Triple E Training partners with enterprising companies to raise proficiency levels of South Africa’s workforce

Competitive companies are reliant upon a productive workforce which, at the most basic level, can read, write and master simple technological skills. Their employees possess cognitive and noncognitive, as well as specific skills to perform at optimal levels in their respective roles.

Sound cognitive skills, such as basic numeracy and basic literacy, noncognitive skills, including teamwork, language and communication, in addition to job specific capabilities are acquired through experience, as well as continuous education and training.

Since 1991, leading South African companies have partnered with Triple E Training to provide quality ABET programmes, which include basic numeracy and basic literacy skills. These training interventions have assisted large, medium and small businesses significantly to reduce operating costs and improve efficiencies.

Designed for on the job development, Triple E Training’s workplace education and training programmes are also undertaken at the clients’ premises. This includes those in very remote locations where experienced training facilitators also travel regularly to instruct individuals who want to improve their circumstances by completing their basic education.

a Sound Investment

Marinda Clack of Triple E Training says that clients continue to reap the benefits of their investment into Triple E Training’s quality ABET in the workplace.

“Their employees understand clear instructions and orders, and are, therefore, able to implement them correctly the first time around, reducing errors and the need to redo work. A case in point is stocktaking where mistakes due to innumeracy can lead to costly recounts and wasted time. ABET empowered learners who can read, write, communicate and count are also more confident when communicating with their colleagues and managers. Moreover, they are often able to function efficiently with limited supervision, relieving management capacity that could be better deployed in other areas of the business,” Clack says.

Responsible companies are also aware of the positive impacts of training on the larger economy. Among others, they include an improved absorption rate of workers and an increase in the quantity and quality of goods and services that are produced and offered by companies.

Building a robust skills pipeline as a priority will also raise South Africa’s ability to compete at a global level, especially at a time when international economies are undergoing a Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The need for companies to upskill their employees has now become even more relevant. Many people in conventional jobs will have to develop existing or acquire completely new skills to secure employment in this new era that is defined by advanced interconnected technologies, with sophisticated information and communications systems as the backbone.

Processing information and solving problems

The demand for Triple E Training’s quality AET remains high in a country where basic education, including literacy skills and numeracy skills, are significantly lower than others.

Only 20% of South Africans are in possession of a tertiary qualification, 31% have completed secondary education and about 50% of South Africans have not matriculated.

Among other challenges, poor skills place an enormous burden on the local economy. Low literacy, including the inability to read well, process information and solve problems, alone, costs the country more than R400 billion every year. This is according to a study that was undertaken in 2010, while some experts believe that a fully literate population would enable South Africa to grow its Gross Domestic Product by up to 30%.

“There are many more benefits of a literate population, in addition to the significant contribution that it makes towards economic prosperity and help to eradicate poverty and unemployment. Literate people usually lead better and healthier lifestyles.There is a wealth of research availablethat has demonstrated the positive correlation between adult literacy and lower infant mortality rates. This is considering that literate parents are more likely to seek medical assistance for their families when necessary and accept preventative health measures, such as immunisation. In some developing nations, literacy programmes have also positively shifted attitudes around family planning,” Clack says.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has also highlighted the importance of being able to read with understanding. People who are unable to read and comprehend the wealth of information that is available on the global pandemic will not be able to adequately protect themselves or play a meaningful role in helping to contain the spread of the virus.

Notably, adult literacy programmes have also played an integral role in breaking cycles of illiteracy in families. This is considering that literate parents, especially women, are better equipped to assist their children with their schooling.

South Africa’s adult literacy rate

[Source:] Knoema

State of literacy in South Africa

Youth literacy rate99%
Youth illiteracy111 600
Youth female illiteracy34,3%
Adult illiteracy2 168 862
Adult female illiteracy60,2%
Elderly literacy rate72,1%
Elderly illiteracy772 916
Elderly female illiteracy74,7%
[Source:] Knoema

Essential building blocks

The teaching of mathematics in the country’s schools, which is said to be among the worst in the world, remains a concern for “captains of industry” and public policymakers.

According to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), South African learners are the lowest performers among the 21 middle-income countries that participated in the study.

The extent of the challenge that lies ahead for both the public and private sectors is also highlighted by another report that was undertaken by the CDE into the quality of teaching of mathematics in the country.It found significant increases in the enrolment of extra mathematics classes which, the study notes, is partly in response to poor teaching in the country’s public schools.

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum’s 2016/2017 Global Competitiveness Report ranked South Africa as low as 138th in the world for the quality of its mathematics education.

“Innumeracy remains a significant disadvantage as adults use mathematic in every aspect of their lives, and the need for a sufficient level of numeracy increases as we become older,” Clack says.“The extensive studies undertaken into the field have demonstrated that there is a high correlation between poor numeracy skills and unemployment, productivity and even physical health. For example, a report compiled on behalf of Pro Bono Economics in 2014 showed that the average cost to individuals with poor numeracy was more than R9000 a year.”

TIMSS 2011 mathematics score

Russian Federation+520
The Republic of Macedonia+400
Islamic Republic of Iran+400
Palestinian National Authority+400
Botswana (Gr 9)400
Syrian Arab Republic+360
South Africa (Gr 9)+320
Honduras (Gr 9)+320
Ghana (Gr 9)+320
[Source:] CDE

2012 Grade 9 mathematics scores by percentage range

RangePercentage of scores
Less than 30%91,9
30% to 39%3,8
40% to 49%2,1
50% to 59%1,1
60% to 69%0,6
70% to 79%0,3
80% and more0,2
[Source:] CDE

Revealing assessments

The dismal state of education in the country is further evidenced by the outcome of the many assessments of candidates that Triple E Training undertakes on behalf of its clients.

Just 21% of all people who claim to have completed Grade 12 are deemed competent on an English Literacy and Numeracy rated AET Level 4 by the company.

This qualification is registered at Level 1 of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and is equivalent to Grade 9. A further three levels of study are, thus, required from AET 4 (NQF 2 – 4).

Triple E Training has helped many adults to achieve an NQF Level 4 qualification by completing Foundational Learning Competence (FLC).

A happy worker is a productive worker

Notably, ABET in the workplace is also a very important means of keeping staff motivated.

Companies that build a culture of learning have happier employees and are, therefore, better able to retain their talent and secure their ongoing investment into training. 

“Workers who acquire new skills usually want to learn more to improve their circumstances. In many instances, we are dealing with people who are simply ashamed to raise their failure to understand or grasp situations. They do not want to be judged or seem incompetent, despite this not being the case. The most intelligent person will not be able to perform basic tasks without a basic education, which ABET will help solve. We look forward to assisting you with your AET requirements,” Clack concludes.

Changing Lives Together