It’s Skills Development – But Not As We Know It!


South Africa is caught in a vice of two different but interrelated crises: a skills shortage and an economy that is deindustrialising and dying. Jon Foster-Pedley, dean and director of Henley Business School Africa, believes both these trends need to be reversed if we want to turn the economy around.



‘South Africa doesn’t have a talent problem; it has a talent development problem. South African businesses and our critical institutions simply don’t have enough managers who know how to get things done and get the best out of others.

‘This is why Henley has developed a unique educational solution: a “post-experience” qualification stairway in Management Practice from post-matric to Masters level that is designed to fast-track the management skills of working South Africans, helping their careers as well as the companies they are working for.’

Unlocking the potential we already have for fast results

Foster-Pedley says that given the country’s limited resources, the fastest way to inject relevant skills into the economy would be to focus on two key groups. The first is working South Africans who already have some work experience, and the other is existing entrepreneurs.

‘To unlock the potential that we have, let’s boost the skills, capacity, and passion of the people who can make a difference immediately in the businesses in which they work.’

This is the driving force behind the development of the business school’s unique stairway of ‘post-experience’ accredited qualifications in management practice: five stackable programmes covering junior, middle, and senior management (NQF level 5-9) that are designed to fast-track the skills and confidence of working South Africans, helping their careers as well as the companies they are working for.

‘This is a new way of education,’ says Foster-Pedley. ‘Mid-career management training with qualifications for people who have work experience and high motivation. Management skills are learned in the workplace, of course, but mostly this is done in a haphazard way. A formal learning pathway can fast-track the process, bringing a system and professionalism to the process. People can work while they study and gain lifelong motivation and a huge confidence and skills surge. At the same time, companies get a massive boost in capability and talent.’ 

In essence, he says we need to make management training easier, faster and more immediately useful for individuals, organisations and entrepreneurs, helping to give people purpose, hope and meaning in their lives and in their work.

 For the first time, an international business school puts down roots in Cape Town

As part of its determination to address the talent gap, Henley, an international business school that has been active in Africa for 30 years, now has a campus in Cape Town. According to Barry van Zyl, Henley Engagement Manager, this is so that it can better service its Cape Town corporate clients and tap into new markets.

‘Crucially, this now means that individuals and entrepreneurs can also enrol in its programmes without having to travel up to Johannesburg where Henley’s original campus is located.’

Van Zyl adds that this April will see the first intake of its foundation LIFT! Programme, a Higher Certificate in Management Practice – pitched at NQF Level 5 in Cape Town.

‘LIFT! Is a practical programme targeted at new managers that teaches people to be confident in their own capabilities and get the best performance from others, from money, from projects, and so create more customer value with fewer resources. People graduate with better business acumen, more clarity, more purpose and a greater chance of being successful,’ says Van Zyl.

Scholarship give-away to help people ‘see like a CEO’

Van Zyl, himself a graduate of Henley Africa’s MBA and an internationally recognised drummer formerly with the Johnny Clegg band, says the LIFT! programme has been carefully designed so students can integrate their learnings into the workplace and build confidence in their management ability.

‘LIFT! is a part-time course for busy people and consists of five short learning blocks delivered over 12 months. The topics are designed to be immediately useful and are underpinned by a systems-thinking model that helps people ‘see like a CEO’, understanding the whole business and how it works, not just a glimpse of part of it,’ he explains.

To mark this milestone, Henley is committed to making several scholarships available for its LIFT! Programme to deserving students in the Cape Town area.

Foster-Pedley comments: ‘Henley already runs one of the largest self-funded scholarship programmes in Africa, and we are excited to be able to extend this into the Cape Town market.’

Henley scholarships are focused in particular on supporting entrepreneurs, individuals in the music, creative and media industries, on women, on climate and anti-corruption activists, on people speaking truth to power, and on people working in all sectors that have a powerful vision and plan to help transform the economy and the country and who would benefit exponentially from some targeted training and support.

‘If you think you fit this bill, or you know someone who does, then please get in touch. Let’s find the changemakers and the unsung heroes of Cape Town who are making the economy work and make sure that we give them the platform to move to the next level,’ says Foster-Pedley.

‘South Africa needs an army of skilled and passionate people who build the businesses that build Africa. At Henley, we aim to do that with speed and at a standard that is recognised around the world. The confidence you get from studying at Henley comes from knowing you can perform at an international level, not just local.’

For more information on the LIFT! Higher Certificate in Management Practice Programme and scholarship offering, or to attend the next LIFT! information session contact Pranisha Behary on 083 273 3565, 011 808 0860 or email [email protected].




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