Workplace learning the key to moving South Africa forward


In an ever-changing, developing world, workplace learning should be fast-tracked to up-skill and develop staff to ensure employees remain knowledgeable and informed in key industries.   

But research into workplace learning by auditing firm Deloitte indicates the opposite. Of the 1200 organisations surveyed for the Bersin by Deloitte: A Quantum Leap Ahead for Learning Organisation Maturity, about 74 percent of organisations said they choose to focus on traditional learning methods and not on empowering employees to acquire new skills through workplace learning. Only 38 percent of workers said they have opportunities for growth and learning at their place of work.

“These figures are concerning. In a country like ours where there are critical skills gaps in several key sectors, workplace learning is necessary. Organisations need to start realising that great value lies in empowering and upskilling employees through Learnerships. It’s the perfect way to develop employees and to ensure they are equipped to do the work employers need them to do,” says Richard Rayne, CEO of iLearn – a leading South African learning solutions business that offers a range of Learnerships and short courses.

A Learnership is a vocational and educational training programme that links structured learning and work experience in order to obtain a registered qualification. It combines theory and workplace practice into a qualification registered by the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).  

Rayne says Learnerships produce “competent and efficient” employees and more South African employers should encourage workplace learning to boost the level of skills in the organisation.

“Empowering and developing employees through learning programmes is one way of moving our country forward by means of education. In this way, employees have the opportunity to upskill themselves, organisations evolve in the process and are able to compete effectively – and the good news is, it’s a very cost-effective, yet highly beneficial option,” he says.

“Considering how skills development has become such an important aspect of the B-BBEE scorecard, companies can use Learnerships effectively, not just for talent development and management, but also to boost their B-BBEE levels,” Rayne points out. Investing in Learnerships also provides opportunities to capitalise on various reimbursements, grants and tax rebates.

iLearn offers a “hyper-personalised” approach to learning that supports interactive learning. “We help companies identify skills gaps and create learning pathways that encourage continuous employee learning, which aids both career development and business growth.”

The business recently launched the first MICT SETA-approved blended learning Learnership this year and Rayne says this Learnership innovatively merges all the advantages of online learning, with the “tried and tested benefits” of classroom learning.

“The new Learnership will have learners engaging with the course content online and in their own time, as well as with other learners in a structured face-to-face learning environment, guided by expert facilitators,” he says.

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