SA employers urged to make workplace learning part of the business’s strategy

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A renaissance in workplace learning has arrived and more employers need to start seeing its value to grow the business’s talent pool and boost its bottom-line.

According to a research study conducted by auditing firm Deloitte headlined: The exponential importance of learning: Learning in the Flow of Work; workplace learning is a business, economic and social imperative. The report finds that learning and development is the fastest growing headcount growth in the HR function. “The learning curve is the earning curve,” the report states, and also redefines a career as a series of developmental experiences, leading to growth, not always promotion.

Richard Rayne, CEO of iLearn – a leading South African learning solutions business that offers accredited and non-accredited learning programmes, as well as digital learning solutions. Rayne stresses the importance of fast-tracking workplace learning to upskill and develop staff in areas where the organisation needs it most. He says iLearn offers a personalised approach to learning that supports interactive learning. The organisation helps companies identify skills gaps and create learning pathways that encourage continuous employee learning, which aids both career development and business growth.

“If skills gaps exist in key sectors in this country and employers know they do, then learning while you work is absolutely necessary and needs to be part of the business strategy. It’s one good way of producing employees who are skilled and properly equipped to do what the job requires and so much more,” he says.

Ticking the on-the-job learning box can easily be achieved if employers remain open to introducing their employees to workplace learning programmes like Learnerships or short courses. A Learnership is a vocational training programme that links structured learning and work experience to obtain a registered qualification. It combines workplace practice into a qualification registered by the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

And since skills development has become a priority element of an organisation’s BBBEE scorecard, companies can use Learnerships, not just for talent development and management, but also to boost BBBEE levels.

“The advantage of a Learnership is multifaceted – it empowers and develops employees in multiple areas and in-turn the employers benefit too. If your workforce is made up of skilled individuals who work hard and smart, the business will grow. If the business grows and does well, it will be able to compete effectively; which is necessary to boost economic growth and exactly what we need in South Africa,” Rayne says.

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