Workplace simulation ensures students are ready for action

Thanks to compliance-driven targets like employment equity, BEE and skills development, more and more companies are investing in staff training, according to Metro Minds MD Juliette Fourie. But a lot more needs to be done.

Many organisations depend on government-granted funding to build a knowledgeable workforce using learnerships, internships and graduate programmes that are undertaken on the job, says Fourie. “But learning needs to be measured and the productivity and performance linked to knowledge, skill and attitude – which is a challenge with on-the-job training. “We have a passion for skills development and believe that if the objective behind training and transformation is to grow and develop your staff, the compliance will happen naturally.”

Skills – or lack of them – are regarded as the number one challenge in the industry, and across-the-board training is key. “While there is always room for foundational skills, training for customs controllers, supply chain practitioners, supply chain planners, managers and experienced sales executives is critical,” says Fourie. But employability goes beyond training – and this is an area that Metro Minds has addressed.“From the new employee’s perspective, it takes time to master your skill on the job. We believe that by creating simulated work scenarios, systems and processes, the transition into a job is likely to be much more efficient. Which is why Metro Minds is launching a simulator as well as a bridging programme this year to fill these gaps.

“Workplace simulation is not a new idea or a revolutionary innovation – but we believe that simulations and learnerships provide immediate return on investment for organisations.”The objective at Metro Minds is to make staff the client’s biggest asset – even before the person starts his first day at work, says Fourie. “Our Wise Minds is a 10-module bridging programme that acts as an induction and orientation before the employee even starts in the workplace. It can be customised to even serve as an induction programme for companies,” she says.

And in order to help plug the skills gap in sales and supply chain, the company has partnered with several higher education institutions like Da Vinci Institute and CIPS.The sales management programme, better known as OISTER, acknowledges the need for multi-disciplinary skills in the sales sector. “Besides understanding the sales cycle, sales executives also need an understanding of the people to whom they are selling.”

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