Skills Development

Maximise the return on your investment in skills development

Wits DigitalCampus has developed a way for companies to harness the power of learning to improve performance, upskill their people and give life to the spirit of empowerment legislation

Businesses have long recognised that investing in the development of their people’s skills generates real returns – we know that better motivated and better skilled employees positively impact corporate performance. Concurrently, employees themselves have long since identified the correlation between the acquisition of skills and career advancement. High rankings on lists like “Most Admired Company” and “Best Company to Work For” are often underpinned by the training opportunities a company offers.

Companies (including their shareholders) and employees agree that offering skills development opportunities for staff has positive benefits for all. The question remaining is around how to make skills development affordable and deliver it optimally. Since companies primarily exist to make money, they need to budget for money spent on skills development and to see a good return on their investment.

The Wits DigitalCampus solution

Here are some of the highlights of the offering, and how they align with the imperatives we have discussed:

  • Online short courses mean that trainees can participate easily from any location, with minimal disruption to their normal operational responsibilities.
  • Work simulation helps turn theory into practice, making the training much more relevant to real working life.
  • Full support from experts. Unlike conventional e-learning, our courses have expert educators in the background to enhance the learning experience and monitor progress. This support includes discussion forums with, and mentorship by, a Wits lecturer to help ensure trainees get the maximum value and are inspired to complete the course. Wits DigitalCampus has a 96 percent completion rate.
  • Courses are accredited by Wits University, and a Certificate of Competence-based on a formal assessment is provided. This maximises scorecard points and ensures that individuals have a credible certification that will help them advance their careers.
  • Courses all focus on pivotal areas with a direct impact on business performance and improving trainees’ CVs.
  • All courses are recognised as Category B in terms of the scorecard, thereby maximising the points earned on the scorecard, and the company’s investment in the programme.

In short, this approach enables companies to remain true to the spirit of the empowerment legislation, maximise the positive impact of their own performance and the CVs of their employees, and gain the most traction on the scorecard itself. The latter is important not just for compliance purposes but also for qualifying to tender for government work.

How it actually works: An example from real life

To understand the power of the Wits DigitalCampus approach, let’s look at a client example

We recently worked with a major technology company. One goal was to improve its scorecard rating in order to position itself better when bidding on contracts. At the same time, it wanted to make the same learning experience available to all staff across the country but without disrupting operations unnecessarily. The company was adamant that the courses had to be relevant to the business, and that what people learned on them would help improve both corporate and individual performance.

Based on the client’s skills needs, we put together a structured learning journey comprising several modules or courses. Trainees had to complete all the learning items in the module using any Internet-connected device, complete the assignment and participate in the discussion forum hosted by the lecturer. The forum required trainees to discuss how they would apply what they had learnt to their work environments or give feedback on how they had done so. Finally, they would have to write the final online exam. Each component counted towards the final mark obtained.

A total of 70 employees participated, and all bar one participant completed the course. The pass rate was 96 percent. Learner satisfaction ratings were around 85 percent, with the majority in the 90s. All of this goes to the continuing impact the courses will have on company and individual performance.

Sixty-one of the trainees fell into the designated groups in terms of the scorecard. The total tuition costs for this group amounted to R722 346, but because the programme was recognised as Category B, the full salary cost of the trainees could also be recognised on the scorecard. Because of this, the total spend recognised for the scorecard was R3.9 million.

We calculated that the Wits DigitalCampus programme as a whole contributed an extra 2.5 points to the client’s B-BBEE scorecard, playing a major part in helping it move from a Level 4 B-BBEE contributor to Level 3 in terms of the new ICT Charter.

Everybody agrees on the value that properly structured and accredited skills development can deliver to companies, individuals and the economy as a whole. Now there is a way to ensure all these benefits are realised in a way that maximises the positive impact for all stakeholders.

Jannie Heyneke
Author
Jannie Heyneke
Operations Executive and Junior Partner

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