Wits rolls out learnership for staff

Wits will be rolling out a basic education and training programme for staff members who have not reached the matric qualification level.

The programme is a National Certificate in Business Administration for National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 2 (Grade 10) and Level 3 (Grade 11).

The roll-out will be funded by the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP Seta) as the focus of the Discretionary Grant Funding allocation for 2016 and 2017.

Head of the Human Resources Development Unit (HRDU), Chantelle Murray, said the programme has space for approximately 73 individuals and, to date, they have received 55 applications.

”We have a lot of initiatives at other levels but the lower levels often get forgotten.”

When HRDU started talking with the university’s staff about the bursary scheme they realised that they had assumed that everyone had a matric qualification but that was not the case. Even more so, with the incoming insourced staff.

“We realised a lot of the workers being insourced barely have a NQF level 2 and 3 qualification, never mind a NQF level 4 or matric qualification. They can’t access all the cool benefits, such as bursaries, unless they have an NQF level 4 qualification,” said Murray.

The difference between this training programme and what was previously known as the Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) programme is that the ABET classes were to a large extent based on the school type of grounding that one needs. That includes literacy, numeracy and computer literacy. The criticism about this model is that it did not prepare the adults for the world of work.

“You do need to have numeracy in place in order to do calculations and look after your own budget at home, but if it’s not housed in a context, then it’s just numbers and words,” said Murray.
With the National Certificate in Business Administration offered at Wits, the idea is to teach numeracy, literacy and computer literacy within a context, such as putting together an agenda for a meeting and event management. These are things that they would come across while working at Wits.

Staff will be expected to complete a portfolio of work in order to receive a certificate of competence, said HRDU consultant, Megan Thulukanam.

Murray said Siyanqoba, which is part of the EOH Group would be the service provider for the programme’s first roll out, as it was nationally accredited and had corporate experience.

“It’s important to have a provider that understands the kinds of challenges the staff experience every day in terms of going home to environments where they can’t always do homework maybe because they don’t have electricity and so on.”

Part of the HRDU approach is communicating with the managers of the individuals on the final list so that they are on board and understand how best to support their staff and mentor them.