Implementing Learnerships

By Stefan Lauber

Companies often ask where they can find learners.

There are numerous options.

A company may choose from the many applications that they receive over time. The unemployment problem in South Africa ensures that you will always find desperate job seekers handing in their CVs.

A company may also work through a recruitment agency or they may partner with schools or non-profit organisations, particularly if they are looking for disabled learners. An approach that works well is for companies to ask their employees for referrals. Your staff members know your company’s culture and would not like to embarrass themselves by introducing wrong candidates to you. Showing how your company makes an effort to reduce unemployment through learnerships can also greatly increase employee engagement. When screening the applicants, the old adage, “recruit for attitude and train for skills” is still correct. But make sure that you define first what can be trained and what cannot.

However, Learnerships are not only for the unemployed. Companies can enrol their staff on a national qualification recognised by SAQA, and research has shown that skilled staff members perform better. Numerous surveys have also shown that millennials are looking for growth on the job when choosing their employers. To retain their staff, organisations need to communicate clearly how their career paths match with ladders of learning and increased earning power. Developing staff also builds leadership, which in turns helps again with attrition. As the saying goes, an employee leaves a bad manager, not a company.

An organisation that is properly implementing a learnership will attract many benefits. The workshop clearly showed how companies could develop their own talent pipeline, while reducing costs and contributing to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment. Companies not yet aware of the new BB-BEE codes will have to acquaint themselves with them because they are already in effect.