Corporate bursaries are set to become a more attractive training and development investment than ever before under draft changes to B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice which was gazetted on 29 March 2018. The 60-day public consultation period closed at the end of May, and we should expect the final amendments to be signed into law very soon.
This should really come as no surprise given the State’s recent commitment to free tertiary education for South Africa’s poor: the fiscus can only be stretched so much further, and it is entirely logical that transformation and B-BBEE in the private and public sector be even more closely aligned with the critical need to provide quality education to as many young South Africans as possible.
THE MECHANICS OF CHANGE IN EDUCATION
Under the proposed new Skills Development targets in the Codes, a total of 4 points have been set aside solely for bursaries for black students at Higher Education Institutions. The target expenditure is now set at 2.5% of the entity’s “leviable amount” (in short, payroll expenses), which is carved out of the current 6% target. The remaining 3.5% must still be allocated to qualifying learning programmes, which may also include additional expenditure on bursaries.
Furthermore, the current 15% cap on unaccredited and informal training will be increased to 25%, which will come as a relief to most.
This means that companies will be able to spend a greater portion of their training and development budgets on internal training and a much greater variety of shorter, job-relevant educational interventions.