Training From The Inside Out

The starting point for most corporate training is the need of the organization, which beyond any doubt is important. But ultimately, transformation is about winning over the hearts of each and every individual.

At i-Fundi, we start with the personal and progress to the professional. We help our learners discover how they hold the key to achieve their personal dreams. We not only discuss what to expect from the work, but show how they can link their personal aspirations with the goals of their employer.


Training  from the inside out


Employees work as members of teams. This requires that each person knows how to effectively interact and lead others with the necessary emotional intelligence. Our curricula, be it on the entry level, team leader, supervisory, or management level stress the development of interpersonal skills.

Our training also helps participants to understand their organization and business as a set of interconnected IIIIbn systems and processes, which are embedded in national and international contexts that influences a company strategy.


The difference between the legacy qualifications curriculum and the QCTO curriculum format

Written by: Hannes Nel

After approximately eight years in which the QCTO made some progress towards the development and registration of new occupational qualifications, stakeholders are beginning to wonder if the new curriculum model will ever replace the old (legacy) one and, more importantly, if it would be an improvement. We currently have the situation where legacy curriculums as well as QCTO model curriculums are registered on the NQF. It is not clear when all legacy qualifications will be removed from the NQF. However, it would be a sorry day if such curriculums are scrapped without being replaced by new and, hopefully, better ones.

The following are some of the most important differences between the QCTO curriculum structure and the legacy qualification curriculum format:

  1. Legacy qualifications are composed of a number of separate unit standards, each catering for the achievement of practical competencies (outcomes) theoretical knowledge (essential embedded knowledge) and critical cross-field outcomes.

QCTO qualifications split the legacy unit standards into three separate unit standards per unit of learning (module or subject), one providing for knowledge, one for practical skills and one for work experience.

  1. Each legacy unit standard has its own NQF level and number of credits. They can be offered as separate learning programmes or combined with other related unit standards to form a “bigger” learning programme. Credits for each unit standard can be read into the NLRD. At least some SETA Learner record databases allow this, but it is not clear if the credits are still transferred to the NLRD.

QCTO units of learning and unit standards cannot stand alone and no credits are allocated to them separately. Credits are allocated for the whole qualification. No credits can, therefore, be read into the NLRD for separate units of learning or unit standards, with the result that it would probably not make sense offering them as separate learning programmes either.

  1. Legacy qualifications are not compared internationally, although this should be done during the design process.

QCTO qualifications are compared internationally to ensure that South African qualifications are on par with international requirements and trends.

  1. Legacy qualifications and unit standards were initially designed by Standards Generating Bodies (SGBs). This process, however, was watered down considerably to working groups, probably because SGBs often did not function properly for various reasons.

QCTO qualifications are designed under supervision of a registered Development Quality Partner (DQP). This procedure is already questioned, probably because of the inability of some DQPs to perform and manage.

  1. Legacy qualifications and unit standards specify who can benefit from the qualification or unit standard in general terms, referring to job titles.

QCTO qualifications (not units of learning or unit standards) are specific in terms of the occupational profile of those who should benefit from the qualification, even specifying the OFO codes, occupational purpose, tasks and context. The occupational description that needs to be specified is so elaborate that it could well be a job profile or duty sheet.

  1. Although legacy qualifications and unit standards as well as QCTO qualifications require workplace experience, the QCTO qualifications are much more specific in this respect.

The writing of occupational curriculums is taking longer than initially anticipated, leading to discontent amongst stakeholders and rendering the process inefficient. The reason for the process being extremely time-consuming is, unfortunately, not because of thorough work but rather because of long periods of inactivity between meetings, different stakeholders joining the process at different times thereby often disrupting the smooth flow of the development process and some unnecessary bureaucratic procedures which adds no value to the process.

There are two rather important deficiencies in the current occupational curriculum format namely that too much duplication takes place and it would be difficult to compare it with HE and TVET curriculums for determining equivalence. Determining equivalence is necessary in order to achieve articulation of the three NQF sub-frameworks and articulation is necessary for opening pathways between different NQF sub-frameworks.

Already, however, some of the new curriculums are not structured in accordance with the QCTO format. Registration number 15952: Higher Certificate: Early Childhood Development, is an example of such a curriculum. One can probably argue that it is a Higher Education qualification and that it, therefore, need not follow the QCTO format. However, the Quality Assuring Body is given as the QCTO.

I intentionally did not discuss differences between the old ETQAs and the current DQPs because there are no substantive differences. The QCTO largely delegated the quality assurance function to what used to be ETQAs and now they are called DQPs.

Article sourced: Skills Universe 


Workforce Management

Workforce Management

i-Fundi hosted Community of Expert events in September 2013 addressing the issue of Workforce Management in the Contact Centre Industry.

These workshops were attended by participants eager  to learn more about Graham Mcleod’s insights into Workforce Management. It is common to think of Workforce Management solely as a tool to cut costs by ensuring that the Contact Centre has the correct number of agents on the floor at all times – too many agents and cost overruns occur, too few agents and service levels drop. However, Graham was there to broaden this narrow understanding of Workforce Management.

