Since the inception of learnerships, some companies have had great success with their implementation, while others have not. Dr. Lydia Cillie-Schmidt lists the main ingredients for successful learnership implementation.
by Dr. Lydia Cillie-Schmidt
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. Lydia Cillie-Schmidt is an Industrial Psychologist who focusses on the use of Narrative Technique in Management Development. She has worked at Vodacom for 11 years and for the past 7 years she has been the Head of Human Resources Development. Lydia runs the consultancy The Talent Hub, which focuses on the design and implementation of talent management processes and systems, including acquisition, deployment, development and engagement. Lydia can be contacted at email@example.com
Some companies have reaped many rewards from implementing learnerships: a greater pool of employable skilled people, increased productivity, greater competence and workforce capacity, and additional learners in their systems. Yet there are other companies which have implemented learnerships at great cost and have not reaped the same rewards. What makes the difference? Experience has shown that there are a few main ingredients that should be present when implementing a learnership (there are many other ingredients but this is not an exhaustive list). The recipe for success will also vary from company to company. These are however some of the most important aspects to take into consideration when embarking on a learnership programme.
Ingredient 1: Linking learnership to business needs It is recommended that you determine what types of competencies the business needs, and then focus on addressing these gaps through the learnership implementation. One method is to do an annual needs-analysis where line management indicates what types of learners are needed. They also indicate the number of learners that they would like to deploy in their business. This is to ensure that learners will be used to perform real jobs that are related to the formal qualification that they will study as part of the learnership. The aim is to entrench learnerships in the business so that the deployment of learners forms an integral part of the workforce plans. At the same time, this will go a long way in garnering line management commitment, because they will see the advantages of learnership implementation for their business.
Ingredient 2: Learnerships should form part of the talent management strategy Learnerships can be used to actively build talent pools within your business. A pool of potential employees can be developed for certain functions where there might be higher turnover, such as in call centres. This reduces the cost of recruitment and selection, as the line manager works with a known entity and knows the performance and potential of the learners as they have been seen in action over a twelve-month period.