Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister, Fikile Majola, says companies must take seriously the role of building staff capacity and formal training.
“The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Commission, when allocating bonus performance points to companies based on training compliance, must interrogate the kind of training that has been administered by each company,” Majola said.
Speaking at the B-BBEE Commission annual conference held under the theme, ‘Skills Development: What is at stake’, Majola said some companies appoint training service providers, sometimes working with SETAs, to do a “box-ticking exercise” at the expense of the people.
“They know exactly that nobody can have upward mobility within a company with those certificates. Some of those certificates are as good as “certificates of attendance”, yet money has been paid to service providers in the name of training workers from that 6% budget of skills training,” Majola said.
On the other hand, the Deputy Minister said there are companies that are not complying with the dictates of the Skills Development Legislation, unintentionally so.
“Most of those entities are small and medium, with less technical capacity to drive training processes and they require handholding’ from other industry players.
“The çommission itself may have to share its own rich experiences from monitoring information it receives from companies to empower those that are struggling.”
Majola said government and companies must avail more bursaries for training and development.
He said from the learning programme matrix, it is evident that more learnerships, apprenticeship and internships are needed.
“No country can experience peace and stability, including low levels of crime, when the economy is jobless. As we are putting in place all the measures as government, working with the private sector to recover the economy [from COVID-19], such an economy will still require skilled individuals,” Majola said.
He expressed concern about graduates who receive internship appointments, train for a year, and companies submit good compliance reports to government and in the end, leave these young people with no progression plan.
“The following year, the company does the same to others. This system is reduced to a temporary job for a year type and then, young people are back to the same unemployment position.”
Majola said an absorption plan and even a referral system to other companies must be established for graduates who have acquired skills and work experience.
The purpose of the B-BBEE conference is to create a dialogue on advancing skills development as one of the priority elements within the B-BBEE Act.
Speakers and panellists at the conference consisted of representatives from diverse areas of training and development, inclusive of organs of State, public entities, the private sector, SETAs, associations and NGOs, amongst others.