Workplace Skills Plan: A nuisance or a major benefit?
One of the main purposes of the Skills Development Act is to encourage employers to use the workplace as an active learning environment.
Should employers take on this approach, they will not only provide employees with the opportunity to acquire new skills, but they will also provide opportunities for individuals who find it difficult to be employed.
The question is: Why should employers care about a workplace skills plan and creating learning opportunities?
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The World Economic Forum predicts that “by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will comprise of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today”.
Furthermore, new innovations will change the basis of competition in many markets.
Depending on the industry and the nature of the business, companies will thus be forced to reconsider the talent they require in order to perform critical business roles in the future.
By making use of the resources provided to companies, such as the Skills Development Act and the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), industry skills shortages can be determined and your current workforce can be developed, thereby ensuring the future success of your business.
It is common knowledge that within South Africa, the educational level of a large number of employees rarely reaches that of a Matric Certificate.
As a result, businesses, especially within industries employing blue-collar workers, need to spend a large amount of training to ensure maximum productivity and business success.
A way to minimize this large amount spent is to register with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and to pay the skills development levy (1% of the total of the company’s monthly salary and wage expenditure).
As a result of this action, and by submitting an Annual Training Report (ATR) and the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) on time, companies are then able to claim back a portion of their annual skills development levy contribution, irrespective of what training was completed or the number of employees trained.
Additionally, companies can apply for discretionary grants; this means that training programs leading to a qualification recognized by the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) can then become funded by the relevant SETA.
Benefits of Skills Development Programs
On the other hand, another major benefit of company training and skills development is the fact that it can lead to South Africa having a more skilled workforce, which in turn will slowly but surely lead to a stronger economy, profiting all businesses within the country.
Furthermore, skills development will also affect a company’s B-BBEE scorecard in terms of skills expenditure and meeting the profit targets promised, an element most companies in South Africa need to comply with.
Subsequently, skills development should be seen as an investment and as a way to contribute towards transformation in South Africa.
The significance and value of skills planning and development are not yet fully understood within most organizations; as a result, employees are not engaged, and companies are not benefitting from the implementation of new skills.
Therefore, developing a workplace skills plan (WSP) to manage and direct the implementation of skills development interventions each year is of utmost importance for organizations to meet strategic goals.
Consequently, implementing a skills development strategy within your company will not only be beneficial to the success and growth of your organization, but it will ultimately lead to a better South Africa – a major benefit for all businesses.
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