Answering The Age-old Question…

The deadline for submitting your organisation’s workplace skills plan and annual training report is fast approaching and if you have not yet planned the implementation of skills development interventions for 2021/22, you should make a start soon as April 30th is D-Day.

But is it REALLY necessary to plan for and implement formal accredited training?

This is the question that we are asked most during our conversations with business owners and decision-makers in the Clothing and Textile Manufacturing Sector.

Arguments against implementing formal accredited training often include:

  • We’ve been in business for years and our employees know all there is to know.
  • We do our own on-the-job training according to our needs and we don’t need accreditation or certification of our programmes.
  • We can’t afford to release our employees to attend training as it will impact on production.
  •  We don’t want to train our employees as they will seek alternative employment.

Taking into consideration the emergence of “Fast Fashion” and rapid developments in manufacturing technology demanding an evolving skill set, the Clothing and Textile Manufacturing sector is constantly required to acquire new machinery, implement new production processes, and carry out new operations to meet the market demand. As a result, employees at all levels of the organisation should be continuously developed and skilled to not only meet the current production demands but to prepare the organisation to meet future demands.

On-the-job training or learning by “sitting next to Nellie” has been implemented for many years and while this can work, it also allows for flaws in execution of operations and weak production processes to be copied. Employees that are under pressure to meet production targets or who are about to retire, may not be 100% focused on teaching newcomers or fellow employees. In addition, employees might feel threatened by the competition when asked to transfer their skills to other employees. This could lead to the inadequate transfer of skills which in turn could lead to a decline in the quality of the products manufactured or a decrease in the productivity rate in the long run.

Many organisations view formal training as a waste of time and negatively impacting on production as employees must attend training off-site or spend time in the training room. However, many successful companies have greatly benefitted from the implementation of continuous training and development initiatives as their employees became more innovative and productive and achieved more.

Not training your employees out of fear that they might leave for “greener pastures” makes no business sense as the organisation in the long run will lag behind and fail to be competitive in the global manufacturing arena.

In the words of Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company: “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”

Training of employees at all levels of the organisation is essential for the continued growth and development of any business. Without acquiring new skills and applying new ideas, processes and procedures to increase your organisation’s competitiveness, you’ll be like 90% of businesses over a 10-year period and be out of business.  And that is the reality.

So how does one go about implementing workplace skills planning successfully?

  1. Identify skills needs and develop a formal training plan for each employee in line with your company goals.
  2. Identify learning programmes that will address the identified skills needs.
  3. Appoint an accredited training provider that can deliver credible and credit-bearing programmes, recognised by the relevant SETAs and or Professional Bodies.
  4. Implement the training and ensure employees attend the programme. Inform all relevant parties including Supervisors and Managers that employees will be attending training and ensure that the learners are released during the scheduled times.
  5. Give recognition to learners for completing learning programmes successfully and arrange for learners to give feedback to the organisation after the training has been completed as others may learn things they can apply in their jobs.
  6. Ensure knowledge and skills learned are applied when learners have completed their learning programmes i.e. support efforts by learners to use the training in the workplace e.g. through structured work experience or by reviewing their key performance areas.
  7. Re-train employees at regular intervals as skills are improved by repetition and through practise.
  8. Give qualified and well-trained employees the opportunity to use their skills to train fellow employees. 

So, is it REALLY necessary to plan for and implement formal accredited training?

Let me ask you this:

  • Do you value your employees?
  • Do you want your business to grow and increase its competitive edge?
  • Do you want to increase the quality of your products and services?
  • Do you want to increase the overall productivity and cost-effectiveness of your business?
  • Do you want to decrease the rejection rate and wastage?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then the ultimate answer to our opening question is YES, YES, YES!

Thandeka Vocational Education Trust (Pty) Ltd is an accredited skills development provider specialising in the provision of recognised and relevant education and training to the Clothing and Textile Industries. Thandeka Vocational Education Trust (Pty) Ltd offers learnerships, skills programmes as well as industry-aligned short courses. We have also recently introduced a Team Leader programme available via an E-learning platform.

Thandeka Vocational Education Trust (Pty) Ltd employs qualified and experienced theory and practical facilitators as well as qualified teachers to ensure that education and training of the highest quality are provided at our training facilities in Maitland as well as at our client sites.

The success of Thandeka Vocational Education Trust (Pty) Ltd’s learning programme implementation strategy is due to the strength of the partnerships established with the FP&M SETA, our client sites and industry organisations.

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