Converting adult basic education and training or ABET into monetary value

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Enterprising companies measure the return on investment or “ROI” on workplace training. This helps to motivate ongoing workplace training in the boardroom and buy-in from all levels of the organisation to nurture a culture of learning in a company. There are many ways in which to gauge the efficacy of your workplace training programmes.

This includes those workplace training interventions that are geared specifically at low skilled employees who fulfill general but important roles in your business, such as adult basic education and training or “ABET”. These methods used to translate adult basic education and training or “ABET” into a monetary value continue to show that adult literacy training and adult numeracy training improve profitability. This is through gains in productivity, accuracy and efficiency in the workplace.

Industrious companies measure their return on investment or “ROI” of their workplace training programmes on a continuous basis. Companies want to know that their employees who participated in workplace training have gained new knowledge and skills that will enable them to perform their jobs to the best of their ability. This is even more so for low skilled employees who perform general but essential roles in your business. Importantly, companies also want to be able to gauge the cost of their adult literacy training and adult numeracy training to employees. In this way, companies are able to justify their continuous investment in workplace training. Moreover, they are able to accurately compare the value of the services that they receive from their accredited training providers. This is especially important in the adult basic education and training or “ABET” industry which has been saturated by

fly-by-night and unscrupulous operators. Measuring the impact of your adult basic education and training or “ABET” will ensure that you are only dealing with the best accredited training providers.

WORKPLACE TRAINING PROVIDES MANY BENEFITS

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There are many ways in which workplace training benefits companies. They are as follows:

  • Enhances performance of staff: Adult education and training or “AET” equips employees with the absolute basic proficiencies that they need to perform their jobs to the best of their ability. These include English literacy and basic maths skills. Employees who possess English literacy and basic maths skills are functionally

literate. This means that they can deploy their English literacy and numeracy skills inside and outside the world of work.

  • Improves staffs’ understanding of your business: Fluent in English, the formal language of business, employees are more engaged. They are aligned to your vision and motto, while having a sound grasp of standard operating procedure. This includes the importance of safety, health, environment and quality protocol.
  • Minimises high staff turnover: Employees see that their companies are invested in their wellbeing and are, therefore, more loyal. Adult education and training or “AET” provides your low skilled employees who did not have the opportunity to complete their basic education access to English literacy and basic maths skills that they need to sustain their employment and embark on further learning to enhance their employability and develop their careers. English literacy and basic maths are also skills that people need to function optimally in their communities and societies. This means that your investment in adult literacy training and adult numeracy training is having a significant impact on society at large.
  • Enables employees to stay abreast of new developments: Low skilled employees who have completed our adult education and training or “AET” have been primed for further learning. Their basic English literacy and maths skills enable them to understand complex topics that are presented in workplace training that is geared at honing the proficiencies of staff. This enables your employees to keep getting better at their jobs to improve customer satisfaction and your agility to adapt to changing markets and keep abreast of industry trends.
  • Enhances your reputation in the market and industry: Customers and clients see that your company is invested in its staff. By investing in ongoing workplace training, you are portraying a positive message to the market, namely that you value your team. Moreover, happy employees are more motivated and productive which also improves customer satisfaction. By positioning your company as the employer of choice in a particular industry, you will also be able to attract talented individuals who want to keep improving their careers, as well as grow and develop as individuals.

Prepares employees for promotion: Adult education and training or “AET” provides employees who perform mundane jobs the opportunity to develop and possibly accept additional responsibility that will improve their earning potential. This also saves costs involved in recruiting skills externally. Bear in mind the lengthy period it also takes for new staff to adapt to your company’s culture and unique processes. Existing employees have already adapted to their workplace culture and possess a sound understanding of standard operating procedures, as well as the company’s mission and vision.

ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR AET WITH A LARGE IMPACT

English literacy and basic maths training improves profitability

Accredited training providers, such as Triple E Training, supply adult literacy training and adult numeracy training that has a significant positive impact on the bottom line. For more than 30 years, Triple E Training has nurtured longstanding professional relationships with its clients because the accredited training provider’s adult basic education and training or “ABET” yields positive results that can be effectively gauged. Low skilled employees who have completed the accredited training provider’s adult basic education and training or “ABET” are more productive and efficient in the workplace. Moreover, they are able to work accurately and safely, while also having an ability to think logically and critically because they have basic maths skills. Low skilled employees who have completed our adult basic education and training or “ABET” are also able to work more effectively in teams or individually without requiring extensive supervision, saving time and resources that could rather be deployed elsewhere in the business.

