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Thursday, October 2, 2014

How employers can develop learnerships to attract quality candidates

By Rina Misor

If you are an employer, you may be considering implementing a learnership. There are several benefits to doing so. There is no better way to attract skilled workers to your company than via a learnership program. But why would you want skilled workers? Because skilled workers have a higher chance of doing the job correctly the first time. Not only that, but they are, on average more independent. Skilled workers also have a higher degree of motivation to do their job right and may be less likely to quit their job with a company.

Learnership development stages

Corporate learnershipsIn order to be able to provide a learnership, your company will first need to navigate through several stages. First, a skill shortage must first have been identified by the Services Sector Education & Training Authority (SETA). Then, the occupation needs to be defined accurately, and all of the skills and knowledge you require must be included. The more details you include at this stage, the better. Doing this will allow all who view your learnership description to know right away if pursuing the opportunity is right for them. A clear description like this also helps to save your company time, because it serves to screen out those who may not qualify.

The learnership description and other information must then be forwarded to the SGB, or Standards Generating Body. This organization will take the learnership information and head a group comprised of several individuals, including yourself, representatives of your employees and service providers. Together, the group determines the details of the learnership further, developing assessments, and stages of assessments and the ideal goal of a successfully-completed learnership. The Unit Standards for the learnership are then developed, which will each receive their own assessment guide.

Necessary additional steps

Every employer wanting to offer a learnership will, in addition to the learnership development steps above, complete additional tasks. Once the learnership agreement and contract have been developed and entered into, you can apply for a learnership grant. This grant will cover some of the costs associated with offering a learnership at your company.

You will also want to prepare for the possibility that unemployed learners will want to apply for your learnership. This will require the development of an employment contract. However, this particular contract will need to comply with the Minister of Labour's definition of a learnership.

After a contract has been developed, copies of the learnership agreement must be made so that all involved parties can sign and keep a copy. Then the identification of a mentor, which is an important step, as the mentor will be the individual who guides the learner.

The provider will be the next choice. They will be the ones who will provide all of the theoretical learnership portions. However, it's important to choose a provider who is SETA-accredited.

Organizing the learnership

Because of the fact that continual assessments must be made throughout the learnership process, time will need to be set aside for this. Time will also be needed to allow the learner to reflect on their experiences, as well as to meet with various members of their support team. It must also be ensured that all records of any results in relation to the assessment be accurately recorded.

It is incredibly important that all who work for the company, especially those in management and those who will be the peers of the learner are well aware of your company's learnerships. Their full support of your decision to offer learnerships should also be a requirement. Clear and regular communication with your company's human resources department will also be necessary, as it must be ensured that the learner is complying with the contract they signed, and that all records have been properly processed.

Developing a learnership takes time. Rushing the process will only result in inadequate training being provided, which benefits no one. A good learnership is one that has been developed as part of a commitment to improve the employment situation and employee skills.

About the author: Rina Misor writes on a variety of topics on learnerships, from both the perspective of the company as well as the candidate seeking a learnership. She recommends South Africa Learnerships & Jobs as a resource for candidates.

License: Free Images/Barunpatro; Royalty Free or iStock  

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