Putting a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) to work within organisations – part 1

Putting a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) to work within organisations – part 1

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

 Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

In the first section of this two part article we discuss the broader elements of what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) entails and how to go about structuring and implementing one that will effectively work for your business.

What is the purpose of a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP)?

Based on the skills needs of the organisation at large, a Workplace Skills Plan or WSP serves to put in place the training requirements of the business and the amount of funding needed in terms of the upcoming year.

A well-structured Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) that works

A well-structured Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) that works is based on the skills needs of the organisation and should take into account current as well as future needs as well as seeking to address any skills gaps identified through:

  • A skills audit
  • The performance management system
  • Succession planning initiatives
  • Any new process or technology changes planned for the forthcoming year.

Commitment by management and employees

Management should discuss the company’s goals with employees who in turn should commit to the process of achieving these goals.  Management  also has the opportunity to discover talent as well as skills that they were previously unaware of.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

The importance of having a dedicated Workplace Skills Plan
Skills development has been identified as a priority element under the Amended Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Codes of Good Practice. In essence, this means that businesses should place due emphasis on skills development to meet the sub-minimum requirement for the requirements of the B-BBEE scorecard element.

The thin line between being B-BBEE compliant and non-compliant

Should the measured entity fail to meet this sub-minimum, it will be discounted by one level, meaning it will drop one level. Every now and then, this discounting principle becomes the thin line between being B-BBEE compliant and non-compliant.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Economic and social needs of South Africa

The Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) and the Annual Training Report (ATR) are fundamental to the establishment of a demand-led skills development system which is reactive to the economic and social needs of South Africa.

Why is workplace skills planning important?

The purpose of workplace skills planning is to define how organisations will address skills development and training requirements within the working environment. It further supports employers in the recognition and implementation of skills development programmes which specifically deals with existing skills gaps within the business.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

A Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) ensures learning needs are aligned with organizational development strategy

Drafting a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) will ensure that skills development programmes and training initiatives are not only responsive to learning needs that may arise in an organisation but are also aligned with the overall organisational development strategy.

Businesses that wish to remain B-BBEE compliant and require skills development to be recognised on their B-BBEE Scorecard must submit the following documents to the respective SETA prior to 30 April of the year in question

  • A Workplace Skills Plan– An organisation’s articulated training plan for the period in question. This plan relates to the training and development initiatives that need to be undertaken during the year.
  • An Annual Training Report– A report on actual training and development initiatives completed during the previous year. In this case, the submission will apply to the period April of the current year and March of the following year. This report consists of all attendance registers, proof of training expenditure and invoices, training providers used, certificates, and so forth.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

  • A Pivotal Training Plan– A strategic plan aligned to industry-specific scarce skills that may be required to be developed within the business. This plan serves as a summary of predictable training that will take place in the financial year after submission.
  • A Pivotal Training Report– A Scarce Skills report articulating the outcomes of the preceding year’s Pivotal Training Plan.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

A Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) is compiled by a registered Skills Development Facilitator (SDF)

The Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) will usually be compiled by a registered Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) or other qualified person and then submitted to the SETA concerned.  Preparing and submitting these documents can be extremely demanding and labour-intensive and requires a number of dedicated resources to be put in place.

Workplace Skills Plans needs within the organisation

A Workplace skills Plan (WSP) document based on the skills needs within an organisation describes the range of skills development interventions that an organisation will use to address such needs.

A Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) is developed annually

A Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) is developed annually – for the period 01 April to 31 March – by a registered skills development facilitator (SDF) and is submitted to the SETA with which the organisation is registered.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

The Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) facilitates access to a SETA’s mandatory grant for skills training

The Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) facilitates access to a SETA’s mandatory grant for skills training. Organisations are required to report against their WSPs in an Annual Training Report (ATR) that shows how they have addressed the priority skills defined in the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP).

The Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) provides important sector information to a SETA

An equally important purpose of the Workplace Skills Plan is that it also provides important sector information to the SETA concerned on employee profiles, skills needs and skills development interventions. This information in turn informs the development of the SETA’s sector skills plan (SSP). The SSP then further makes a contribution to the national skills development agenda as defined in the National Skills Development Strategy, which is now in its 3rd generation.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

The Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) plays an important role in informing skills need at a sector and national level

While it is developed at an organisational level to address in-house skills development needs, the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) plays an important role in informing skills needs at a sector level as well as at a national level.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Workplace Skills Planning – challenges

Many human resources management and development professionals agree on a number of challenges experienced during workplace skills planning. A significant portion of these challenges occur at an organisational level while others still at the sector skills planning level within the SETAs.

The Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) feeds into the Sector Skills Plan (SSP)

However, human resource management and development practitioners agree that, since the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) feeds into the Sector skills plan, skills planning could potentially be addressed at a sector and SETA level if one begins at an organisational level.

One needs to reflect on this list as a way of identifying and unblocking the constraints to workplace skills planning within the organisation.  The following tackles some, but not all of the challenges one might encounter at an organisational level.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Preparing the workplace for learning

It is of paramount importance to prepare the internal environment well for skills planning and development. This preparation would involve setting up the necessary structures, identifying and ensuring the appropriate capacity to lead the process of workplace skills planning, securing support and participation from the executive committee, line management and the broader staff complement and securing the necessary resources – both financial and human – to facilitate the timeous development and submission of the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP).

