Progression’s Strategic Team gives some insight into their latest ‘Grow Your Own’ initiative


'Grow Your Own’ is a philosophy implemented by Progression which takes a bottom-up approach to skills development initiatives amongst corporate South Africa. Find out more about the philosophy that is the driving force behind Progression’s client engagement.

Until recently, compliance has largely been the driving force for workplace skills development in South Africa. However, increasingly, CEOs and other business decision makers are realising the need for a more sustainable solution; growing a workforce that meets both their compliance needs as well as the overall goals of the business. 

It’s no secret that employee retention yields greater ROI than employee recruitment. It’s this concept that governs Progression’s ‘Grow Your Own’ initiative, aimed to encourage organisations to empower current and new employees into greater roles. Progression’s CEO, Beth Cook, and Business Development Executive, Candice Lambert, shed some light on the recently launched ‘Grow Your Own’ campaign in a detailed Q&A.

What is ‘Grow Your Own’?

“It’s a philosophy and model that Progression applies to all its engagements and projects. It’s inspired by the value we place on capacity-building and empowerment. Above all, it’s strongly driven by the need for sustainability in development-driven initiatives, including corporate South Africa’s role in the up-skilling of individuals.”

What is the process behind the ‘Grow Your Own’ philosophy?

“When engaging in skills development initiatives with our clients, our approach is to investigate and discover the nature of the business and its operations. In addition to making ‘business sense’ we also try to ensure that there is an element of sustainability or growth potential attached to the initiatives and its outcomes. Typically an initiative runs over a medium to long-term period where someone with very little or no work experience is employed and up-skilled to a level where they are able to contribute value to the organisation.”

“For example, in a simple scenario an employer would approach us in order to engage in an up-skilling initiative. More often than not this is motivated by some form of compliance, whether it be Employment Equity, B-BBEE or the Skills Development Act. Our ‘Grow Your Own’ approach is to identify all the stakeholders participating in the initiative, as well as work alongside the organisation to unpack what their strategy and goals are. This is so that the most suitable training can be selected with the impact being aligned with the business’s long-term workforce strategy. When crafting your future workforce, it’s definitely not a ‘one shoe fits all’ approach. Empowerment through skills development does not always follow a set path but rather, could be implemented with different structures in place.”

Who are the people responsible for implementing the philosophy?

“We sometimes forget, as organisations, that we each play a role when it comes to contributing to the national skills pool; whether it’s within our region that we operate, empowering our supply chain, or up-skilling within our industry. Our impact in terms of skills development has greater potential than simply getting those boxes ‘ticked’. We are all in some way responsible to contributing to the national skills development drive.”

What does the ‘Grow Your Own’ campaign achieve?

“The ‘Grow Your Own’ philosophy is something that Progression has always done, it’s our best practice approach towards skills development. We believe that by unpacking this model or ‘way of working’ in a more explicit way through the campaign, we will afford our clients and strategic partners the opportunity to capacity-build themselves.”

How will the ‘Grow Your Own’ campaign be launched?

“As with any communication strategy, it’s important to make use of a multi-pronged approach. Our main platform for the campaign will be the relationship we’ve developed with Achiever magazine and TFM magazine, both of which speak to best practice transformation and empowerment of people. We believe that aligning ourselves with these publications will help us communicate the message with the ‘right’ people.”

“It’s also going to be highlighted in all our conversations, from clients all the way to strategic partners and the learners involved in the projects. There are a number of clients that have already implemented initiatives linked to the ‘Grow Your Own’ philosophy which we will be showcasing in a case study-style approach. By sharing these success stories, we hope to provide some practical examples of the initiatives and organisations involved in making a tangible difference.”

Are there any impacts for the ‘Grow Your Own’ campaign beyond Skills Development?

“Of course! ‘Grow Your Own’ can be linked to any development initiative. Skills development is one of the core focuses at Progression, hence the alignment. However, recently we’ve been exploring further into various community development initiatives, some of which are linked to our existing Socio Economic Development projects. The potential for ‘Grow Your Own’ is limitless, especially as organisations are becoming more empowered towards effecting change.”

“Looking at the model and implementation from a birds-eye view, we see communities and organisations alike being transformed, where equality in terms of economic and skills participation is empowered on a large scale. It’s a total commitment to transformation within our country.”

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