Tag Archives: training

Motlanthe encourages younger generation to strive for education

The only way in which the younger people of South Africa and generations to come can free themselves from the negative effects of the apartheid economic exclusion and address the socio-economic challenges is by way of education, training and skills development.

As opposed to previous generations with whom the apartheid government never intended to extend any formal education to the greater part of the South African community, the present day youth are living within a democratic environment and society and whose policies and country direction they are able to contribute to and develop.

“Understanding that education is important for the future development of our country, our government has, within its limitations, placed education as an apex priority,” Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was quoted at the annual lecture of the late struggle stalwart Walter Sisulu.

The comments, thoughts and opinions of the deputy president comes at a time when poverty, inequalities and youth unemployment remains to be the primary challenge for the South African economy and government considering the latest unemployment figures provided by Statistics South Africa. At the moment the unemployment rate sits at a whopping 4.6 million.

Motlanthe has stated the fact that the past social ills whereby the apartheid government consciously attempted to deny the vast majority of the South African population an education and in so doing excluding them from engaging in the formal economy. However, he is of the opinion that these policies together with their impact on the country and individuals can be corrected and reversed by way of education.

Education, training and skills development is the cornerstone and basis whereby the class structure of a society could be de-racialised and as a result expand the scope of social privileges. This can be accomplished by drawing in individuals who had been excluded from the social and economic mainstream and is the only option to break inter-generational poverty.

“Not only that, through education, some of the social pathologies embedded in human history can be eliminated for good. I am reminded in this regard of the intractable issue of gender inequality, which derives from primeval cultural consciousness manifested in macho, paternalistic practices,” Motlanthe said.

Motlanthe appealed to all young South African adults to make an effort to educate themselves and reverse the injustices of the past and create and develop a significantly better life for the future generations to come.

Ever since the the very first democratic election held in South Africa, there has been a number of advances and progress when it comes to making certain full and free access at the basic education level, including the provision of no-fee schools and providing nutrition programmes.

“Admittedly, we have not moved fast enough in the sphere of higher education but are making strides to promote further access. As such, you are privileged because the democratic government is investing in your future, understanding the role of education in social transformation. This in turn places a huge responsibility on Sasco and the South African youth in general to seek knowledge and skills so that they can rise to the demands of their generation.”

Source: SAnews.gov.za

Training for Behaviour Change

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The only way to get full value from your training is when the desired behaviour is implemented and positively reinforced. Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. The transfer of knowledge in the training room is simply not enough.

Staff Training  likes to “Keep it Real” and our approach thus always involves spending some time on behavioural analysis to identify cause and effect, thereafter moving to an actionable plan.

But let us talk you through an example using a case study.

Office Manager “B”:

“I would like training for my receptionist as she does not carry out even the most basic of instructions, for example we ask her to switch off the air conditioner and copier every evening to save power and three out of the five days this does not happen. When I ask her what happened she just says that she forgot.”

Firstly we need to understand that when it comes to behaviour change there are five potential influencing factors:

1. The Benchmark or requested change needs to be clear

2. Recognise that some behaviours are more difficult to change than others

3. Recognise that external influence/ policy/procedure change may be necessary

4. The behaviour change may have to filter down from the top

5. There needs to be ongoing motivation for the new habit

 

The Benchmark

If we then look at the benchmark for desired outcome, the explanation and/or illustration of this new standard needs to be clear, without ambiguity and logical. In addition to this we need to keep the processes and logic simple to encourage full engagement from the participants. Explaining the what, when, how and why is vital. As well as the consequence of not performing. In some instances a physical example of a benchmark would be useful.

 

Recognising that some behaviour is easier to change than others

In an organisation it becomes abundantly clear that there are some individuals who will assume the authority, responsibility and accountability (control) and others that will wait until these are transferred to them.

It is easier to change your behaviour if you have control, in other words you have full authority, accountability and responsibility.

For example a junior employee wanting to ensure that the air conditioner is switched off by the last employee if he/she is tasked with the duty and needs to leave early, will find it more difficult to enforce the request than the CEO would.

