– By Jean du Plessis

Skills development is globally considered as key for productive employment. Hence it is important for business to develop their employees’ skills.

Skills development, therefore, can be defined as what we do to improve productivity in the workplace, the competitiveness of our businesses and the quality of life of its workers, their prospects of work and their mobility.

Whether it is legislatively enforced on the business or if it forms part of the future strategy of the board, one metric is always fretted over and that is how effective and impactful these interventions are. In other words, did the results justify the expense.

In South Africa, expenditure on skills development initiatives is partially motivated by compliance targets enforced through the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Act.  In this article some of the risks and opportunities associated with having to achieve skills development compliance targets will be discussed.

The Risk

The major risk with achieving skills development compliance targets is that achieving the target becomes the goal of the initiative and not transfer of skills.  This defeats the purpose of doing skills development as the purpose should remain to increase productivity and employment. This usually manifests in one of two ways: 

  1. Companies end up sponsoring the same learners on new courses year after year. The learners never actually start a career. This is commonly known as “professional learners” or “career students”.
  2. The “revolving door” model. Each year the company sponsors learners, but once they complete their study there is no work opportunities for them, within the company, or elsewhere in the sector. They are effectively in the same position they were before joining the programme, effectively returning to being unskilled labor without a useable qualification.

Business must guard against the “revolving door” and “professional learners” models, as this only contributes to the unemployment situation, in South Africa.  Business leaders may be unaware that these models have manifested in the organization.  To test for this, business should analyze the following:     

  1. Compare the names of learners year to year for any duplication.
  2. What is the absorption percentage of learners into your business or any other employment after the learning programme. 

Should you find worrying results it is likely because:

  • You are training in a career path where there is already an oversupply.
  • The quality of your program is not up to standard.


To fix your skills development initiative, you should consider training in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector. The sector has a massive demand for IT practitioners to be deployed across the economy from agriculture to banking, mining to finance, logistics to services.  These opportunities are not limited to our geography either and skilled individuals could provide services to the global marketplace remotely from South Africa.  An ICT practitioner has easy access and scalability opportunities to become an entrepreneur.  

The silver lining.

The expenditure of financing such learnerships can significantly be reduced through tax rebates and other financing opportunities.  Make sure to use a reputable training provider who can advise on and calculate the different benefits to such a skills intervention. 

 Who offers IT skills development solutions?
Everything is digital these days and the answer to this question can be a click of a button, but lucky you this article will give you all the answers you need. Geeks4Learning is a IT Skills Development & Training Provider that enables South African businesses to achieve real and valuable outputs by developing a pipeline of skilled talents, which will add value to your business and improve B-BBEE compliance.

Geeks4Learning targets business just like yours. One of the services that we offer is a Skills Development Consultation. When providing this service to clients, we are able to cover topics such as skills development expenditure as a significant expense in any modern organization.

Should you require assistance in this regard I advise you to book a consultation with Geeks4Learning in order to discuss your requirements and find a solution which will contribute towards sustainable skills, compliance and cost saving interventions.

Do it TODAY! Call us we will answer.

Jean du Plessis

Jean du Plessis has 11 years’ experience in the skills development industry in South Africa.  He brings specialist knowledge on how to gain optimal returns on investment from training initiatives.

Book a B-BBEE skills development consultation now!

Lets convert your B-BBEE spend into an investment by creating a pipeline of skilled {IT} staff within your organisation.