The Skills Development Committee of the Eastern Cape Department of Education had a seating on the 30th-31st of March 2017 where issues of worker empowerment were discussed at length.
Communications had an opportunity to interact with Ms Lukhanyo Sidiya, Deputy Director for Human Resource Development in the Department, as she unloaded the importance of skills development.
Sidiya cited that Skills Development speaks to developing the skills of the workforce by promoting education and training in the workplace, “this does not only speak to a specific few individuals but applies to all personnel from high ranking official to the sweeper, all have a right to be trained and be capacitated.”
“Training needs are informed by the Work Skills Plan of employees which is ingrained in the Performance Management and Development System and the Integrated Quality Management System Documents.”
She further alluded that the Department offers bursaries to both the ECDoE staff and unemployed students. Those employed the bursary does not fund beyond a maximum amount of R16 000, this is stipulated in their contracts. The unemployed students are offered bursary to do a qualification in Teaching so as to address the scarce skills in Mathematics and Science in the Province. They are then placed in areas where they are needed the most, particularly in rural areas.
As the Superintendent General Mr. Themba Kojana joined the seating on the second day, he reiterated the importance of Skills Development , citing that What leads to a collapse of systems is lack of required skills within the sector as to change the environment. He then challenged HRD practioners to identify skills gaps and do proper assessments prior to planning and offering training needs, they also must understand that they are charged with the responsibility of developing skills to change the outlook of the Province, therefore training must be determined by the need and outcome and the outcomes should result in a positive outlook.
He also touched on the content of the training offered raising the following questions:-Does it transform the department and does it make an impact?
Also making emphasis on the type of training to be offered saying that, one must look at what defines the type of training offered so that it does not become standard and nonspecific, in the end does not address areas of concern. Competencies of individuals must allow them an opportunity to master the environment in which they operate.
He also said, “Intervention must be targeted and not generic”. Every training offered to a particular unit or person must speak to the needs of their environment, focusing on areas that will improve the sector. The translation of inputs should transform the Eastern Cape Province.
“Let’s communicate hope, let’s change the narrative about this Province”, said Kojana.