Three benefits of investing in learnerships

Johannesburg, 11 Dec 2020
Natalie Almeida, Business Development Manager, CTU Training Solutions.
Natalie Almeida, Business Development Manager, CTU Training Solutions.

By sponsoring learnerships that are relevant to their industry, companies of all sizes can make a valuable contribution to redressing the country’s oft-cited skills shortage while also benefiting from a business perspective. Natalie Almeida, Business Development Manager at CTU Training Solutions, explains how.

1. Plan for the future

The main benefit of allocating budget to learnerships and bursaries, according to Almeida, is that it creates a pipeline of skills for the organisation.

Creating a pipeline of skills relevant to the industry in which the organisation operates serves the dual purpose of saving the business money and contributing to its strategic objectives, says Almeida.

“Deploying a proper skills pipeline for an organisation will drive correct and beneficial transformation while enabling it to comply with all legislative requirements. Any investment in education and training of employees benefits not only the company’s core function down the line, thus ensuring the future of the business, but it also assists it to comply with Employment Equity Advancement as well as improving its B-BBEE ranking.”

2. B-BBEE benefits

Investment in learnerships can earn the business additional B-BBEE points on both their skills spend as well as their learnership spend, ensuring points on two elements with one spend. “Bursaries now have their own separate category in the Skills Development Element,” explains Almeida. You can achieve these points by spending 2.5% of the company’s annual payroll on bursaries. If an unemployed learner completes a learnership and gets full-time employment, either at the sponsored company or another company, the company can earn absorption points as bonus points.

3. Boost unemployment

Almeida goes on to talk about why it’s important for a business to invest in learnerships for both employed and unemployed learners. “Employed learnerships add to the skills of your current workforce, assisting with their career pathing as well as the company’s employment equity plan of advancing designated employees. Unemployed learnerships provide skills for unemployed uneducated youth, who would have otherwise not had the opportunity to train and find careers. These learnerships look at curbing unemployment and creating a pool of skilled workers that can apply for a position within a company and thereby make a positive contribution to the economy, helping to some extent to redress this country’s high unemployment rate.”

Choosing a provider

Almeida cautions: “When choosing a training provider, it's key to choose someone who provides high-quality content in its learnerships that can further the skills development of your employees or even the unemployed.” If done correctly, as part of a strategic solution that is aligned to the company’s strategic focus, this type of investment in training can be beneficial to all. “It’s important to ensure the skills intervention and programmes selected are good quality programmes and that the provider has a good track recording for producing quality outcomes. This will be beneficial not only to the individual being developed, but to the company as a whole.”

She also advises on the importance of establishing a solid relationship with the training provider from the outset as this will assist in aligning strategic objectives. “The training programmes need to be good quality, but they also need to be aligned with the company’s needs and skills investments. Skills interventions should always be seen as an investment in the future, producing more skilled and effective employees.”

A short-term approach to implementing learnerships is never beneficial to the learners or the business, says Almeida. Training should always be implemented with career pathing in mind, with the goal of upskilling the individual to achieve the best in their chosen career.