The difference is that the CEO carries the full authority and there would be little doubt in anyone’s mind that the request from the CEO is in fact an instruction. The junior employee, however, may not fare quite as well.

 

Recognising that external influences and system/procedural change may be necessary

Whilst a learner/employee, may well have the desire to change his/her behaviour, it becomes difficult for them to do so if the system does not allow it. For example a receptionist wanting to switch off the air conditioner at 16h30 can do so every day, but if the procedure is such that she has to walk to an outbuilding to switch off the air conditioner, and she has nobody to answer her switchboard during this period, the chances are it won’t be done.

Additional authority and management buy-in may be necessary to allow her the opportunity of a stand-by receptionist, alternatively the ability to delegate the job to another colleague. Assisting a learner to understand this step and the importance of then asking for the system change is imperative.

 

The behaviour change may have to filter down from the top

So assuming that the receptionist switches off the air conditioner and management who are working late decide to switch on again, it is necessary for management to take the responsibility of switching off when they leave. Should management then forget to switch off and shrug off the duty as one that is trivial and unimportant, it will be unrealistic to expect the employee to continue to enforce the behaviour of switching off.

 

There needs to be ongoing motivation for the new habit

If the same receptionist then does change her behaviour and does manage to switch off and the next week she is faced with another hurdle that involves asking for the nearly impossible with no support from management and/or others, it becomes difficult for her to see why she should co-operate. She may well slip back into apathy and procrastination due to the difficulty of the task. Continued motivation for learners is often as simple as saying “Wow, thanks I can see the progress from last year this time”

With a good understanding of these influencing factors it now becomes easier to investigate and understand the cause and effect of certain behaviours and then to put an action plan into place to change them permanently. A good training programme will recognise that this is a desired route and as a result there will be more sustainable results.

 

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Measuring ROI on Soft Skills Training

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One of the most frequent questions we’re asked by training managers is, “How do I measure the return on investment from training?”

On the face of it measuring the return on investment from soft skills training seems like a near-impossible task. After all, how do you quantify the financial benefits of more assertive behavior, better listening skills or negotiating tactics?

You might think that simply looking at an individual’s overall performance after the training is a good indication of whether or not it was effective, but then what exactly about the training was effective? Where exactly has the individual improved and how can this be given a value in rands and cents?

To measure the return on investment from soft skills training you need to be very specific about why you are training, what you hope to achieve at the training and understand how this relates to productivity and sales in your organisation.

You may have identified a trend whereby the sales department is outsourcing work when customers request services you do not offer, instead of trying to sell the client to an alternative that you do offer, and can possibly customise.

This lost revenue CAN be measured and its decrease can be directly attributed to a more assertive sales team.

Alternatively, a company may identify a problem whereby an individual or team is having to repeat or re-attend 15% of their work because the instructions from the client are not being followed properly (e.g. the menu at the top of the website is supposed to be turquoise, not blue, and the large graphic should be on the right and not the left of the screen), costing the company in wasted time.

With this specific problem identified a training manager could send this individual or team on a Customer Care Training workshop where active listening is covered, and immediately begin to measure the return based on a drop in repeat work.

Understanding the reasons that you are training is the first step in being able to measure the monetary return from any training course.

Even when training for what we consider to be the wrong reasons (and unfortunately sometimes the most common reasons for training), such as for BEE points, the return on investment can easily be measured.

If the reason you need your BEE points is so that you can qualify to offer your services to governmental departments and large corporates (or to improve your BEE rating and move onto a higher level), the return on investment from the training will show on your balance sheets.

However, as you may already be able to see, the more areas you focus on measuring improvement in, the more you will start to see how it all relates to financial gain.

Consider that, generally speaking, training your staff has the effect of reducing psychosomatic illness, stress and the ‘victim stance’ among employees, as well as increasing motivation and loyalty to the company, all of which contribute to lower absenteeism rates overall (also measurable financially).

Training also leads to reduced turnover of staff, decreasing the costs of recruitment as well as initial training.

And on and on it goes…

However. A word of warning.

