SkillsTown South Africa has launched a Dutch-based online professional learning platform modified for the South African market.

“With such an uncertain future, we should all be taking our destiny into our own hands,” says Kevin Hardy, MD of SkillsTown SA. “In many ways the world has moved on from broad-based education where skills and courses take months or years to complete. We live in an on-demand world, one of instant gratification where businesses are looking for skills to get things done now – not tomorrow.

“The education landscape must keep up as corporates look to provide employees with ways to empower themselves, keep them connected, engaged and relevant.”

SkillsTown is the largest professional learning platform in the Netherlands. In less than five years, the company has secured around 300 corporate clients including the Belgium government, DHL and Capgemini among others, with over 300 000 users currently registered on the platform. It is also internationally recognised, with a slew of European accreditations under its belt.

“It is our objective to contribute to the continuous development of people and organisations, and to enable them to adapt to the changing world around them,” says Hans Schuurmans, CEO of SkillsTown. “This is why we focus on personal development and innovation, to ensure that everyone – no matter what their background – has the opportunity not only to learn, but to learn in their own way.”

SkillsTown is centred on a competitive, subscription-based model, effectively giving all employees of an organisation access to hundreds of online learning modules. These range from management basics, finance for dummies and social media marketing to soft skills, time management and everything in between.

While the Dutch platform has over 1 000 online modules, SkillsTown South Africa will start with around 100 of the most popular courses, with new – and local – content, being added monthly.

In addition, SkillsTown South Africa will be partnering with SETA-accredited organisations to ensure B-BBEE scorecard compliance, as well as with specific sector content providers to address the needs of customers requiring a learning experience platform in a particular industry.

“We provide our customers with a completely customised digital learning experience,” explains Hardy. “Not only does it have the look and feel of the organisation, but companies can also quickly and easily create their own content specific to their business needs.”

Added to this is the diverse range of learning solutions found on the platform. “Everyone learns differently, so it is important for employees to choose how they want to learn. Our online academy offers a variety of learning resources, from e-learning modules, podcasts and webinars to collaborative WE-learning, short micro-courses and video feedback sessions.”

Employees can also take personalised assessments to gain useful insights into their strengths and weaknesses. These can then be utilised by staff members and their managers alike, to personalise their individual growth trajectories.

“Education for all is the basis of equal opportunities,” adds Bart Hogendoorn, who is responsible for SkillsTown’s international expansion. “The Netherlands has an excellent reputation worldwide in the fields of education and innovation. As our greatest strengths, we are taking and adapting this unique model to the local market, combining first world technology, capability and expert knowledge to deliver on an essential local business requirement – that of skills development.”

A collaboration with Maastricht University in the field of artificial intelligence is currently under way, as well as the development of the world’s first online Corporate MBA (c-MBA). According to Schuurmans, this is a unique global offering that will disrupt the traditional MBA, typically accessible only to the privileged few.

“At the cost of one MBA, our c-MBA will enable entire organisations, especially managers and executives, to educate themselves at an MBA level. Instead of fictitious business cases, employees immediately start working on business cases within and relevant to the organisation. This means that from day one, the c-MBA ensures that all employees, as well as the organisation itself, performs better.”

Skillstown’s Corporate MBA will be available online in South Africa before the end of 2020.

“Times have changed, and tomorrow will belong to those that prepare for it today,” concludes Hardy. “At SkillsTown South Africa, we want to be the catalyst for this change.”