Companies that invest in this type of workplace training, therefore, benefit from a reduction in waste of resources and downtime. Low skilled employees are also able to better service your customers and clients because they are able to communicate effectively to convey clear messages that are devoid of confusion. Companies that invest in our workplace training solutions are also able to retain their staff. This saves money and time spent on constantly having to recruit and train new candidates to perform important functions. This is considering that companies that instil a culture of learning within their workplaces have happier and more loyal employees. Employees see for themselves that their managers are invested in their future at the company and general wellbeing inside and outside the workplace.

ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “AET”

BANDNATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FORUM OR “NQF”EQUIVALENT GRADEADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “AET” LEVEL
FURTHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “FET”412 
FURTHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “FET”311 
FURTHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “FET”210 
GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “GET”19
GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “GET”17
GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “GET”15
GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “GET”13

RESULTS DRIVEN ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training for a marked improvement in business performance

To effectively use the results that they obtain from their analysis of the return on investment or “ROI” of workplace training, Triple E Training’s clients are willing to learn, change and try new methods to effectively upskill their staff. Worryingly, there are still many companies that merely train just for the sake of it. This is despite the significant positive impact that quality adult basic education and training or “ABET” from an accredited training provider has on companies’ bottom line, over-above the important contribution that it makes towards broad-based black economic empowerment or “B-BBEE scorecards. While an important means of improving broad-based black economic empowerment or “B-BBEE scorecards, adult basic education and training or “ABET” fulfils a larger role by helping to equip South African citizens with the basic skills that they need to be productive members of society so that they can help grow and develop the economy. In doing so, they are able to improve their circumstances. This is true transformation and should, therefore, be the ultimate measure of the success of any adult literacy training and adult numeracy training.

There are various ways that companies measure their return on investment or “ROI” of workplace training. This includes the traditional formula. It involves subtracting the workplace training costs from the programme benefits. The outcome is then divided by the programme costs to provide an indication of the rand amount returned as a benefit for every

rand spent on adult literacy training and adult numeracy training. This result is then converted to a percentage by multiplying it by 100.

Other companies prefer to determine the payback period of their workplace training. This entails dividing the annual savings achieved from adult literacy training and adult numeracy training – expressed in years – from the total investment. However, this approach is more effective when human resources departments use long-term metrics, for example, an improvement in the retention of staff and a reduction in employees’ healthcare costs.

Calculating annual savings achieved from your investment in adult literacy training and adult numeracy training is more effective as their impacts may only become apparent over the long term.

COST OF WORKPLACE TRAINING PER SECTOR IN SOUTH AFRICA IN 2004

 Total cost – USD ‘000Total cost – ZAR ‘000No. of employees trained – ‘000Training cost per employee – ZAR ‘000Training expenditure as a % of payroll –
Manufacturing31 392261 81312224,13%
Community and social services1 32711 064623,56%
Mining46 202385 32235165,09%
Financial42 905357 82721174,34%
Construction2 68022 3521181,80%
Wholesale and retail17 305144 3262754,23%
State-owned entities20 024167 00013134,95%
Mean23 119192 81515134,01%

MEASURING WORKPLACE TRAINING SUCCESS

Calculating the return of investment of adult literacy training and adult numeracy training

The accredited training provider’s clients also use a return on investment or “ROI” calculator to measure the efficacy of their adult literacy training and adult numeracy training. It is a very effective method of accurately determining the ratio of the total cost of the adult basic education and training or “ABET” programme relative to its total benefits. However, a return on investment or “ROI” calculator is more suited to highly structured roles because the monetary benefits can be isolated more easily for this type of analysis.

An example of structured work are the various roles that employees fulfil in the production line of a factory; in various mining operations; and in agricultural operations. Using relevant metrics, this approach provides managers with an efficient means of comparing the productivity of their employees before and after the adult basic education and training or “ABET” programme.

