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Employee skills provide that competitive edge

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For a company to remain competitive and sustainable in an increasingly challenging economic climate, it requires a skilled, innovative and forward-thinking workforce. By Peter van Nieuwenhuizen and Jacques De Villiers of The Growth Institute.
However, many South African employers are finding themselves in a position where they battle to find candidates that hold the adequate skills-set or necessary qualifications. Added to that is the problem of dealing with current employees that are not inspired or motivated, who repeatedly deliver a below-average performance that leads to low levels of productivity for the organisation overall. It’s also no wonder then that employers have become disillusioned and mistrusting of the qualifications claimed by job seekers and those employees within their organisations.
At the same time there are literally thousands of discouraged job candidates that are repeatedly turned down for new company appointments, as well as employees that are overlooked for promotion due to the lack of necessary qualifications required for certain positions within an organisation. Is it any wonder then that the workforce lacks inspiration and motivation?
The answer to the question of how employers can source suitable candidates that do hold the right qualifications, while also building of the skills of their current workforce – lies in learnership programmes.
Learnerships basically offer employees the opportunity to continue their educational development after they have entered the workforce. In addition, for those employees that do hope to eventually complete their formal tertiary studies, learnerships provide the practical skills that will significantly enhance their chances of successfully completing tertiary studies and ultimately obtaining a formal qualification.
On-the-job learning has been shown to create students that are far better emotionally and financially equipped to meet the demands of tertiary studies, compared to those who enter university straight after leaving school. In short, learnerships can be viewed as a bridging course that provides student employees with valuable education backed by adequate support.
This presents immeasurable benefits not just for the employee, but for the organisation as well. Now that employers have assisted their own employees in advancing their education, they no longer need to look outside of the organisation for new talent to fill certain key positions. Management teams can easily source competent people that are equipped to meet the challenges of their new role and are already familiar with the culture, goals and objectives of the organisation.
Many organisations are paying thousands of rands towards Skills Development Levies but not nearly enough are leveraging the true advantages of these levies. Harnessing the true potential of any company’s workforce requires a shift towards creating the Learning Organisation. With educated, skilled, and motivated employees – an organisation is effortlessly elevated to the next level of its growth and development.