Adult basic education and training or “ABET” is critical human capital

triple-e-training-abet-human-capital-african-women-smiling

With its significant positive impact on the bottom line, adult basic education and training or “ABET” is critical to human capital. It enables companies to raise English literacy and basic maths skills in the workplace to improve productivity and efficiency. The benefits of a well-planned and coordinated adult literacy training and adult numeracy training programme can be measured. This is demonstrated by the many companies that attest to the efficacy of adult education and training or “AET” from leading accredited training provider, Triple E Training. These companies continue to see a return on their investment into structured and formal workplace training that is geared at imparting English literacy and numeracy skills to low skilled employees. This is because English literacy and maths are the minimum proficiencies employees need to perform at the best possible levels.

ABET is critical human capital that benefits your company

Companies that invest heavily in developing their human capital benefit from significant productivity gains. This is considering that a skilled, knowledgeable and experienced workforce is both effective and efficient.

Human capital refers to the economic value of workers’ experience and skills. It includes assets such as education, workplace training, intelligence, skills, health and various traits that employees value, not least of which are diligence, loyalty and punctuality. Because human capital is an intangible asset or quality, it cannot be listed on a balance sheet. This is despite the large positive contribution that it makes to the bottom line.

Triple E Training, an accredited training provider, specialises in developing the competencies of low skilled employees on behalf of many industries. This is by providing low skilled employees with basic English literacy and numeracy skills through quality workplace training. English literacy and maths are the absolute basic proficiencies that low skilled employees need to perform their respective tasks with confidence.

Number of workers in South Africa according to skills levels

YearsSkillsNumber
1994Skilled Employees1,8-million
Semi-Skilled Employees4,2-million
Low Skilled Employees2,9-million
2014 Skilled Employees 3,8-million
Semi-Skilled Employees 7-million
Low Skilled Employees 4,3-million
[Credit:] Statistics South Africa

Breakdown of the South African workforce by skills level

YearSkillsPercentage of
Total workforce
1994Skilled employees21%
Semi-skilled employees47%
Low Skilled employees32%
2014 Skilled employees 25%
Semi-skilled employees 46%
Low Skilled employees 29%
[Credit:] Statistics South Africa

Trend of employment structure by occupation and by gender between 2005 and 2014

MaleMaleFemaleFemaleTotalTotal
200520142005201420052014
Highly skilled jobs20.9%24.2%21.8%25.1%21.3%24.6%
Manager8.7%10.7%10.7%6.3%6.9%8.8%
Professional3.3%5.5%3.6%5.6%3.4%5.6%
Technician9.0%8.0%13.6%13.1%11.0%10.2%
Semi-skilled jobs27.3%24.8%21.4%20.4%24.7%22.9%
Clerical5.7%5.9%15.8%17.3%10.1%10.9%
Craft and related trade21.6%18.9%5.5%3.1%14.5%12.0%
Skilled Agriculture0.6%0.6%0.9%0.3%0.8%0.5%
Unskilled jobs51.2%50.4%55.9%54.1%53.3%52.0%
Sales and services12.8%14.1%13.6%16.9%13.2%15.4%
Plant and machine operator13.6%13.0%2.8%2.6%8.9%8.4%
Elementary24.7%23.2%39.5%34.6%31.2%28.2%
Total100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
[Credit:] Statistics South Africa

LOW SKILLED EMPLOYEES

Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training as human capital

South Africa has an abundance of unskilled labour. This is largely due to a legacy of a past system that deprived many people of a basic education, which included the opportunity to acquire essential basic literacy and numeracy skills. The dearth in basic literacy and numeracy skills in the country manifests in the workplace through notable declines in productivity and efficiency. Low skilled employees who are not proficient in English literacy and numeracy struggle to understand clear instructions from their supervisors or line managers.

They will, therefore, spend a considerable amount of time asking for help and they will continuously make errors due to a lack of understanding of exactly what their job entails. This leads to wastage and, in extenuating circumstances, accidents that may result in serious injuries and even fatalities. Low skilled employees who do not possess basic literacy and numeracy skills will also struggle to produce high quality products. Moreover, they will not be able to engage confidently with customers and clients. This could cost a company its business and professional standing in the market.

