, it cannot be used to replace an employee that has been dismissed, or to fill a position that has remained vacant for an extended period. By creating a new role for learner absorption, corporates are positioned to train up talent in their company ethos to fulfil their future skills needs.

Leveraging the power of YES


Along with gaining the B-BBEE score benefits and tax breaks, organisations can also benefit from the ability to develop much-needed skills across their business and industry, at a reasonable cost. For unemployed youth, these work experience programmes are a critical steppingstone toward job market readiness. Through the YES programme, individuals benefit from the opportunity to gain work experience in the real world and showcase themselves in a manner that is not possible through other avenues available to job seekers.

Taking the effort out of saying YES


Between calculating targets and overseeing learnership programme progress, there can be a lot for businesses to manage. Partnering with a training provider that specialises in youth development is a sure-fire way to ensure that the full benefits are unlocked – both for the company and the young individuals that participate in such learnerships. A specialist training partner makes all the difference in ensuring that the correct skills are developed, and that individuals have access to mentorship that will give them a sense of direction and purpose on the career path they have chosen. Furthermore, a training provider partner can also help businesses to navigate the placement requirement, ensuring that all learners are properly and permanently placed to maximise scorecard benefits without major hassle.

Focusing on what’s important: youth skills development


For businesses, it’s essential to commit to youth skills development as they are the future of every workforce in every industry. I’ve seen first-hand how much untapped potential is waiting to be nurtured in South Africa’s youth. All they need is someone to take a chance on them and give them a foot in the door to prove themselves. For individuals who lack the resources or the means to get a foot in the door otherwise, the YES Initiative is the ideal opportunity. It is also an ideal opportunity for businesses to contribute in a meaningful way to talent and skills development in the country, while leveraging several other corporate benefits at the same time.

Inclusive development – clearing up misconceptions on disability in the workplace

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Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director, Training Force


The national disability prevalence rate is 7,5% in South Africa, and yet despite this, having a disability is not readily accepted as a normal part of workplace culture. While legislative protection in the workplace for persons with disabilities (PWD) is a good starting point, actually putting the principles of employment equity into play isn’t clear cut. It requires management and people without disabilities to be less fearful of and more open-minded about disabilities in the workplace to establish a more inclusive culture that values the contribution of each individual, rather than highlighting their differences. Inclusivity does not require that everyone be treated the same, instead it means that we must expand our scope of what we consider typical while extending workplace support to make working conditions as equitable as possible. To achieve this, it is necessary to dispel misconceptions about the commitment and the capacity levels of persons with disabilities.


Identifying and addressing barriers for PWD


A disability can take many forms. Whether physical or mental, noticeable, or ‘invisible’, equity acknowledges that people are different, while narrowing the impact of differences in the workplace in sensitive and practical ways that enable persons with disabilities to integrate effectively and deliver value to the organisation they work for. Stemming from the traditional medical definition of disability, there exists a misplaced emphasis on an individual’s condition and the limitations they may present. As times have changed, there has been a noticeable shift toward a more open-minded social definition which suggests that barriers and limitations for PWD exist because of the ways in which our workplaces and societies are structured, rather than as a result of the individual’s disability. Significant barriers to accessibility in the workplace for PWD are usually attitudinal, organisational, architectural, technological and include a lack of adequate information and communication. Many barriers experienced by PWD result from the misperceptions of those around them, and unless these are sensitively dispelled, the result will be ongoing discrimination and exclusion.


Legislative framework for inclusion


The concept of “reasonable accommodation” is meant to allow for modifications or adjustments to a job or working environment to overcome such barriers so that an individual can perform in their role despite their disability. In South Africa, reasonable accommodation is ensured through the Employment Equity Act No. 55 of 1998. The concept of reasonable accommodation, as defined in the Employment Equity Act, is aimed at providing an unbiased mechanism through which to explore the possibilities within a business in a manner that minimises barriers and draws attention to the skills and value of individuals.


Although reasonable accommodation is legally mandated, most workplaces are still inaccessible for PWD because people fail to understand the extent and methods of handling reasonable accommodation within the workplace. Many employers mistakenly assume that reasonable accommodation will come at a great expense, when in fact many accessibility measures can be implemented easily and at minimal cost. Skills development is one of the most effective tools available to empower an individual by becoming economically active. Investing in on-going education and training opportunities is essential to close the skills gap and grow the economy. Creating a culture of lifelong learning is essential to facilitate and enhance suitability for employment, while promoting personal development and social inclusion in the workplace.


Creating the right opportunities


Interestingly, the Employment Equity Code of Good Practice on Employment of Persons with Disabilities, South African organisations are mandated to spend 0.3% of their wage bill on skills development for disabled employees as part of their BBBEE Spend on their scorecard. Specific use of the word ‘employees’ and not merely ‘individuals’ indicates that skills development must occur as part of employment. While the government has provided the necessary legal framework to include PWD in the workplace, it remains for employers to address the stigma attached to employing PWD. While certain disabilities might exclude individuals from working in certain jobs, purely from a practical perspective (for example, someone in a wheelchair isn’t necessarily suited to working at heights), businesses need to realise that disabilities do not prevent people from excelling in other roles if given the right opportunity and the right skills development training.


Facilitating real change


Here, training providers can play a pivotal role in connecting PWDs with employers in a manner that addresses stigmas attached to disability. Through learnership programmes, PWDs can gain qualifications and skills in a manner that overcomes traditional barriers by taking into consideration their unique skills and talents. Training providers can assist businesses in becoming accessible and welcoming to PWDs – from sensitivity training to mentorship programs that help PWDs with on-boarding and integration into the workplace. Learners can then gain practical experience in their chosen fields at companies that are geared toward helping them achieve their potential.

Training Force Reward & Recognition

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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