Skip to main content
Category

Uncategorised

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

By UncategorisedNo 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 UncategorisedNo 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.