South Africa's Energy Innovator Is Innovating With e-Learning

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South Africa is facing record-high unemployment rates and a critical skills shortage. While several countries are experiencing what they call "the Great Resignation," South Africa's skills shortage is making news for ranking as a key global risk. This means the skills shortage can have a significant negative impact on our economy and industries for the next decade.


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South Africa is facing record-high unemployment rates and a critical skills shortage. While several countries are experiencing what they call "the Great Resignation," South Africa's skills shortage is making news for ranking as a key global risk. This means the skills shortage can have a significant negative impact on our economy and industries for the next decade.

For many businesses, upskilling and reskilling employees is a top priority in 2022 and beyond. This is great news for the 94% of employees, who in a LinkedIn survey, indicated they would remain at an organisation if it invested in their learning and development.

Invest in employees

South Africa’s leading energy solutions company, First National Battery, made the bold decision to invest in their employees, although they prefer the term "associates". They launched the First National Battery Academy in 2021 as a ground-breaking way for their associates to learn new skills and become experts on their solutions and products, so they can better help their customers. This is First National Battery's way of ensuring they remain competitive and keep innovating as the world approaches radical transition in energy supply and consumption.

"One of the biggest risks facing businesses is a skills shortage. Older associates are retiring before skills transfer can take place," said Murray Long, Managing Director of First National Battery. "We’re addressing this problem head-on and transforming into a learning organisation. We want to offer our associates crucial training to address the current skills gap and to future-proof their careers," said Long.

There are many changes in the manufacturing industry, as energy transformation is happening fast, from storage capability, electric cars, to renewable energy. "We want to educate our associates on all aspects impacting our industry, and what better way to make sure they stay up to date than using an online learning programme," said Long.

Learn new skills online

First National Battery Academy uses an innovative online learning programme that's changing how the organisation is delivering training and development.

"The e-learning programme caters to people’s busy lives,” said Michael Gullan, Founder and CEO of G&G Advocacy, who provides e-learning solutions for corporations. “We want our clients and their employees to learn at their own pace, remember what they've learned and apply that information in their roles."

Benefits of online training

One of the standout features of moving corporate training online is that there are no restrictions, and training doesn't have to pause when employees aren't office-based or in the same location. When employees receive online training, they can learn when they choose to. "The First National Battery Academy is accessible on any device and at any time, and employees can switch effortlessly between their cellphone and tablet and not miss out on anything," said Gullan. “The First National Battery Academy is designed to encourage and motivate their associates to complete training. We’re seeing excellent engagement, even in its early stages."

Building a workforce for the future

When businesses prioritise training, they will reap the benefits of increased productivity, better job satisfaction, staff retention, and will always have the necessary skills within the organisation.

"We're pleased that we can provide our associates with such exciting, comprehensive and engaging learning opportunities," said Long. "The programme is only open to a few departments, but we're planning to expand the First National Battery Academy to more associates, and our collaborators and partners, to learn about our solutions, contribution to the industry and the economy." 

Investing in employees’ training and development is a smart business decision. They will learn new skills, be up to date on technology and processes, and help the business meet objectives and give them a competitive advantage. "We can only succeed if we invest in our associates and provide them opportunities to stay up to date on industry demands and international trends," Long added.

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