Skills development, specifically learnerships will soon become a buzzword in the
workplace if the proposed B-BBEE codes are implemented. Companies who have
ignored the practice of learnerships will have to face this issue squarely if they hope
to maintain their BEE rating in future.

The recent graduation of 102 new FAIS-compliant learners as part of the pilot InSeta
SMME learnership demonstrates the effectiveness of learnerships to boost skills and
create employment in the sector.

There is an increasingly large number of people both employed and unemployed who are frantically searching for IT learnership. Employers have the opportunity of benefiting from creating learnerships in the IT sector.

Learnership programmes support the goals of all skills development legislation and are critical to transformation. HR consultant Tasniem Cassiem looks at the benefit of skills development to businesses and how companies can take advantage of government backed skills programmes.

More skilled professionals will enter the insurance sector when the new learnership programme endorsed by Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA) comes into effect. The programme will use the SMME platform to train school-leavers in the trade.

In an effort to boost employment government provides learnership programmes in various sectors. By offering support to Seta's through these initiatives government hopes to alleviate the high number of job seekers who are battling to secure employment.

SME accounting practitioners are playing an important role in terms of developing a pipeline of accounting talent in SA. Benson and Son Managing Director, Nic Benson, believes learners are exposed to a far broader spectrum of business in a small practice than they are in a big practice or corporate.

A gap exists between current education, training provision and the needs of the labour market, according to training providers, Kelly. More trainers need to be actively involved in the enhancement of skills, particularly in the Contact Centre industry through the facilitation of learnerships.

Finally putting to rest speculation that learnerships have not been effective in dealing with unemployment, the Minister of Labour has announced figures showing a 71% placement rate for learners who have completed learnerships and other skills development interventions. He also declared apprenticeships, "alive and well and kicking and legal!"

Learnerships require a lot of work, from the learners and from the employers, and the temptation is always there to throw in the towel. Selby Mthunywa experienced difficulties with his studies but he just worked harder and is now succeeding.

Services Seta CEO Ivor Blumenthal supports the retention of the tax deduction for employers running learnerships, but calls for the deduction to be extended over a number of years to encourage permanent employment.

In an effort to increase the number of people with disabilities enrolled on learnerships, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel announced more generous tax incentives in his 2006 budget. While they have been praised by Setas, there are other problems that still have to be overcome in placing people with disabilities on learnerships.

Learnerships have been promoted as the primary tool to address the country’s skills shortage and to assist young people acquire skills that will secure them employment. But with the Minister of Labour highlighting incidences of abuse of learners, how do we maintain trust in this new form of training and ensure high standards of learning?

The Expanded Public Works Programme is still regarded as a significant element of poverty alleviation, being an effective job-creator and an "important bridge between the two economies'.

Durban-based group training initiative, Jobworx is currently recruiting 340 unemployed individuals to take part in a learnership that will see them receive a National Certificate in General Security Practices.

Mandela Metro Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture Youth Desk co-ordinator Siphiwo Rwentela has called on the youth to embrace learnership programmes to enable them to contribute to the country's economy.

The Community Development Workers learnership is helping one learner in the Boland fulfill a childhood dream and equiping him with the skills to assist his community.

55 learners with disabilities have had their learnership agreements terminated by the Services Seta, one month before the learner assessment was scheduled to begin.

Bloemfontein - Community members within the Mangaung Local Municipality are to be empowered through a learnership on emerging contractors, in line with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

Speaking at the graduation ceremony for 789 learners from their Letsema project, Bankseta CEO Frank Groenewald told the gathering that the project will be repeated with even higher targets for the new intake.

For Lawrence Mlotshwa, a senior Absa executive, Learnerships are a key tool in the bank's armoury as it struggles to develop the country's human resources.

The true measure of any learnership?s success is its ability to transform learners? lives for the better,' says Bankseta CEO, Frank Groenewald. The success stories that come from their learners are a testament to their positive impact.

Letsema, the Bankseta's Learnership Project has already seen 825 learners placed in banks, and part two of the project is on the way.

In a bid to bridge the skills development gap in the agricultural sector, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture has welcomed 40 learners in their learnerships.

Research has been commissioned by the Department of Labour to find out, once and for all, whether the national Learnership initiative is bearing fruit.


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