KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) construction sector currently contributes 4.5% to its provincial GDP on an annual basis with the province allocating a budget of R350 million to award tenders for maintenance, storm damage, school fencing programmes, water and sanitation, repairs and renovations to emerging contractors. Against this backdrop, the KZN Construction Expo creates a favourable climate for local capacity building within the construction sector in support of the province’s overall development.
They have been hiding their light under a bushel but just recently, and somewhat quietly, Sparks & Ellis let it slip that their staff stay with the company for an average of 18 years. This must put Sparks & Ellis high on the charts of long service and loyalty, particularly in today’s world when everything moves so fast.
The Federated Employer’s Mutual Assurance Company (FEM), which provides cover to employers in the construction industry, has revealed that during 2016 there were 889 accidents on construction sites in the Western Cape. Eight of these were fatal and 79 resulted in permanent disabilities.
The Flooring Industry Training Association (FITA) has grown in membership and stature since it was formed in 2013 and is now a vital facility to safeguard the future of the flooring sector, Tandy Coleman, Chairperson, FITA, has stated.
The resurgence of violent #FeesMustFall protests in 2016, following the Minister of Higher Education’s announcement of an 8% university fee increase for 2017, has created concern amongst matriculants about their studies next year. Tony Keal, Group Skills Facilitator, at the Master Builders Association of the Western Cape (MBAWC), suggests that they further their education through vocational training.
He explains: “Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges have been spared the upheaval that other institutions of higher learning have experienced. Furthermore, they are 80% subsidised by the government, meaning that the fees are affordable. There is a worldwide demand for the kinds of skills taught at these colleges and in some countries, tradespeople like electricians and plumbers earn more than doctors and lawyers.”
The MBAWC has offered apprenticeship programmes for the past 12 years, giving those with Grade 9 and above the opportunity to build on their academic foundations and establish a vocational career. Not only does the organisation fund their training and place them with members in order to put their theoretical knowledge into practice, it also pays them a wage as determined by the Building Industry Collective agreement. Apprentices are generally placed with member companies to get the on-site practical training required to complete their apprenticeship contract.
In addition, the Association has embarked on the training of supervisory staff due to the decline of this category of employee over the past 20 years. Candidates are carefully selected and ideally should have a Grade 12 certificate. They are then entered into a training program which exposes them to all facets of building work. The candidates are placed with MBAWC member companies to gain on-site practical experience and at the end of their training period, qualify for an NQF Level 4 South African Qualifications Authority approved certificate in site supervisory practices. The MBAWC pays all training costs and monitors their progress on a monthly basis. The success of this program can be seen in a number of people who have completed the program and are currently working for membercompanies.
The MBAWC has also established a Skills and Education Trust in order to upskill employees currently working in the building industry with nationally registered qualifications. This Trust funds short courses and various other training programs.
“Those who opt for vocational training are able to attain nationally recognised qualifications that will enable them to find employment nationally,” concludes Keal.
In the fluid business landscape, training and development is essential. Business leaders need to recognise the value in employee training and development – it might be seen as time-consuming or costly at first, but it ultimately builds a more engaged, competitive and productive workforce.
Training allows employees to acquire new skills, sharpen existing ones, increase productivity and grow into leaders. Companies are built on the success and abilities of their employees – both individually and collectively. Which is why forward-thinking businesses should do everything in their power to ensure they perform at their peak. Here’s why training and developing employees is a must:
It goes without saying an employee who receives the necessary training is better equipped to perform their necessary functions. They become aware of basic organisational practices, procedures and role responsibilities. This builds confidence because they gain a clearer understanding of their environment and exactly what’s expected of them. It also allows them to put structured goals in place – and gives them the tools to actively pursue them.
A training program gives employees the insight they need to strengthen skills that need improvement. This can go a long way in quickly shining a light on weak links in an organisation who rely on others to complete tasks. Everyone should have the knowledge to take over for another team member when needed – and work independently without supervision.
Employees who are given training and development by their employer have a significant advantage over employees who are left to seek training in their own time, with their own money.
Investment in training shows employees they’re valued – it creates a supportive workplace. Employees who feel appreciated and challenged through training opportunities also generally have more job satisfaction – and are likely to stay with a company for a longer period of time. This minimises staff turnover and boosts morale.
The biggest challenge in training and developing a team is understanding. As a manager, you need to understand and appreciate every individual’s skill sets and do your best to tailor training processes for the individual (as far as possible).
