Workplace training is key to global competitiveness

triple-e-training-workplace-training-is-key-to-global-competitiveness-success-image

Workplace training is key to global competitiveness

Companies the world over are struggling to keep pace with the high demand for employees with cognitive, socio-emotional, technical and digital skills that are needed to enable them to compete effectively at a global level. South Africa, in particular, is at a severe disadvantage. This is considering the country’s abundance of unskilled and semi-skilled labour and acute shortage of employees who possess critical skills. The situation is negatively impacting this middle-income country’s ability to grow the economy and, in turn, create more jobs for its many unemployed citizens who are predominantly unskilled or semi-skilled.

Workplace training provides a means of equipping employees with the proficiencies that companies need to adapt and survive. Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training is fundamental components of any formal and structured workplace training programme. This is because adult basic education and training or “ABET” provides low skilled employees with access to the basic proficiencies – English literacy and maths skills – that they need to perform at optimal levels.

Labour is struggling to keep pace with major global economic trends, such as the growing role of technology in the production of goods and the provision of services, as well as the globalisation of value chains in an increasingly digitally connected international economy. This is in addition to other significant trends such as the rapid rate of urbanisation and major demographic shifts in most countries of the world. In order to survive in the 21st century, companies require employees with a unique set of skills, including cognitive, socio-emotional, technical and digital.

The extent to which countries are struggling to develop these proficiencies is evidenced by the many global citizens that are of a working age who do not even have basic literacy and numeracy skills. It is estimated that as much as 18% of the worldwide population is illiterate or semi-illiterate. This means that they are unable to read and write; nor do they possess basic numbers skills. Worryingly, the vast majority of these global citizens reside in sub-Saharan Africa. In the region, more than one in three adults cannot read and write and they do not have basic numbers skills.

Meanwhile, 22% of very young children in sub-Saharan Africa are not in school and 48-million people between the ages of 15 and 24 do not possess basic literacy and basic numbers skills. Meanwhile, 182-million adults are unable to read and write. They also do not have basic numbers skills.

The world’s literacy rate expressed by percentage of the population between 1980 and 2020. This portion of the world population lacks the practical skill set needed to read and write and do maths for real-life purposes. These individuals’ lack of basic literacy and maths skills means that they will also not be able to perform at optimal levels in the workplace.

YearPercentage
198068,317
198569,381
199071,376
199571,962
200076,172
200576,996
201076,996
201582,817
202084,284
[Source:] World Bank

Adult literacy rate in sub-Saharan Africa between 2000 and 2019 by gender expressed in percentages. This portion of sub-Saharan Africa’s population lacks the practical skill set that is needed to read and write and do maths for real-life purposes. These individuals’ lack of basic literacy and maths skills means that they will also not be able to perform at optimal levels in the workplace.

YearMaleFemale
200065,746,8
200166,547,8
200267,547,9
200367,647,9
200469,549,9
200568,249,2
200668,351,6
200748,566,4
200866,348,8
200967,149,5
201067,550,3
201168,752,2
201269,753,5
201370,454,5
201470,955,3
201571,256,2
201671,657,1
201771,657,6
20187258,3
201972,258,9
[Source:] Statistics South Africa

South Africans need adult literacy training and adult numeracy training.

triple-e-training-workplace-training-is-key-to-global-competitiveness-youth-looking-into-the-distance

South Africa, in particular, faces an enormous challenge in terms of developing a large pool of specialist skills that it needs to compete at a global level. South Africa has a surplus of low skilled employees despite the country’s capital-orientated investment path. As a middle-income economy, South Africa must increase productivity, while also creating more jobs for the many unskilled and low-skilled citizens of the country. This is a complex conundrum. Our over-reliance on low skilled employees has hampered our ability to compete effectively at a global level.

Worryingly, South Africa currently has the lowest productivity growth rate among all emerging economies in the world. Meanwhile, high unemployment and over-reliance on low skilled employees is fuelling rising inequality which is currently the highest of all countries. Many citizens of the country, especially young adults and women are jobless. Meanwhile, low skilled employees earn a minimum wage that barely covers the soaring cost of living. Their livelihoods are also constantly being threatened by the rapid rate at which the economy is changing by becoming increasingly reliant on sophisticated skills.

It is, therefore, critical that both the private and public sectors heighten their focus on workplace training and skills development. This is to build the proficiencies that are needed to contribute to structural transformation and economic growth by improving employability and labour productivity, as well as helping the country to become more competitive. Moreover, an investment into a high-quality workforce will create a virtuous cycle where relevant and excellent skills facilitate productivity and foreign direct investment.

This will create more jobs of a higher quality for the country’s existing workforce, as well as attract further public and private investment into education and training. In turn, this is expected to also improve the employability and productivity of both current and future members of the workforce. 

