Skills, Training and Development

Quality Assurance and Transformation in Skills, Training and Development

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Quality Assurance is a business concept and practice that is associated with other practices such as Quality Management System (QMS) and Quality Control. All these practices boils down to how do we ensure product or service performance is continuously better to best. The latter is more of a perspective that emphasises that desired performance is not a once-off event rather a presently continuous responsibility.

The perspective in reference embraces effectiveness and efficiency with regard to product offer and delivery thereof. Thus, QMS is mainstreamed in form of Manual Package for different business functions. While Quality Control is a Quality Assurance task(s) that should responsibly executed.

What does Quality Management System have to do with Skills, Training and Development?

Quality assurance is a global phenomenon that is found in different economic industries. So is the case of Skills, Training and Development (STandD), an economic industry. It too would have its own quality assurance management framework in place. Education sciences and related theories inform composition of such a framework. This education science now makes STandD’s framework partially different to that of other economic industries.

The South African National Departments of Basic Education, Higher Education and Labour, provide quality assurance standards and norms on matters of STandD as it applies in primary, secondary and tertiary education including the workplace and business environment. South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) too jointly with it’s different Quality Councils such as UMALUSI, Quality Council for Trade Occupations (QCTO) and Council for Higher Education (CHE) have issued quality assurance standards and norms for execution purpose. SAQA’s quality assurance framework provides operating principles, objectives, practices, and processes for Training Providers’ execution via Sector Training Authorities (SETAs).

Now when factoring Transformation in STandD, firstly transformation is a South African national agenda. Secondly, STandD is not just an economic industry. It is also a government’s development intervention. A government’s development intervention through which to eradicate poverty, address socio-economic maladies, restores societal morals etc. Again, STandD is a means through which people are developed to be economically active. The very economically active persons are then a capital through which industries realise national production and global competitiveness. Therefore, transformation and quality assurance in StandD are not contrary nor a choice matter. The STandD legislative and policy framework outlines transformation and quality assurance as performance standards and requirements. This implies that transformation and quality assurance relate and holistically work. In light of this, these performance standards and requirements are responsibilities of all industry role players irrespective of their diversity.

In conclusion, how does Quality Assurance and Transformation unfold at Training Provider level?

Firstly, learning outcomes and objectives of each learning programme should embrace and point to realising desired transformation in communities. What is important in this regard is not just stating desired outcomes and objectives. Rather what evident efforts executed to achieve desired outcomes? Secondly, all of Provider’s training activities irrespective of their sizes should be evident of executed quality control.

ETQA at Training Provider’s accreditation signs off Provider’s Quality Management System. This QMS is signed off in form of a QMS Manual Package. The system reference is not only usable at ETQA site visits and external moderation sessions hosted at Provider’s premises. Rather an expected daily use of and reference in the Provider’s training activities.

Administration at Provider level may haphazardly emerge but should intentionally be executed. That is throughout course of time or project duration. Why intentionally executed? The orderly and quality controlled administration serves as strength and support to Provider’s major training projects and events. If training projects are to demonstrate quality, cost, timeframe and transformational objectives set. Then workflow thereof requires an administrative support. Yes, the degree of workflow would differ by task, project and entity sizes. However, when the latter increase which of cause is over time. Then the Provider’s administrative and workflow procedures would need review and update to the foreseen and increasing demand.

Of course, amidst training projects and events, records goes through administration processes. Noting that business records are required for quality control, accounting, reporting, auditing, decision making etc. This implies Provider’s recording keeping system should be usable and kept, as long as affected stakeholder requires so.

Another point for Provider’s mainstreaming quality assurance and transformation is in area of entity’s resource. Surely resource access, use and ownership differ from Provider to Provider. One thing is certain, as training projects increase so are resource access, use and ownership increases. What is fundamental in this regard, is the Provider intentionally accessing and utilising resources effectively and efficiently towards attaining, learning outcomes? Lastly, are Provider’s resources for learning and development deliberately accessed and used for STandD interventions equally and for equity purpose?

Another intervention point for a Provider on quality assurance and transformation is on learning and assessment content followed in training projects. Yes, SAQA’s qualification standards and rules may stay to end of registration timeframe. However, learning and assessment content may require review during this registration timeframe. That is review and update learning and assessment content to suit changes economic firms and industries face in that period. These efforts evidently show that Provider’s STanD interventions appropriately and relevantly support industry production and competitiveness needs.

Quality assurance and transformation in STandD are performance standards and requirements of every training Provider irrespective of their diversity. That is, performance standards and requirements that are evidently and intentionally executed across training activities. In this regard, an execution consistently showed overtime.

Nthabiseng Seperepere

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