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Time to think outside the box about skills development

Many of us are gearing up for WSP/ATR season, which is just around the corner. The annual deadline of 30 April for submitting Workplace Skills Plans and Annual Training Reports has a way of sneaking up on many companies, particularly those that fail to plan ahead, often causing unnecessary panic and stress.

This year, there is the added complication of the looming final switch from SETA qualifications to the QCTO, which is due to come into effect on 1 July this year. After 30 June 2024, all the traditional SETA-accredited programmes that we have been using for decades will fall away and no longer be available. Considering all the unknowns surrounding the transition and the practical implications for all stakeholders, the prospect of planning for the training year ahead can seem overwhelming.

Time to think outside the box about skills development

During this uncertain time, the most prudent solution would be for employers to sign up for SETA-accredited learnerships as soon as possible (before the end of June 2024) and split the cost over two financial years. This will buy some time and when they eventually need to spend again, one hopes there will be greater clarity and confidence in terms of the QCTO qualifications. This is certainly what I am advising my clients to do in the short term.

In the long run however, employers will need to adapt their training strategies, as well as their thinking to align with the principles of the QCTO. In particular, organisations will need to think about disability differently; While learners with disabilities are very often placed on more generic admin-focussed learnerships, under the QCTO this will no longer be an easy option. Most of the new QCTO qualifications are extremely targeted and specific to particular occupations, with very few generic qualifications available.

A viable solution to consider for unemployed learners with disabilities would be to establish an “employment hub” which is essentially a small business that is set up to provide learners with hands-on skills and experience, in order to fulfil the workplace component of the learnership. The focus area of the hub should be aligned with a registered QCTO qualification for example, a hub that focuses on sewing.

The aim of employment hubs is to nurture and develop productive and sustainable small businesses that can employ people and ultimately generate their own income. The hubs model supports the empowerment of learners to become more self-sufficient by developing real, usable skills while allowing employers to reap sought-after B-BBEE benefits and ultimately contributing to economic growth and transformation in South Africa.

29 Feb 2024 13:52


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MD at Progression