THE BENEFITS OF IMPROVED LITERACY AND NUMERACY THROUGH QUALITY ADULT EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “AET”

Improved literacy and numeracy skills provide many benefits. The many advantages of adult basic education and training or “ABET” are as follows:

  • Adult education and training or “AET” contributes to economic growth,
  • Adult education and training or “AET” reduces poverty,
  • Adult education and training or “AET” reduces crime,
  • Adult education and training or “AET” promotes democracy,
  • Adult education and training or “AET” increases civic engagement,
  • Adult education and training or “AET” prevents the spread of HIV/Aids and other diseases,
  • Adult education and training or “AET” enhances cultural diversity,
  • Adult education and training or “AET” leads to lower birth rates,
  • Adult education and training or “AET” confers personal benefits, such as increased self-esteem, confidence and empowerment.

It is for these reasons that policymakers continue to prioritise adult literacy training and adult numeracy training. Adult basic education and training or “ABET” remains an important means of upgrading the skills of low skilled employees and equipping unemployed South Africans who did not have the opportunity to complete their schooling with the basic proficiencies that they need to meaningfully partake in the economy. The private sector remains an important driver of adult literacy training and adult numeracy training.

Its adult basic education and training or “ABET” programmes are either targeted at low skilled employees or unemployed members of poor communities as part of corporate social investment initiatives. Considering the impact that adult basic education and training or “ABET” has on the lives of South Africans, this type of adult literacy training and adult numeracy training makes a significant contribution to company’s broad-based black economic empowerment or “B-BBEE” scorecards.

Workplace training – Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training a first step in the lifelong learning journey.

Adult basic education and training or “ABET” is a fundamental first step towards raising the proficiencies of the many low skilled employees in the country.

Firstly, adult basic education and training or “ABET” equips people with foundational literacy and numeracy skills. These are cognitive skills that enable people to understand complex ideas; adapt effectively to environments; learn from experience; and reason in the workplace. Other cognitive skills include creativity and problem solving, both of which are enabled through literacy and numeracy training.

Ample evidence has demonstrated that workplace literacy training and numeracy training programmes strengthen the bottom line by enhancing business in a myriad of ways.

Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training improve low skilled employees’ abilities to cope with on-the-job training as they have proficiencies that enable them to work with oral and written training content and, thus, grasp new concepts. This, in turn, accelerates the up skilling process that permits companies to remain competitive in ever changing markets. Enterprising companies try to instil a culture of lifelong learning in the workplace so that their employees can continue to develop their careers and grow as individuals.

Workplace literacy training and numeracy training also facilitate teamwork. This is because English literacy and numeracy skills enable employees to communicate efficiently with co-workers, as well as with their supervisors and managers. Employees with improved literacy and numeracy skills understand many areas of the organisation other than their own and have the confidence that they need to enter into constructive dialogue with team members. This spirit of collaboration and comradery is already established during workplace training when colleagues learn together in a classroom environment. It is then carried over from adult literacy training and adult numeracy training sessions to various company operations.

Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training also enable improved labour-management relations. In fact, many companies use their workplace training programmes, including instruction in English literacy and basic maths, to demonstrate their commitment to the wellbeing of their employees. This, in turn, garners loyalty and other positive traits that employees value from employees.

A WEAK EDUCATION SYSTEM THWARTS GROWTH

triple-e-training-workplace-training-is-key-to-global-competitiveness-empty-classroom

South Africa continues to score extremely poor in all the measures of education achievement. In the ranking table of education systems developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development or “OECD” in 2015, we graded 75th out of 76 countries. In the 2017 and 2018 Global Competitiveness Report that is compiled by the World Economic Forum or “WEF”, we ranked 114th out of 137 countries that participated.

Our learners also perform poorly in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study or “TIMSS” and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study or “PIRLS”. These studies help to measure the effectiveness of maths and science instruction in countries, considering the importance of these subjects.

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum has identified the lack of a skilled workforce as the third-most problematic factor for doing business in South Africa. This motivates ongoing investment into adult basic education and training or “ABET”.

Workplace training improves output and quality of goods and services 

ENGLISH LITERACY AND BASIC NUMBERS SKILLS

Literacy training also improves the quality of goods produced and services provided by companies. Low skilled employees who possess basic literacy and numeracy skills are confident in their ability to communicate and are, therefore, more engaged and participative in the workplace, applying their knowledge to the benefit of their employees. They are also willing to provide constructive feedback to their employers to help improve production of goods and the provision of services.

Literacy and maths skills also help employees finalise tasks faster. This includes processing written information, such as manuals, and completing paperwork. When employees have basic literacy and basic numeracy skills, they also assume ownership of their duties and become more active thinkers. This helps to maintain optimal production levels in the workplace. As they are good communicators, employees with sound literacy and numeracy skills are able to collaborate well with others to get the job done by deadline.