Meanwhile, some of the accredited training provider’s clients prefer to use supervisor assessments to calculate the return on investment or “ROI” of their adult literacy training and adult numeracy training. This method of scrutinising your investment in adult numeracy training and adult literacy training is particularly suited to flexible and unstructured work. Examples of employees who perform largely unstructured work include, among others, receptionists, personal assistants and drivers. There are also many examples of flexible and unstructured work in services industries, such leisure and hospitality. These employees help to keep an organisation operating by, for example, attending meetings, responding to e-mails, entertaining tourists and delivering items, all of which are roles that are more flexible than structured tasks with established outcomes that can be appraised more easily.

The performance of these employees is closely monitored before and after workplace training by senior managers. Indicators that they may use to assess the efficiency of adult literacy training and adult numeracy training include customer service and teamwork, as well as their staff’s ability to complete tasks of various levels of complexity that involve basic maths and English literacy skills. Percentage improvements for the various indicators are awarded to derive an average productivity improvement score. Using employees’ average annual wage or salary, you will then be able to calculate the equivalent productivity improvement as a result of the adult literacy training and adult numeracy training intervention.

FUNCTIONALLY LITERATE IN ENGLISH

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There is a significant difference between literate and functionally literate employees. Many companies still do not know the difference between basic literacy skills and functional literacy skills. Functionally illiterate employees have limited early reading skills. For example, they may be able to name uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet and know that sounds can be represented with letters. They may also understand that writing flows from left to right and be able to read simple sentences.

However, the level of their English literacy skills is insufficient to cope with the demands of daily life that entail communicating in this language. For instance, functionally illiterate individuals will not be able to read newspapers, medical prescriptions, job advertisements, payment notifications, banking messages, signs and posters, instructions and maps. This is not to mention the more complex type of communication undertaken in a professional working environment.

Becoming functionally literate in English is more complicated than in other languages. This is considering the many ways in which sounds are represented in the language. Take, for example, the sound “OR” in English words. It can be written as “our, “ore”, “oar”, “augh”, “or”, “aw”, “au” and “ar” in various words.

STUDYING THE RESULTS OF YOUR WORKPLACE TRAINING

Adult numeracy training and adult literacy training for improved market share, staff retention and positive customer experience

Another effective way of calculating the return on investment or “ROI” of adult basic education and training or “ABET” is to undertake a workplace training impact study. Effects achieved by adult literacy training and adult numeracy training could include an improvement in market share, staff retention and positive customer feedback.

Impact studies follow a set process, starting with evaluation planning. Data is then collected and analysed, and the outcome of the study reported. This is followed by the prioritisation and implementation of interventions to improve workplace training – if necessary.

Measurables may include the number of adult basic education and training or “ABET” programmes undertaken and the hours spent by employees in adult literacy training and adult numeracy training. This is in addition to the costs of the adult literacy training and adult numeracy training; the time taken to deliver the workplace training; and the number of employees who participated in adult education and training or “AET”. Data is collated during the implementation of the adult literacy training and adult numeracy training. This may include employees’ reaction to the workplace training and whether they were satisfied with the course content and the way in which it was presented. Data collected will also include whether employees believed that they were given the opportunity to enhance their English literacy and numeracy skills to develop their careers and add additional value in the workplace. Many companies use surveys to gather this data.

After employees have completed their adult literacy and numeracy training, data related to the application, implementation and business impact of the training is gathered by managers. Some companies will ask employees who participated in the adult literacy training and adult numeracy training to conduct a self-evaluation. Others may request supervisors to record their observations of the performance of their staff after they have completed adult basic education and training or “ABET”. Some performance parameters may include employees’ use of English literacy and basic maths skills and the completion of actions or tasks that involve these proficiencies. This is in addition to the use of regulation and the success of applications involving English literacy and basic maths skills. Measuring the business impact of the adult literacy training and adult numeracy training will entail collecting relevant financial data that provide an indication of the organisation’s performance. These may include sales, new accounts, market share, churn rates, customer complaints and cycle time.

