What is "NETY?"
The term Learnerships is not new to HR practitioners but the successful implementation thereof and the creation of permanent positions for graduates of learnerships is certainly still a challenge. According to Manpower South Africa’s tenth annual Talent Shortage Survey, one in four young people are unemployed and 63.1% remain jobless, although the government’s National Development Plan is targeting a jobless rate of 14 percent by 2020 and 6 percent by 2030.
In addition to this, there is an increasing skills shortage. Employers are still finding it difficult to obtain the right skills for necessary jobs. National debates such as the Skills Development Summit are taking place to highlight and resolve challenges, legislation such as the B-BBEE Codes have been developed to stimulate and increase the drive for learnerships, Tax incentives are being offered and partnerships and collaboration is rife, but ultimately it will be up to the individual companies to play their own part in changing and reshaping our economic future.
LabourNet, with its vision of creating High Performing Organisations by making companies better employers, decided to be proactive and offer a range of learnership opportunities. The first was to offer internal Learnerships to existing staff. This is in lines with their simple, yet powerful philosophy of putting their people first and living the value of “Knowledge in that I believe in continuous learning”. In 2016 13% of the staff compliment volunteered to participate in a Human Resource Learnership mainly for personal development reasons as well as career advancement opportunities.
LabourNet consultants in their capacity as Skills Development Facilitators managed to obtain Seta funding of learnerships for 1428 learners in the last 30 months. To make this a meaningful and feasible project-wide collaboration with different stakeholders such as private and public host employers, training partners as well as recruitment agencies was necessary.
This is however, not just a numbers game as lives are changed and shaped during this process. The poor secondary education of the learners is often highlighted as a challenge, but arguably even more important is the proficiency of the current workforce who should impart knowledge and experience to the learners. Excellent workplace role models are crucial to coach and mentor the new employees to competence in the actual curriculum and job requirements. Qualified and skilled mentors need time and ability to share valuable life skills and impart leadership and management techniques to the learners by setting realistic goals, measuring learning impact and creating a positive and stimulating learning and working environment. The training provider is key to imparting the theoretical knowledge, but without real work integrated learning the theory is often outdated and lost. These are just a few key aspects of a successful learnership intervention that will positively impact on the true transfer of skills and the attitude needed to climb the ladder of career advancement and gaining full time employment, or a step into entrepreneurship on completion. According to an article written by Bruce Whitfield in the Sunday Times young people are six times more likely in finding a job with a years working experience than without it.
The SABPP commended LabourNet as an employer of choice, who cares about its employees and encourages a career journey supported by skills and knowledge acquisition through the learnership process. LabourNet is proud of the journey it has embarked on, although they know that many more employers need to act and implement so that South Africa can “eat this elephant…. bit by bit. “