Now that we
have a clearer understanding of the benefits awaiting those organisations able
to embrace Skills Development as a non-negotiable BEE compliance strategy, our
next endeavours should revolve around diagnosing, planning and then jumping into
skills development action mode.
Current Status and Future Planning
Inaugurating your skills development strategy should
commence with a ‘’where are we now’’ exercise, aka the Skills Audit. While the word “audit” may bring about nightmares of
black and white suits, staring at you unapprovingly from behind their laptops
while you are trying to make excuses for gaps of noncompliance, this reality
check is necessary for you to move forward.
An audit is
necessary to provide actual figures and metrics to
compare with required BEE targets. The pain (and fines) for not complying is
far worse than coming to terms with the BEE voids in the company.
audit exercise will also amplify the exact training requirements of your organisation as to align future spending to those areas where maximum gains can be earned regarding
BEE points and also monetary benefits in
the forms of rebates and grants.
Once the skills needs
analysis is complete, the structuring of your Skills Development plan can begin.
Noted, this may be quite a lengthy exercise of setting up learnerships, creating internship programmes,
designing short courses and establishing bursary initiatives. While there is no A for effort awarded during
this stage, the “BEE” scored received will be well worth the struggle.
Say YES to the Skills Development Element
the economic “almost” recession we find ourselves in these days, money
certainly does not grow on trees especially for the SME business sector. Hence,
you need the most “BEE bang for your buck” when investing in skills development
and learning activities
The YES initiative aligns perfectly with the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice and by participating in this
programme your company can significantly improve
its BEE Rating.
By achieving YES targets either by offering internships to unemployed youths or with the sponsorship of unemployed youth stipends at
another company, one can move up one recognition level on scorecard. For the
overachievers exceeding the YES minimum
requirements by achieving double on the target, will result in moving up two
recognition levels on the scorecard.
Follow the Leaders
When in doubt,
just follow the leaders. A skills
development strategy reaches beyond traditional in-house
training and development mechanisms. Some organisations have made tremendous
inroads towards maximising their efforts in the Skills Development Element of
the BEE scorecard, during the last couple of years:
1) Learnership to Permanent
- South African Breweries is empowering youngsters through learnerships and training programmes as per
the guidelines of the BEE Act, but with a twist. These learners are in fact offered permanent employment long before their learnerships come to an end, which enable them to start contributing
to the SAB business environment and provides
them immediate job security.
- These learnerships are open
to all graduates with a B average attained at university.
The SAB Learnership programme is a
perfect example of how business in South Africa can create new pathways for full-time employment.
2) Secondary and Tertiary Bursaries
- Sponsoring employees or non-employees via bursaries to complete a tertiary
qualification is deemed as contributions towards the Skills Development
Element and improve overall BEE status. Paying for a black individual’s secondary education also counts towards
skills development points.
- Old Mutual established their School Grant Fund in 2015 together with the Public Investment
Corporation and the Government Employees Pension Fund as outside partners. In
the three years of operation, this fund
has awarded over 60 bursaries to previously disadvantaged individuals.
- Nestle boosts their skills development score by offering bursary schemes for employee’s children, to study
at an accredited university up to undergraduate level.
3) Upskilling the Community
- Medium-sized enterprises are often subject to the challenge of capacity availability where internship or learnership intakes
are concerned. Fortunately, the skills
development pillar allows for companies
to earn points when involved in community
- T-Systems has made a sizable investment in the form of a Digital Learning Centre in Hazyview, with the aim to develop critical IT,
English and Tourism skills within members of the community in Hazyview, as well
as surrounding areas.
4) Funding Independent Training, Mentorship &
- Sometimes its just easier to give money and be done with it. Well, you
can still earn Skills Development points by providing funds to Training
Platforms and Mentorship Programmes such as those offered by the South African Institute for
- Companies like ABSA, Anglo American, Astrapak and Coronation allocate funding to the SAIE for the
development of training materials, courses, workshops and mentorship alliances in critical areas such as education, agriculture, information technology and
- Heineken contributes to its skills development goals by sponsoring candidates to
partake in entrepreneurial training and development hubs (incubators) running for a ten month period each year.
5) Think Global, Act Local
fitting tagline for Investec’s SATRep’s Global Exposure programme to train and develop young entrepreneurs by
exposing them to global business
thinking practices. Selected applicants are
sent on a week-long trip to an international destination to meet and
engage with influencers from leading
companies in a specific business field or industry.
These exposure ventures aim to provide youngsters with an
opportunity to experience international business firsthand and return with
global insights, learning innovation, potential funding prospects and
collaborative partnerships to take their businesses forward.
6) Work Readiness Programmes
You don’t have
to be in training to provide training. Global consulting firm Mazars is mostly known for their accounting,
risk management and actuarial consulting services. However, they are making a
valuable contribution to skills development and learning with their Job Readiness Training Programme which offers an extensive 60-day course to unemployed youths as a method to
prepare them for their future world of work. They
present programmes in Durban, Gauteng and Cape Town.
Negative Narratives into Positive Prospects
the Deloitte Human Capital Trends report of 2017, only 28% of organisations in South
Africa are actively
involved in skills development initiatives. The concept of BEE is
often subject to negativity, apathy and a reluctance to participate to such an
extent that its positive prospects in
terms of business sustainability are often
overlooked or ignored.
To overcome our
adversities of poverty, unemployment and economic regression, embracing skills development as a viable
solution to create prosperity should definitely
be on the 2019 New Year’s Resolution list
for businesses in South Africa.