Graham has been in the customer service sector for over 22 years. Over the years, he has been instrumental in setting up almost 130 Contact Centres in a variety of industries. With a strong technical background, Graham’s focus is always to find the edge in business by intelligently implementing the latest technologies and processes.
Stefan Lauber opened the event and highlighted that Contact Centre’s in South Africa have come a long way over the last two decades. In the past, the Contact Centre workforce was ridiculed as a ‘Girl Friday Industry’. Today we realise that the Contact Centre workforce can, and should be, pro-actively developed with the advantage of enjoying a stimulating career in a complex environment.
Graham highlighted, by way of an introduction, that Workforce Managment has very little to do with technology or staff scheduling. Workforce Management is so much more, it is about handling the complexity of utilising the right staff at the right time in a way that boosts productivity and income, and not just cut costs. In other words, in order to remain competitive in today’s economic climate Contact Centres must move their primary focus away from saving costs to becoming revenue contributors. Traditionally, Workforce Management is only seen as a tool to reduce cost and staff, as 60 to 70 percent of contact centre costs is related to staff. However, in order to change the focus of Workforce Management requires the contact centre manager to report to the CEO. It was interesting to note that none of the attendees reported to their CEO’s and the majority were at least five layers down in the reporting line.
The time is now for Contact Centre managers to change mind-set and reassess goals because staff efficiency is just not good enough anymore. They must concentrate on contact centre agent profitability. In other words, don’t match volumes to people; rather match skills to needs.  Therefore ask the question whether current activities in Contact Centre’s support business goals.
“Traditional Workforce Management,” Graham said, “focused on keeping agents at their desks. However, what is now suggested is to introduce a 10-minute break every hour. In other words work for 50 minutes then break for 10 minutes.” This will, according to Graham, result in more productivity throughout the day and ultimately more revenue for the business. Simply put, mature contact centres allow for Flexible Schedules. The modern contact centre should deal with staff churn effectively by providing a career path and not just a job. People need a future and an informed contact centre manager will focus on that rather than schedules. On the question of KPI formulation, Graham was very clear “KPI’s should be individualised and not generic as per the job function.”
Most managers view Workforce Management as a technology tool only but Graham pointed out that Workforce Management has various aspects to consider. A workforce management tool would only be effective once the contact centre was prepared to consider the points discussed. Graham offered the following useful guidelines on what to look for when selecting Workforce Management Software:
  • Can you create workflows?
  • Can mundane tasks be automated?
  • Can people at various levels access the software i.e. agents choosing their own shifts etc.?
  • Is it possible to gain a holistic view of the business and then work down to the detail?
  • Can the software integrate with other critical business systems?
  • Can the functionality be extended into the rest of the business?
“Workforce management, and not Excel or an application” Graham concluded, “plays a role in every aspect of the contact centre. Ultimately that is what will make a difference in your business.”
iFundi’s Community of Experts Series has been welcomed by the public as an innovative tool for both educating and networking, while addressing topics of common interests to the practitioners of various professional communities. These events expose the participants to new ideas as presented by a guest speaker and allow a forum for the participants to share their experiences. Interested parties can contact Stefan Lauber or his team, regarding the October event, which will focus on Coaching and Training. Phone: +27 11 290 5900.

Tap into skills development training

While many South Africans earnestly predict an imminent end to the global recession that also took its toll on this country at the tip of the African continent, some people are taking a more pragmatic approach. Some businesses are doing better than others; some are closing their doors, and still others are looking for new ways to reinvent themselves in the hope of surviving the ongoing economic crisis.

But, it’s not all doom and gloom. The good news is that, even in a recession, people with the potential to be good communicators have a chance at creating a new or unexpected career path through opportunities that exist in skills development training.

Training companies in South Africa are reaping the benefits of the corporate response to government incentives for broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE). Those that buy in to skills development training with a view to working with government or parastatals, in particular, will consequently up their BBBEE scorecard and receive accreditation according to the Preferential Procurement Act.

Skills development contributes 15 per cent to the BBBEE scorecard, so the focus is now on upskilling employees with or without experience in a department earmarked for growth. Interestingly, employers are taking the time to develop their own staff in order to improve service levels and create a better long-term customer relationship. This is particularly evident in companies that rely on in-house call centres to manage general enquiries, complaints, orders and accounts-related issues, to name a few.

A recent survey conducted within the local call centre industry showed that 90 percent of companies recruit staff with no prior experience while over half of them run learnerships for new and experienced staff, 87 percent of which are successful.

This is partly due to Recognition of Prior Learning. Employees are motivated to study when presented with the opportunity to further their careers and earn better salaries, following an assessment of their current abilities and work experience, regardless of previous educational qualifications or lack thereof.

The prospect of gaining a formal qualification through financed study programmes is all-important for these employees. It’s a win-win situation.