EMPLOYEE TRAINING AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

triple-e-training-abet-human-capital-chalkboard-success

Although employee training and development are often used interchangeably across industries, there is a significant difference between the two terms. Training involves programmes that enable employees to learn precise skills, such as English literacy and numeracy, or gain knowledge to improve their performance in the workplace. This can be achieved through quality workplace training, including adult literacy training and adult numeracy training. With regards to employee development, managers collaborate with workers to help devise a plan that will improve competencies in the workplace.

This strategy identifies weaknesses that need to be developed or existing skills, including English literacy and numeracy that have to be enhanced. It also proposes interventions that are required to bolster skills. Triple E Training, an accredited training provider, customises its numeracy and English literacy instruction to suit the individual needs of its clients. In this way, we are also able to augment employee development plans that are geared at equipping workers with Basic English literacy and numeracy skills.

MEASURE TO IDENTIFY GAPS IN LITERACY AND NUMERACY SKILLS

Determining the return on investment into adult literacy training and adult numeracy training

Considering the importance of human capital, enterprising companies measure the skills, knowledge and experience of their workforce. This enables them to precisely determine the return on investment of their human capital to accurately gauge its efficiency and effectiveness. Measuring human capital also helps businesses to identify deficiencies in skills, knowledge and experience that is needed to achieve their objectives. Accredited training provider, Triple E Training’s placement assessments have played a very important role in helping companies to measure their human capital.

Placement assessments assist us inaccurately identify literacy and numeracy skills gaps in the workplace and the specific interventions that may be required to address them. Placement assessments also ensure that employees commence their learning journey at the correct adult basic education and training or “ABET” level, starting at pre-adult basic education and training or “ABET” through to adult basic education and training or “ABET” Level 4. In this way, our placement assessments will ensure that employees are able to cope with the course content. Importantly, this ensures that they are able to complete their workplace training or that they do not regress. All four levels of adult education and training or “AET” are designed to efficiently equip low skilled employees with Basic English literacy and numeracy skills.

Their basic literacy and maths skills will also enable them to communicate efficiently with co-workers and higher-ups, read and complete work documents; keep accurate records; use technology; and apply their minds constructively in the workplace. Equipped with these skills, low skilled employees are also able to engage with company goals and metrics. Employees who are able to understand this information are more engaged at work.

THE BENEFITS OF WORKPLACE TRAINING, ESPECIALLY ADULT LITERACY TRAINING AND ADULT NUMERACY TRAINING

A formal and well-structured workplace training programme, including instruction in maths and English literacy, provides many benefits that can be measured to justify the return on investment into human capital. Accredited training provider, Triple E Training’s clients report the following benefits after their employees have completed all four levels of adult literacy training and adult numeracy training:

  1. Economy in operations: Employees who have English literacy and maths skills will be able to make better and economical use of materials, as well as tools and equipment. This reduces costly waste in the workplace. Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training also minimises or completely eliminates accidents with and damage to tools and equipment. This, in turn, reduces the cost of production per unit. These are two clear measurables of the success of English literacy and maths training.
  2. Greater productivity: Functionally literate and numerate employees are also more productive and are able to produce a higher quality of work than those who are not proficient in English and maths. Companies that invest in improving their low skilled employees’ English literacy and maths skills also see marked increases in the quantity of output. Equipped with these basic literacy and numeracy skills, workers are also able to undergo further training. These English literacy and maths skills lay solid foundations for lifelong learning – the ultimate objective of any well planned and coordinated adult education and training or “AET” programme. This will improve employees’ abilities to constantly better their work performance or take on additional responsibilities.
  3. Uniformity of procedures: Employees who possess basic maths and English literacy skills also understand standard operating procedures. This means that high levels of performance can be standardised throughout the organisation to significantly improve productivity and efficiency in the workplace, while maintaining the highest possible quality throughout.
  4. Less supervision: Employees who understand clear instructions from their supervisors can work independently, reducing the need for detailed and constant supervision. This is a primary reason that companies continue to invest in quality adult education and training or “AET” from this accredited training provider.
  5. Systematic imparting of skills: A formal and systematic workplace training programme helps reduce the time that it takes employees to become proficient at their jobs.
  6. Creation of an inventory of skills: Workplace training programmes, including instruction in basic maths and English literacy, enable companies to identify talent that can be groomed and coached into other positions without having to recruit externally. Sourcing personnel externally can be an onerous and time-consuming process. This is considering that new employees take time to adapt to a company’s culture and operating procedures, as well as to learn how to do their jobs properly, impacting productivity.
  7. Improved morale: The morale of employees improves when they are given an opportunity to better themselves by participating in workplace training. They support organisational activities; are willing to cooperate; and are loyal because they see for themselves that their employers are invested in their future and success with the company. Many of the accredited training provider’s clients have also seen a decline in employee dissatisfaction, complaints, absenteeism and turnover from their continuous investment into adult literacy and adult numeracy training.

