Skills Development for Employees – Part 1


The time has come for companies to commit and dedicate resources to train current and future employees within their organisations. We have seen so many employees being let go due to financial strain because of the backlash of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in turn, how it negatively affects these organisations.

Training and Skills Development is still the largest reason for unemployment within South Africa, and companies need to realise that, with proper skills development programmes in place, they can help to “flatten the curve” of unemployment, all while boosting their own business by empowering better educated employees and contributing to their future. Well-trained employees are essential to any business and when employees have all the training, skills, or knowledge they need within their skill-box, they contribute to the organisation by making fewer mistakes and/or accidents, providing better customer services, and they also have a better understanding of the organisation’s mission and vision.

Here are my top 5 training tips for your business:

1. Commitment

Skills Development requires 100% buy-in from Top Management and employees. If you are going to implement skills development, you cannot afford to pull any punches. It is a big administrative task, and if you do not get both hands and feet firmly on this horse it WILL throw you off, and then it will just become a burden and a hassle for both the organisation and employees.

2. Skills Audit/Analysis

This is one of the most important steps to achieve your skills development goals within your organisation. You have to identify what types of training will be adding value and which employees are eligible to attend those training courses. If the goal is to have competent employees in critical occupations, then we need to ensure that those employees also buy into the training strategy and meet the required criteria for training. Spending money needlessly on employees who do not buy into the training strategy will only have counterproductive results.

3. Planning: Types of training and WSP/ATR Plans

It is important to identify any training gaps within the organisation. If employees lack certain skills in an area, the training or learnership identified might prove difficult for them to do as the training will go over their heads. For example: the employee lacks basic computer skills, but the training programme is web-based. Furthermore, planning and submitting a WSP/ATR to your relevant SETA can also assist with funding certain training programmes like short courses, skills programmes, and even learnerships. You should always submit your WSP/ATR, as this is a great way to track the training within the organisation.

4. Host regular training sessions

Implementing regular training sessions for your employees can help maintain skills and knowledge. Internal training is just as important as external training, and regular emphasis on training creates a learning-culture and enhances the promotion process.

5. Skills Development goals and targets (training goals)

This is a great way to track how the organisation is doing with regards to their Skills Development strategy and whether the goals are being met or not. The easiest way to set goals and track them is to conduct performance reviews with each employee. This will also inform you how each employee is doing. Ask them what they are struggling with, how they are doing, if they are finding the training valuable, and is the training enabling them to perform better at work. This will also allow you to ensure that employees have the required tools and learning support where needed.