Skills-Universe

Should we change our approach to Skills Audits and their objectives?

Learning at work involves many different learning processes. These are difficult to categorise and compare as they are grounded in different paradigms of learning, have different goals, are associated with different kinds of activities, and are centred on different levels of the organisation.

Learning may be primarily oriented towards employee development, Skills related to specific jobs and competencies which in turn are aligned to the Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO) or more narrowly concerned with the business goals of the employer.

The outcomes of learning may be viewed by the employee as knowledge or skills development. This knowledge may, over time, be incorporated into company routines and procedures through a cycle of continuous improvement and knowledge creation.

The goal of ongoing training at work is to enhance and upgrade the knowledge of the employee while at the same time empower the employee in terms of specific positions or progression and succession planning.

Company centred approach

The norm is for companies to have a set of training and education initiatives that are packaged as "employee development" schemes and which are primarily centred on the personal development of employees.

Learner centred approach

A learner-centred approach focuses on the learning experiences and aspirations of employees and the ways in which they are able to take advantage of learning opportunities in the workplace.

The interest in core competences and basic skills arises from recognition that the occupational demands of the workplace can no longer be met through specialised occupational knowledge and skills alone. These skills can be linked to specific competencies which in turn relate back to the OFO’s

However in order to establish the specific need of groups of employees that relate directly to job competencies and skills development needs there is a need for skills audits and/or training need analysis.

There is a need to establish a Corporate Qualifications Framework (CQF) appropriate to specific companies within specific industries and aligned to specific sector requirements.

A CQF can be aligned to specific competencies which in turn can be aligned to specific qualifications or a selection of industry specific skills programmes. By means of a CQF the shortfall or gap in competencies can be established and training can be implemented to take care of the shortfall.

Possible implementation strategy

A possible implementation strategy consisting of 4 integrated processes

• Development of Corporate Qualifications Framework (CQF) aligned to the company training needs and/or specific occupations aligned to OFO’s
• Assessment of individuals against related job specific competencies
• Systems development, implementation monitoring and corrective action
• Development of a Quality Management System (QMS) for delivery of training as identified

The CQF will spell out all the required competencies of the organisation and for specific job tasks related to specific positions aligned to relevant OFO’s.

The benefits of the process are

• Employees will understand why a need for a skills analysis exists and what the benefit of such an analysis are
• Employees will know exactly what the assessed level of competencies are and why these specific competencies have been identified
• Employees will see and understand where shortfalls exist
• The role of an RPL approach and the benefits of RPL will be recognised and appreciated by all stakeholders
• There will be minimal disruption to workflow, as learners will have a variety of entry points
• Human capital will be quantified for the benefit of the organisation and will be aligned to the vision and mission statement.

Skills Audits are an essential

Companies must establish what skills and knowledge exist within the organisation. This information is essential as it will determine whether the company or organisation can meet its goals in terms of training, development and succession planning.

Without this information the company or organisation has no idea as to how to improve and empower the capabilities of employees

By making effective use of a Skills Audit and training needs analysis new training interventions aimed at the development of employees will be better targeted.

In addition job shortfalls are identified and recruiting needs are better defined and more likely to result in the appointment of the most appropriate candidate.

© Des Squire (Managing Member) AMSI and ASSOCIATES cc

des@amsiandassociates.co.za - Cell 0828009057

www.amsiandassociates.co.za

Views: 615

Replies to This Discussion

I agree, companies need to understand why skills audits are necessary and ensure that the data obtained is utilized to address the gaps identified. It will ensure that training is not just done for the sake of training.

Being previously involved in skills audits it is also vital to have systems in place that will ensure data is readily availble and updated as the organization/company grows of business changes.

 

Knowledge is Power!

 

www.kcmed.co.za 

Hi Madivan

You are quite correct but you have not answered my question which was - do we need to change our approach?

There are so many opportunities to be offered to employees and learners in general if we just take the blinkers off.

When I ask companies what it is they want to achieve from a skills audit the common answere is "we need to assess our emploees current knowledge in terms of future training needs".

What about needs in terms of skills gaps, carer progression, career pathing and succession planning. How are these  to be taken care of? We need a more scientific approach to the whole issue of skills audits and to the whole issue of occupational qualifications. That is what I propose.  

Madivan van der Merwe said:

I agree, companies need to understand why skills audits are necessary and ensure that the data obtained is utilized to address the gaps identified. It will ensure that training is not just done for the sake of training.

Being previously involved in skills audits it is also vital to have systems in place that will ensure data is readily availble and updated as the organization/company grows of business changes.

 

Knowledge is Power!

 

www.kcmed.co.za 

That is true, it is vital as for organizations to take in consideration all aspects of skills audits.