It’s also about clear communication and training on how best to work as a unit – what’s the purpose of the team and the common objective? Teams disagree but need to be able to work together to achieve goals. It gives the team a strategic top-level view of what’s happening – so they’re not just relegated to the trenches.
Training expands the knowledge of all employees and nurtures confident, happy people. It provides both the company as a whole – and employees – with benefits that make the cost and time a worthwhile investment.
Two Western Cape officials departed for China on Friday to attend training on Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Mr Michael Webster from the Green Cape Sector Development Agency, and Ms Lelanie Abraham from the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone are part of a 20-member group that will attend a 21-day Capacity Building Programme on SEZs in the Asian country. The training, which is coordinated by Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), will take place in the Chinese port city of Tianjin.
“For explosive professional growth, superior leadership and effective teamwork, apply today for the Mind Dynamix Profiler Training.”
Mind Dynamix says that it is no longer about the survival of the fittest, it is about the survival of the fitter, and you’re either the Fittest or a Fitter.
The Fittest pit themselves against life’s obstacles, trying to overcome problems through sheer effort and determination, using tactics that worked in the past or play to their strengths. Even if they win, they end up drained of vital energy needed for the next challenge.
And the good life they might enjoy vanishes with significant changes in their environment. The Fittest don’t always survive. Fitters are different. They’re flexible. They realise that life is a matter of adapt or die. So they do. Rather than resist the problem, they create the physical and mental resources they need to find solutions- to grow in their environment. And they thrive.
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The government's dictatorial attitude towards training has been a major obstacle towards the upliftment of skills in industry and business and new legislation now proposed by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) would greatly exacerbate the situation, Deryck Spence, executive director of the SA Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA), has warned.
Spence was providing comment requested from industry at a workshop in Johannesburg on the 'proposal for a new National Skills Development Strategy and Sector Education and Training Authorities as seen within the content of an integrated and differentiated post-school education and training system. The workshop was organisedby the Chemical Industry Education and Training Authority (CHIETA), the coatings industry's Sector Education Training Authority (SETA).
Spence told the meeting that any move to discontinue the current SETA system and introduce a new mandate could allow for corruption and political expediency, especially if the industry levies are to be moved to a non-delivering agent like the National Skills Fund.
"The new dispensation now proposes that the DHET will be responsible for channeling skills funding - which is supposed to be applied for the training of workers to increase productivity in specific manufacturing sectors, such as the coatings industry - as the DHET sees fit . This could include 'national priorities’ in politically expedient areas such as free tertiary education, which has already been suggested by the DHET."
"The government should rather scrap non-performing SETAs and allow successful SETAs, such as the coatings industry's CHIETA, to continue operations and use their success as a model for other SETAs. At the most, only five of South Africa's 21 SETAs have not met performance expectations and these are largely those under administration because of mismanagement and corruption. Why dismantle a good skills development system - which could be refined even further - and replace it with one that has not been well thought out, and would not truly prioritise the role of industry when it comes to training?"
Spence said the original legislation which had decreed that business and the Department of Labour, through the SETA movement, would jointly control the application of skills levies according to the various industries' specific needs, would totally disappear if the SETA system was scrapped by the DHET
"Industry would have no say in the government spending of skills levies as there will be no forum for real and meaningful consultation for industry to state its specific training needs, as was the case with SETAs. The coatings industry believes that CHIETA, our own training authority, has done exceptionally well in the area of consultation, defining the real needs of our industry, and providing the training assistance we requested. It would be disastrous for the coatings industry to lose the invaluable input provided by CHIETA with which we had hoped to build an even strong relationship in future."
Spence contended that the government had already done skills upliftment severe harm by meddling in the SETA system by dictating to industry and business as to:· What training can be undertaken;
· By whom the training can be done;
· When the training can be done; and
· Imposing conditions as to whether a business qualified for training.
"This prescriptive policy with its overwhelming amount of red tape required to lodge claims for the training of staff, has meant that a large proportion of businesses have simply stopped training and now regard the skills levy as just another form of government taxation, neither benefitting industry nor the workforce.
"But it should be remembered that skills levy funds belong to industry, not the government. The SETAs were introduced to administer the collection of skills levies and to distribute these funds back to industry based on sound and comprehensive labour market information that the SETAs would obtain from their respective economic sectors and member companies. Now there is the frightening prospect that skills levies will be siphoned into the National Skills Fund and industry will have absolutely no say in the spending of the money it is obliged to pay to government.
"SAPMA, on behalf of our members and the coatings industry, vehemently opposes the proposed new legislation," added Spence.