Dutch-based SkillsTown launches e-learning academy in SA

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From left: SkillsTown’s Bart Hogendoorn, Hans Schuurmans, Kevin Hardy and Prof Kasper Boon.
From left: SkillsTown’s Bart Hogendoorn, Hans Schuurmans, Kevin Hardy and Prof Kasper Boon.

Netherlands-based online professional learning platform SkillsTown has launched in SA, saying it seeks to contribute to the continuous development of people across the world.

SkillsTown is the largest professional learning platform in the Netherlands and its global expansion drive is being led by Bart Hogendoorn, former managing director of HP and SAP.

It is centred on a subscription-based model, which gives access to over 1 000 online modules.

In SA, SkillsTown will start with close to 100 of its most popular courses, with new and local content being added monthly, ranging from management basics, finance for dummies and social media marketing, to soft skills and time management.

SkillsTown SA comes on the back of a transitioning education landscape that has been undergoing rapid changes over the past few months due to the advancement of Web-based learning services.

SkillsTown SA says it will work with Sector Education and Training Authority-accredited organisations to ensure compliance with the B-BBEE scorecard, and with specific sectoral content providers to meet the needs of clients.

“Education for all is the basis of equal opportunities,” says Hogendoorn.

“The Netherlands has an excellent reputation worldwide in the fields of education and innovation. As our greatest strengths, we are taking and adapting this unique model to the local market, combining First World technology, capability and expert knowledge to deliver on an essential local business requirement – that of skills development.”

He explains the popularity of online learning is increasing rapidly worldwide and with SA being a gateway to Africa, SkillsTown’s solutions can play an important role in the development of the country and its people.

“A good education gives people a future perspective and creates more equal opportunities for everyone.”

Additionally, Hans Schuurmans, CEO of SkillsTown, says: “It is our objective to contribute to the continuous development of people and organisations, and to enable them to adapt to the changing world around them.

“This is why we focus on personal development and innovation, to ensure that everyone – no matter what their background – has the opportunity not only to learn, but to learn in their own way.”

Kevin Hardy, MD of SkillsTown SA, says: “With such an uncertain future, we should all be taking our destiny into our own hands. In many ways, the world has moved on from broad-based education where skills and courses take months or years to complete. We live in an on-demand world, one of instant gratification where businesses are looking for skills to get things done now – not tomorrow.

“The education landscape must keep up as corporates look to provide employees with ways to empower themselves, keep them connected, engaged and relevant.”

According to SkillsTown, a collaboration with Maastricht University on artificial intelligence is currently under way, as well as the development of the world’s first online Corporate MBA (CMBA).

Schuurmans says this global offering will disrupt the traditional MBA, typically accessible only to the privileged few.

“At the cost of one MBA, our CMBA will enable entire organisations, especially managers and executives, to educate themselves at an MBA level. Instead of fictitious business cases, employees immediately start working on business cases within and relevant to the organisation. This means that from day one, the CMBA ensures all employees, as well as the organisation itself, perform better.”

SkillsTown’s CMBA will be available online in South Africa before the end of 2020.

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