We as training specialist/providers need to ensure that organizations understand what needs to be achieved when doing skills audits and that the primary focus is not just assessing or establishing current competence/knowledge for future training, it is establishing current competence/knowledge and addressing skills gaps to ensure sustainability.

Keep it simple!

A wise man once said "if you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there". Not my words but true nevertheless. A concern which faces industry in general is the interpretation of WHAT a skills audit actually is. I am of the view that there must first be a common understanding of the meaning of a skills audit before a skills audit could be conducted effectively. The object of a skills audit is after all to establish facts surrounding current or existing abilities compared with required or developmental needs and that could onle be achieved once everyone who participates in the skills auding sing from the same hymn book.

Dear Des

Interesting discussion on the go. I would like to suggest that we have a meeting to chat about the application of the CQF. Also, I would like to share my latest research regarding the problems in effective training. We tend to focus in the training arena on a somewhat "mechanical" approach to training. I mean, we tend to look at training a person on "how to take cold water and make it hot". However, we fail to understand that the learner needs to find "purpose" in what he / she does. Victor Frankl once said that "he who has a reason why can cope with any how". Our learners lack contextual awareness too. Understanding the bigger picture is really important.

I am sure you have all heard the stories about young learners and how they job - hop? How they are well trained but often work for about 6 months at a job and then just quit? They don't see how the job fits into the bigger picture called their life. They don't see how the job is a step in growth. If a learner could be developed to see the big picture and find a higher purpose...

Yes I know, it is asking to play in the metaphysical domain. However, it is time that we do. We need to learn to connect with our higher self and bring our spirituality back to our spirit. Only then will the workplace make sense to so many...

Dear Des

I fully agree with you on this!  I contacted an outside company last year to find out whether they can perhaps create such an CQF for us, which I wanted to incorporate into our electronic Skills Needs Analysis with drop-down lists of competencies for each profession.  Unfortunately, it would have cost us too much to have this developed, but your initiative for this will open the doors to more effective skills audits and SNAs for all - especially if it is linked to the OFO's and perhaps the OQF.  I sent the Skills Universe last year a message to find out what the progress is on the OQF, as this will also assist with the development of such a system.  Hope we can get this going soon! 

Dear Des ,

 

Let me start of by an old truism i.e. structure follows strategy. Equally, training and development follows strategy. Strategy follows a SWOT. Therefore, as HR develelopers we need to get inside the inner circle of executives where corp. strat is discussed. Are we there or merely HR Administators? No matter what approach we take, the critical issue is corporate strategy! And nowhere in your eloquent discussion is the word  corporate strategy used. There are many successful SME's who keep their eye on the changing business environment without our fancy approaches and develop their human capital according to their strategy. Lets not go the Kodak route who seemingly to tooktheir eye of the changing environment. IBM also did so momentarily and almost the plot. 

So, lets follow the corp strat to skill employees and the rest will follow. And, where we do use analysts and learning plan compilers please let us competent people. The ctitical question here is: would you consult a legal/ medical or anyother professional who is half competent and not connected to his/her professional  fraternity

 

Jim Liamore 

So, if strategy is the depature approach to HRD  

Hi Prof: its been such a long time since we last chatted. Great to hear from you. The points you make - and also Cobus - link to my thinking exactly. Training for the sake of training is out - Training needs analysis for the sake of an analysis is out - and Skills Audits for the sake of being able to say we have done a need analusis is out. We need an approach that has merit, meaning and specific direction.

I would love to have a meeting sometime in the near future but it will have to be after the 23rd as I am taking a short break. You can drop me a mail on des@amsiandassociates.co.za or call me on 0828009057 with potential dates.

 

 


Dr Wynand Goosen said:

Dear Des

Interesting discussion on the go. I would like to suggest that we have a meeting to chat about the application of the CQF. Also, I would like to share my latest research regarding the problems in effective training. We tend to focus in the training arena on a somewhat "mechanical" approach to training. I mean, we tend to look at training a person on "how to take cold water and make it hot". However, we fail to understand that the learner needs to find "purpose" in what he / she does. Victor Frankl once said that "he who has a reason why can cope with any how". Our learners lack contextual awareness too. Understanding the bigger picture is really important.

I am sure you have all heard the stories about young learners and how they job - hop? How they are well trained but often work for about 6 months at a job and then just quit? They don't see how the job fits into the bigger picture called their life. They don't see how the job is a step in growth. If a learner could be developed to see the big picture and find a higher purpose...

Yes I know, it is asking to play in the metaphysical domain. However, it is time that we do. We need to learn to connect with our higher self and bring our spirituality back to our spirit. Only then will the workplace make sense to so many...

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