Don’t let compliance issues overshadow strategic objectives

Training should be the number one priority for businesses in the current skills-deficient environment. It’s an area that has become extremely complicated in recent years, according to Juliette Fourie, CEO of Metro Minds. “Even though some organisations have well-defined talent pipelines and methodologies to improve skills development, it is very much guided by funding models from Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas), B-BBEE compliance targets, employment equity and the reality of cash flow and profit margins,” she said. But when the focus became too heavily reliant on meeting compliance targets rather than following a long-term business strategy, the skills in demand were driven by a false sense of direction, she added.

“Skills are still in massive demand. We urge organisations to look at their skills and talent pipelines and rather start with their business strategy because the rest will fall into place when the strategy is implemented correctly,” she said. Metro Minds operations director Samantha Dorrington agrees. She believes that looking at the calibre of talent and education levels coming through the system, the responsibility has shifted to the private sector to look after the skills demand. “Organisational culture plays a large role in the drive towards filling the skills demand and we are directly experiencing the difference between “compliance-driven” students and “well thought-through business strategy” students.”

At the same time, skills development had become a huge compliance tick for businesses for various reasons, said Fourie. “Training providers are regulated by inconsistent processes that hinder the learning process rather than advancing it. Due to the compliance laundry list, the need for training is expressed in financial targets, rather than a long-term invested education and development plan. This makes it difficult to plan and have sustainability in the business.”

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