ROBUST WORKPLACE TRAINING PLAN

Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training addresses skills gaps

triple-e-training-abet-human-capital-teacher-writing-on-whiteboard

In this way, the accredited training provider’s placement assessment is an essential tool for devising a robust strategy to bridge the literacy and numeracy skills divide and, notably, include accurate timelines. If employees are precisely placed at the correct adult basic education and training or “ABET” level, they should progress according to plan to meet companies’ strategic objectives. These could include reducing wastage as a result of basic mistakes; improving customer satisfaction through improved communication skills; or increasing productivity through effective teamwork. Some companies may have as an objective the optimal use of human resources by ensuring that all employees are equipped with the basic proficiencies that they need to perform at sufficient levels so that workload can be spread evenly.

Companies use Total Organisational Profits and Investment on Human Capital as a formula to measure the return on investment of their workplace training and skills development programmes, both of which include adult education and training or “AET”. Total Organisational Profits refer to the profits made by companies after they have covered all of their expenses. Meanwhile, Investment on Human Capital is the amount of money that a company has spent on developing its human capital. This includes recruitment and selection and compensation, as well as development and workplace training programmes. Companies that measure the return on investment of their English literacy and maths skills development programmes will continue to prioritise adult basic education and training or “ABET”. This is because a solid investment into adult literacy training and adult numeracy training impacts the bottom line in a positive way.

Notably, this is also a significant departure from a short-sighted approach that involves training just for the sake of it. Some companies only invest in adult education and training or “AET” to improve their broad-based black economic empowerment or “B-BBEE” scorecard. They are yet to devise a structured workplace training programme and measure the actual productivity and efficiency gains that they have achieved through adult literacy training and adult numeracy training. Indeed, transformation of the economy is essential, but it is just one of the many outcomes of a well-planned and coordinated adult education and training or “AET” programme. Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training in the workplace are vital components of any skills development strategy. This is because up skilling starts by first equipping employees with the basic skills that they need to do their jobs properly before they embark on further training to enhance their competencies.

ABOUT HUMAN CAPITAL, INCLUDING ADULT LITERACY AND ADULT NUMERACY TRAINING

triple-e-training-abet-human-capital-chalkboard-time-cost-quality

The knowledge, skills and health that people accumulate throughout their lives is known as human capital. This enables them to realise their full potential in society. Developing human capital will help reduce poverty and create more inclusive societies. This will require investing in people through nutrition, health care, quality education, jobs and skills. Adult basic education and training or “ABET” has an important role to play in equipping people with the basic skills that they need to meaningfully partake in society. It is geared at adults who have not been able to complete their basic education, which includes acquiring essential basic maths and English literacy skills.

Worryingly, the cost of inaction on human capital has increased over the years. As a result, countries are struggling to sustain economic growth. This is because they do not have a workforce with the skills that are needed for sophisticated economies, hindering their ability to compete at a global level. South Africa is one example of a country that continues to experience serious shortages of advanced proficiencies while having an abundance of semi-skilled and unskilled employees. This continues to negatively impact the country’s ability to compete on the global stage.

ADULT BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “ABET”

Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training strengthens workplaces

There are a lot of ways to improve human capital return on investment. Because it is not an exact science and depends on various business objectives, it will vary from one company and industry to the next.

Many of the accredited training provider’s clients keep a skills inventory to assist them in maximising return on investment of human capital. This is a recording of the skills, capabilities and certifications of employees, as well as other developmental information. In this way, companies have a database of resources to better manage workplace training and employee development programmes. It also enables them to sort, arrange and compare employees’ skills with what is required for specific functions.

For more than 30 years, Triple E Training, a leading accredited training provider, has been supplying high quality adult literacy training and adult numeracy training to industry. We are proud of the fact that we have equipped thousands of employees with English literacy and maths skills and that many of these people are progressing in their learning journey as productive members of society. Learn more about Triple E Training and our adult literacy and adult numeracy training programmes. www.eee.co.za.

Changing Lives Together