We need to remember that it’s not just a numbers game – our human assets, or employees, are our most important assets and return on investment should not be the only factor taken into consideration when training. One should also look at broader aspects such as impact on community, creative license and 3rd party perceptions.  These last issues being just a few of those that should be taken into account in a well thought out ethical decision.

By Staff Training, a South African soft skills training company.

 

Manufacturing and tool making course available for matriculants

Nkangala FET College

 

Nkangala FET College in Middelburg, Mpumalanga is providing tool manufacturing courses for Matriculants who would like to enter into this highly demanded and important sector of the economy and are encouraged to to enrol.

In addition, the college is also hosting an open day for all students thinking about entering into a professional career in manufacturing and tool making. The open day is going to be held at the college’s skills campus on 23 January starting at 9am.

Due to the scarcity of skilled labour within the manufacturing and tool sector, which is a cornerstone of the South African economy; Dirk van Dyk, the chief executive of the National Tooling Initiative Programme is quoted as saying that it is extremely important to promote training and education in this sector.

Manufacturing and tool making provides consumers with practically all items that they normally use in their everyday life and helps to create economic growth, employment and wealth according to Dirk van Dyk.

 

TDM Powered Programme

Manufacturers all over the country depend upon advanced technology and highly trained individuals in order to produce high quality products and solutions at affordable prices. There happens to be a critical shortage of technically skilled people in the tool manufacturing industry.

The government recognizes this national dilemma and has taken steps to remedy the problem and launched the TDM Powered skills development programme. The programme is an initiative of the Intsimbi National Tooling Initiative in collaboration with the Tool Making Association of South Africa and the Department of Trade and Industry.

The programme runs for three to four years and offers students with the basic core fundamentals and ultimately specialist skills in the tool, die and mould making disciplines to allow them to qualify as toolmaker artisans.

Students that enter and qualify can thereafter pursue careers in a variety of cross cutting sectors including aerospace, automotive, chemical, electronics, leisure, marine, medical, mining and packaging industries. The course offers both theory in addition to practical workshops and on-the-job training. Successful applicants will be rewarded and paid a stipend while doing on-the-job training.

Application forms are available via the website www.tdmpowered.co.za or students seeking more information are encouraged to send all enquiries to info@tdmpowered.co.za.

Source: SAnews.gov.za

SA requires skills drive to remain internationally competitive

South Africa’s automotive industry perhaps may not at the moment be in significant trouble, nonetheless its present state of affairs will not be sustainable and is accompanied by a widening skills gap and intense international competition continuing to be vital challenges.

A short while ago, a roundtable discussion around the skills needs and competitiveness of the sector took place with an essential emphasis on enumerating all the elements that the sector will need to make improvements to to maintain the nation’s position within the international industry.

Among the list of key points in Brand South Africa’s mandate is to assess the country’s competitiveness across a variety of fields on a regular basis, and to accomplish that Brand South Africa makes use of various indices that assist to put issues into perspective.

If you can’t monitor it you can’t measure it.

 

 

Champions of industry

 

South Africa at present has eight of the biggest vehicle assembly plants in the world, and the sector employs somewhere around 300 000 individuals of a variety of skills sets and expertise. The vast majority of plants of international brands including BMW, VW and Mercedes-Benz are located in and around Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. The lower production expenses associated with manufacturing in South Africa have been the leading drawcard for multinationals over the years.

Barlow Manilal, CEO of the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) which is mandated by the government to assist, uplift and sustain the standard of the nation’s competitiveness in the global field – referred to the warning signs that South Africa needs to pay attention to to be able to continue to be relevant.

“The automotive industry is export oriented,” he said, “while some of our competitors are wealthier than us, and do not have the social issues that we have to deal with as a country.”

The AIDC’s vision for the year 2020 is to double local content, with regards to the value of vehicles produced at the assembly plants, by 35% to 70%. Current production output per annum is 600 000 units, and this need to increase to 1.2-million units if the country does not want to be overtaken by its competitors.

