“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is a catchphrase sometimes evoked when discussing economic inequality. When it comes to skills development world-wide, not only in South Africa, the same is true. Organisations spend their training budgets empowering their already skilled workforce. But education is not about empowering the empowered.
Education is about building basic skills for employees that need it most
How many of your staff understand what is written on their salary slips? How often do you need a translator to make sure your factory workers understand the changes your company are implementing for its pension fund? How much time are you wasting in disciplinary hearings because your employees failed to comply to company policies?
Have you ever considered that, in many of these cases, your work force did not have a clear understanding of the language used? We assume that because someone completed, or partially completed, high school they can read, write, and speak English. We further assume that because someone has a basic education they can understand that 1% of their salary is deducted as a contribution to UIF and that if their salary is R4,000 that amount is R40. And what about trying to explain one day of sick leave for every 26 days worked?
By helping your blue-collar workers build basic skills, like English and Maths, you will not only empower those employees that need it most but also improve productivity within your organisation. Think of how much time your HR manager will save, or how much extra time your workshop supervisor can spend on quality assurance rather than sitting in translation sessions, or disciplinary hearings.
Education addresses inequality
Through educating those employees that need it most you also address inequality in the work place. We all know that management control and employment equity are important elements of the BEE scorecard. But did you know this can be achieved through skills development? Businesses are so obsessed with compliance that they often rush the process and appoint staff from outside the organisation to management positions without considering the long-term career paths of their current employees.
A good example is that of Triple E Training’s own Bernard Mufamadi. Ten years ago, he started working as a security guard at our site through a contracted supplier. He wanted an office job but was illiterate. After completing our foundational learning programme in English and Maths he was given a chance to work in reception. Within one year he advanced to become a data capturer. Today is a senior programme director who is responsible for overseeing the entire training programme for clients, from informing the employees about the upcoming training to allocating the appropriate facilitator to making sure the client receives all the necessary documentation at the end of the training period.
If you want to make a difference by educating those staff who need it most, contact us on 010 597 7611.