Literacy and numeracy skills also increase output. This is because employees who have completed adult literacy training and adult numeracy training become more confident decision makers and spend less time relying on other team members, as well as supervisors and management for assistance. Instead, work time is spent being productive and creative to the benefit of employers. 

Overwhelming evidence has also demonstrated that employees who have completed adult literacy training and adult numeracy training are safer workers. This is because they understand occupational health and safety directives in the workplace. Their foundational literacy and maths skills enable them to learn easily and adapt to change that is geared at making workplaces safer environments for all employees. Moreover, because employees who have basic literacy and numeracy skills are good listeners and communicators, they will be willing to share insights on how to further improve health and safety protocol in the workplace.

WORKPLACE TRAINING HELPS REDUCE COSTS

Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training improve productivity

triple-e-training-workplace-training-is-key-to-global-competitiveness-industrial-worker

Companies that continue to invest in adult literacy training and adult numeracy training also report less wastage in the workplace. Bear in mind that employees with Basic English literacy and numeracy skills are more engaged. They, therefore, have a greater sense of the organisation and are more likely to offer suggestions on how to reduce costs. They also have a better understanding of how their individual actions impact the bottom line. 

Moreover, workplace training, including instruction in Basic English literacy and basic numeracy, helps employers retain their talent. Employees are less likely to leave when their employers create an environment in which they are able to develop and grow, and where they feel valued. Adult literacy training and adult numeracy training are the first step that low skilled employees will take in their learning journey that enables them to achieve their personal goals and keep pace of changing workplaces. The ultimate of objective of adult basic education and training or “ABET” is to instil a passion for learning among participants.

A sound investment into adult literacy training and adult numeracy training also improves profitability. This is because employees with sound literacy and numeracy skills are more informed and are, thus, better decision makers and able to use their time efficiently. They also understand company goals; their implications; and how they are able to achieve them. Employees who have basic literacy and numeracy skills are also more aligned to a company’s ethos, motto and vision.

In this way, workplace training, including instruction in Basic English literacy and maths, also helps retain customers. Employees in the frontline and those who engage with customers and clients on a regular basis, in particular, need to be literate and possess basic maths skills. This will avoid misunderstandings and errors that may cost business.

English literacy training and maths instruction also help reduce absenteeism. This is because employees who have basic literacy and numbers skills understand how their actions will impact the bottom line. 

A solid investment into English literacy training and maths training also helps with transferring employees to new positions. This is considering that employees with sound English literacy and maths skills move up the learning curve into new positions more swiftly than those workers who do not have these proficiencies. These workplace training programmes, including instruction in English literacy and maths, also enable companies to identify potential talent that can be groomed and coached to assume positions that come with more responsibility.

NUMERACY AND LITERACY FUNDAMENTAL SKILLS

English literacy and basic numbers skills complement other important proficiencies

These cognitive skills are complemented by socio-emotional proficiencies. This is an ability to navigate interpersonal and social situations effectively. They also include leadership, teamwork, self-control and determination.

Certainly, companies also rely heavily on technical skills. These comprise the acquired knowledge, expertise and interactions that employees need to perform their duties, including the mastery of required materials, tools, or technologies. More advanced adult literacy and adult numeracy training, such as Foundational Learning Competence or “FLC”, are designed to help employees succeed in technical vocational training.

The English literacy component of Foundational Learning Competence or “FLC” comprises writing, speaking and listening, visual literacy, language structure and use, study skills and workplace terminology. Meanwhile, the maths component of Foundational Learning Competence or “FLC” focuses on numbers and quantity, finance, data and chance, measurement, space and shape, as well as patterns and relationships. Foundational Learning Competence or “FLC” is considered by many enterprising companies as the next phase after adult basic education and training or “ABET”. This is considering that it refines low skilled employees’ existing English literacy and basic maths skills.

Companies also need employees who are digitally literate. Digital skills are cross-cutting and draw on cognitive skills, including basic English literacy and basic numeracy, and those that are technical in nature to enable people to access, manage, understand, integrate, communicate, evaluate and create information safely and appropriately.

QUALITY ADULT BASIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING OR “ABET”

Industry’s accredited training provider for more than 30 years

Triple E Training, an accredited training provider, has more than 30 years of experience providing state-of-the-art adult literacy training and adult numeracy training to industry. The accredited training provider’s training offering includes both adult basic education and training or “ABET” and foundational learning competence or “FLC”.

Over the years, this leading accredited training provider has equipped thousands of low skilled employees with English literacy and basic numbers skills to help companies improve their competitive edge. We leverage our large national footprint, including skilled and experienced training facilitators, as well as infrastructure, to service industries located in the most remote areas of the country.

Learn more about this accredited training provider, as well as its quality adult basic education and training or “ABET” and foundational learning competence or “FLC”. www.eee.co.za

Changing Lives Together