Take skills to the people
Security companies can get value for their skills levy by participating in SETA activities. By Dr Barney Delport
The security industry is the second-largest growing industry in South Africa. It is undergoing a huge transformation, which understandably brings with it a number of challenges. The Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA) has an important role to play in terms of adult basic education and training in this sector, taking care of the training needs of the police, legal, defence, correctional services, private security, justice and statutory intelligence. There is a serious need for training of this nature, as a large percentage of our nation was historically disadvantaged and remains illiterate or partially illiterate.
My personal mission at the SASSETA is to take SASSETA to the people instead of taking the people to the SASSETA. Part of government strategy is that the SETAs must become more visible and accessible to the public, especially in rural areas; hence the SASSETA Board took a unanimous decision to hold its annual general meeting each year in a new province, as well as open satellite offices in the provinces. This has been achieved by collaborating with various Further Education and Training Colleges and universities in the provinces.
I want to ensure job creation and cultivate a career path of job enrichment. In order to tie in with the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) 1, 11 and 111, it has become critically important for our industry and SETA not just to train people for the sake of training, but to ensure that we collect critical and scarce skills data as accurately as possible, so that the SETA’s money is optimally spent on training that will effectively bridge the gaps in our industry. Employer stakeholders can do their share by ensuring that their Annual Training Reports and Workplace Skills Plans are truthfully and correctly completed. The SETA will do its share by executing proper market research, which will result in accurate, critical and scarce skills gap analysis.
One of the main challenges for SASSETA and all of its stakeholders is the successful adoption of a system called ‘recognition of prior learning’ (RPL). This is a system of promoting individuals through the ranks on the basis of the experience gained on the job. It means that they do not need to redo certain skills levels as they have gained the necessary experience through practical learning and can therefore be advanced to the next job level. RPL should be high on the agenda as in some instances, it can be a cost-effective and quick method of upskilling those who have gained valuable hands-on experience over the years.
Another huge issue facing not only the SASSETA but also the mining industry is whether we can meet the increased demand left by the legacy of HIV/Aids. If the industries do not strategise and plan, they will be left wanting. Human Resources professionals will need to collect statistics, offset them against national figures and then ensure that they have trained spare staff to meet the demands that HIV/Aids will place on our industry. Unless a solution is found soon, the impact will weigh heavily on our manpower resources, therefore maintaining a trained staff database is critical across all sectors of our industry. Training will become the key factor that will determine whether a security company survives or not. In 2009, SASSETA started to plan and execute strategies to counteract the impact that HIV/Aids will have on the various industries. However, it is imperative that the private sector joins these efforts as well.
Focus on skills and SASSETA participationPrioritising skills development and training of employees has many advantages for any employer as there will be fewer incidences of infringements due to poor work performance. A better trained workforce is always a better selling point for any security company.
Making use of a qualified skills development facilitator (SDF) ensures that an employer’s skills levy paid over to the South African Revenue Service is optimally claimed back. If an employer is really wise to the claiming back of skills, it would only cost his company a minimal amount of cash to be written off. If a surplus was paid, he/she can claim it as BEE points under skills/social development.
By contributing your skills levy, you are a stakeholder in SASSETA and this gives you the right to be heard. No matter how big or small your company, participate in road shows, projects, annual general meetings and information sessions.
Dr Barney Delport is HR Director at Nationwide Security Holdings, a SASSETA board member and Chairperson of the sector skills planning committee.
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