“A large part of that vision relates to the training we have to instill in the sector,” said Manilal, adding the fact that it is not about the number of individuals who acquire this training, but whether or not it is applicable to the requirements of the sector.

At the moment China has an engineer for every 130 people in its population, in comparison to South Africa which has one for every 3 166. This indicates a discrepancy in the training sector, in particular for disciplines that demand technical skills such as mathematics and science.

 

 

 

Skills shortage

 

Right now there are at the very least 50 000 technical vacancies in South Africa which simply cannot be filled, due to the fact that there are insufficient people who have the minimum educational requirements.

Despite the fact that Further Education and Training colleges (FETs) have the capacity to graduate a large number of skilled students as artisans annually by way of a variety of programmes, the issue continues to be that these individuals are not easily absorbed by the industry.

They are simply not certified with industry standards and / or struggle to compete with their university counterparts who have the ability to offer not simply artisan-level skills, but can also apply understanding of maths and science to their daily job requirements.

In an attempt to obtain industry an understanding of what is wrong with the existing South African situation, Brand South Africa invited the executive director of Tata Automobile Corporation South Africa, Sudhir Babshet. He concurs to the incontrovertible fact that the situation in South Africa requires immediate attention, and provided a means to fix it, stating that the main objective of the country’s education system in general ought to be focused on primary education, where pupils can be inspired and moulded in fields that they are naturally good in.

This would, in turn, decrease the university dropout rates that the country experiences for the reason that children would have valued their skills from a young age and grown up understanding what they have to offer their country.

“Education forms the basis of the problem of skills shortages in this country.”

Dr Thokozani Simelane, Chief research specialist for the Africa Institute of South Africa, attributed the current state of affairs to some extent on a weakness in the government’s initiatives to integrate its skills development strategies.

“You have one programme that should be speaking to another, as they will be serving complimentary purposes, but neither is aware of the other’s mandate and how it can benefit its own ideals.”

 

 

 

Serious competition

 

Discussing the threats that the global automotive industry is experiencing, Manilal alluded to an article in the financial daily Business Report, which described the recent closure of a Ford van factory in the UK, with a potential loss of 2 000 jobs in the process .

“This for me is a red flag for our local industry,” he stated, “because it means that if it can happen in the UK, it probably can happen anywhere in the world.”

This triggered a discussion on where South Africa’s export prospects ought to lie, considering the small, gradual adjustments to the global landscape, participants at the same time discussed possible solutions to the problem.

Simelane pointed out that South Africa continues to be a lucrative marketplace for used vehicles, which he pointed out, are imported from abroad.

“We have to move away from being the dumping ground for these units,” he said. As the world progresses towards more environment-friendly technology in vehicle manufacturing, such as the electric car, South Africa faces the risk of being on the receiving end of what will then be unwanted stock of these used cars.

“This will mean that we will fall behind, once more, in terms of advancing towards this technology.”

Innovation is the only way South Africa will attain the successes of the countries that lead industries throughout the world.

 

 

 

Turning the situation around

 

To change the sector’s skills problem, a number of suggestions and proposals were put forward.

Manilal called for a proactive approach by FET colleges in order to absorb students into the industry and make the process less complicated.

“Colleges must take accountability for penetrating the industry,” he said, “and should set up alumni programmes where they monitor the progress of former students and whether their skills are actually being used.”

The AIDC is embarking on an eight-year plan that also includes an academy. They are going to target rural schools, teaching pupils on the subject of the automotive industry from school level, to ensure that they don’t only become familiar about the sector when they leave college.

He also called for the private sector to establish projects to adopt and sponsor schools and to help impart the essential skills from a young age. This could possibly be incentivised by tax rebates from the government.

Simelane, on the flip side, mentioned that the input-output ratio for FETs requires budget changes.

“We should rather take funds from the budget of organisations like the National Youth Development Agency and redistribute these to the FET-oriented industry to enable it to absorb artisans.”

With regards to the national level, Manilal asserted that the government should consider looking into an accreditation system for schools across all grades, including primary level. By doing this a sustainable record of which schools perform better in which areas, and under which circumstances will be created.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com