THE LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR WORKPLACE TRAINING

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The following legislative frameworks manage training and development programmes in South Africa:

  • South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Act (Act 58 of 1995): This Act provides for the development and implementation of a National Qualifications Framework and the South African Qualifications Authority or “SAQA”, in addition to matters connected therewith.
  • Basic Conditions of Employment Act (Act 75 of 1997 as amended Act 11 of 2002): This Act primarily deals with the conditions for employment in South Africa with regards to the relationship between the employee and the employer.
  • The BBBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) Act (Act 53 of 2003): This Act provides the legislative framework for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa.
  • Skills Development Act (Act 97 of 1998 as amended Act 37 of 2008): This Act is geared at improving the skills of workers by promoting education and training in the workplace. It also provides for the establishment of Sector Education and Training Authorities or “SETAs”.

The Skills Development Levies Act (Act 9 of 1999): This framework supports the Skills Development Act. It was established to fund the skills development initiative in South Africa by ensuring that companies also contribute to the development of proficiencies.

ANALYSING WORKPLACE TRAINING SUCCESS

Measuring the return on investment on adult literacy training and adult numeracy training

During the analysis of the data, companies will isolate the effects of the programme, converting the information to monetary value and calculating the return on investment or “ROI” of the adult basic education and training or “ABET”. The programme will include capturing the costs of the adult literacy training and adult numeracy training and identifying intangible measures. This is followed by the generation of an impact study. A common and effective method of evaluating the efficacy of the adult basic education and training or “ABET” is to use the benefits-to-cost ratio. This ratio uses the standard return on investment or “ROI” formula. Costs of the adult basic education and training or “ABET” are subtracted from the programme benefits. The outcome is then divided by the adult literacy training and adult numeracy training costs.

Many companies still use the Phillips return on investment or “ROI” of workplace training model. Published by Jack Phillips in 1980, it entails assessing the efficacy of workplace training in 10 steps and expounds on earlier work undertaken by Don Kirkpatrick into measuring the monetary value of workplace training. The Kirkpatrick model featured four levels of evaluating the efficiency of workplace training. They included reaction, learning, behaviour and impact. To determine the reaction to the adult basic education and training or “ABET”, companies survey the participants and gauge their response.

They will either be satisfied or dissatisfied with the English literacy and maths training that they received. To measure what employees have learnt, companies will conduct a test before and after the adult literacy training and adult numeracy training. Supervisors will then monitor how employees apply their new English literacy and basic maths skills in the workplace. This is as part of a process that is undertaken sometime after the adult basic education and training or “ABET” has been completed. Lastly, companies will gauge whether the organisation’s expectations were met. This is typically referred to as return on expectations or “ROE”.

FINANCIAL RETURN OF ADULT BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “ABET”

Gauging the success of adult education and training or “AET”

However, this model is limited in that it does not specifically measure the return on investment or “ROI” of workplace training. This is why Phillips added a fifth level, which helps businesses tally the actual financial return of their investment or “ROI” of workplace training. The return on investment or “ROI” method measures six types of data. These include reaction and planned action; learning; application and implementation; business impact; return on investment or “ROI”; and intangibles. The fifth level enables companies to use cost-benefit analysis to determine the value of an adult basic education and training or

“ABET” intervention supplied by an accredited training provider. In doing so, companies are better able to determine whether the money that they spent on English literacy and maths training helped improve profitability. The first level entails surveying low skilled employees who participated in the English literacy and maths training to gauge their reaction.

Companies will then measure the learning that was provided by an accredited training provider via a survey, test or quiz. The third level entails studying the behaviour of low skilled employees in the workplace after they have completed their English literacy and basic maths training. Some of the methods used by Triple E Training’s clients to collate data include self-evaluation forms, supervisor assessments and peer observations. The fourth level of the model determines whether other processes were responsible for driving change in outcomes. Examples of factors that can positively or negatively impact company profitability and revenues include changing economic conditions and business landscape. The method isolates the effect of workplace training through forecasting models; trendline analysis; control groups; and error-adjusted estimates. To complete the last cost-benefit analysis step, companies will first choose measurables, such as productivity, efficiency and accuracy. They will then undertake pre- and post-English literacy and maths training measurements. This is followed by the calculation of the benefit of the English literacy and maths training to the company.

Learn more about Triple E Training and our unique approach to workplace training for low skilled employees that is having a large positive impact on business. www.eee.co.za.

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