Registering a Skills Development Facilitator (SDF)

All SETAs require the nomination and registration of a Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) who acts as the link between the organisation and the SETA of registration around all matters relating to skills planning and development.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) registration

Most SETAs have an online system for the registration of a Skills Development Facilitator (SDF).   The SDF could be an employee of the organisation or an external consultant, who represents more than one employer organisation.

Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) experience

From this description of responsibilities it is evident that the Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) needs to be someone with sufficient knowledge, background and experience in skills development and training. It would also be advantageous for the individual to possess a working knowledge of the skills development policies and systems used in South Africa.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) training

The ETDP SETA offers training in Skills Development Facilitation comprising 6 unit standards for identifying competence as an accredited Skills Development Facilitator (SDF). These 6 unit standards provide a useful framework around which to profile the job definition of the Skills Development Facilitator in the organisation and help identify the appropriate individual to fulfil these responsibilities.  The unit standards also provide a framework for developing the capacity of the Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) to meet the skills planning and development needs of the business.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Setting up a Training Committee

The Skills Development Act requires that skills planning and development takes place within the broadest scope of representation through extensive stakeholder consultation across the organisation.

The mechanism to facilitate representation and consultation in skills planning is the training committee, which is also referred to as the Skills Planning Committee (SPC) or the Workplace Training Committee (WTC).

The training committee represents both employer and employee interests

The training committee should represent both employer and employee interests. All SETAs suggest the inclusion of employee representative bodies on this training committee as well as a representative for non-unionised employees.

For example, CATHSSETA requires a training committee of a minimum of 5 members with at least 2 representing management, at least 2 representing employees and the SDF as the 5th person.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

The role of the training committee

The role of the training committee is to collectively and representatively determine training priorities and needs and agree on interventions to address these needs.

Requirements of the Skills Development Act

Under the Skills Development Act, organisations that employ 50 or more employees are obliged to constitute a training committee. They are also obliged to ensure that this committee meets regularly and that elected members have the necessary capacity to represent the stakeholder group in skills planning.

Skills development monitoring and auditing processes

The training committee is also required to keep detailed minutes and attendance registers in respect of all meetings held. These documents could be called for in skills planning and development monitoring and auditing processes by the SETA concerned.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Guidelines for constituting a training committee

Due to the fact that the nature, size and structure of organisations vastly differ, it is difficult to define generic guidelines in respect of constituting a training committee.  However, a key guideline is to ensure representation at all levels of management and staff.   Hence, if a 5 tier hierarchy exists within the organization, it would be pertinent to have a representative from each level on the training committee.

Giving voice to all levels and functions of job profiles across the business

It is also useful to couple this representation across all key directorates and/or departments within the organisation. Ultimately, the guiding principle is to give voice to all levels and functions of job profiles across the business.

Giving due significance to workplace skills planning

One of the key challenges within many organisations is the lack of strategic positioning, understanding and consequently the lack of due significance afforded to training and skills planning.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Executive management level support

The training budget is often the first to go as a result of budget cuts. This is perhaps evidence of the generally held perception of training and skills development as not being given the attention that it deserves.  Certain anecdotal evidence also suggests that active training and skills development initiatives undertaken within organisations are almost always backed by support at an executive level.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Support across all management levels

A critical element in preparing the workplace for training and skills development is to secure support and endorsement at an executive management level as well as at a line management level.

Workplace Skills Plans (WSPs) – approvals

Workplace skills plans must be approved and signed off at an executive management level and resources secured at this level to enable this process to be effectively implemented. Line management is equally important in informing the identification of skills needs and supporting interventions through which to address these needs.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Ensuring adequate resources for workplace skills planning

One of the key requirements in the Skills Development Act of 1998, is broad stakeholder consultation in developing and implementing skills development and training. Stakeholder engagement is achieved through representation in the training committee, and engaging senior and line management. This consultative process is likely to require both time and financial resources.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Time

Ensuring adequate time for consultation requires careful planning around all processes involved in workplace skill planning. A guide to developing this plan should be the due date for submitting WSPs, which is the 30 June of each year.

Budget

Consultations are likely to require a budget. If the organisation is geographically dispersed, travel, accommodation and subsistence budget in order that meetings may be held in different regions amongst staff as well as training committee meetings.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Catering and travel budget

A catering and travel budget may be required to enable engagement with other stakeholders in the sector or even beyond. A budget to cater for Skills Development Facilitator training and other training committee members may also been needed as well as it might be useful to develop an annual budget relative to the WSP process.

Ring-fence the training budget

With respect to budgeting needs, most importantly, it is necessary to identify a ring fenced training budget which should be used to implement the interventions necessary to address the skills needs within an organisation. It would be futile to identify skills needs without the means to address these needs.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

Human resources

Last but not least, nothing would be possible without the dedicated human resources needed to ensure effective implementation of a functional Workplace Skills Plan.

Want to learn more about what the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) wsp entails and  how to address employee training and development needs within organisations?  BOTI offers business training programmes across South Africa.  Book now!

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