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Hosted learnerships help connect funding with opportunity to support job creation and economic growth

By Daniel Orelowitz, MD of Training Force

by Tia

Skills development in the form of learnerships is an essential element of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) scorecard, accounting for a significant portion of the score for large enterprises in particular. However, not all businesses have the capacity, availability, or ability to take on sufficient learners to meet their obligations. Conversely, some businesses have available roles but do not have the funding to take on learners. Hosted learnerships involve a three-way collaboration: one company provides funding, another offers learnership roles, and a reputable training partner serves as a facilitator. This arrangement creates mutual benefits, providing learners with valuable work experience and an income stream, while simultaneously earning B-BBEE points for both the host and the funding provider.

How it works

Hosted learnerships provide a way of bringing together corporates with funding for skills development, with businesses that have opportunity but not necessarily the financial means to provide the job experience. Both parties can leverage the B-BBEE benefits, and unemployed learners are given the vital opportunity to gain valuable workplace competence. Aside from providing an income, learnerships have a significant practical component that delivers essential experience in the real-world working environment, which is critical in boosting the employability of people in the long term.

Daniel Orelowitz

In addition, hosted learnerships typically take place in industries that are growing, which means that they have opportunity for career advancement and ongoing employment for the learners. For the businesses hosting the learners, it also provides an opportunity to develop the skills they need for growth. Hosted learnerships match people who can collaborate with companies that are able to employ them and provide them with skills. This in turn can also help Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) as well as non-profit organisations and municipalities with additional manpower, especially where these organisations have jobs open but no money to pay the employee.

The right partner is essential

Hosted learnerships are more complex than the standard procedure and often require a great deal of coordination between the host company and the funding company to ensure alignment. An experienced training partner can be instrumental not only in delivering the theoretical component of leaderships but also in managing administrative tasks such as onboarding, training, managing attendance and leave, and incentivising performance. A training partner can also handle the tasks of implementing, monitoring, and closing off the programme, as well as providing feedback to both parties, and in ensuring that learners receive the relevant National Qualification Framework (NQF) certifications.

Moving South Africa forward

For South Africa to begin addressing rampant unemployment and the skills gap, broaden economic participation and inclusivity, and create the circular economy that is critical for sustainability, learnerships that put people in real world working experiences (and not simulations) are essential. This requires participation from corporate South Africa as well as smaller businesses, but also a mindset shift on the part of learners. Learnerships should be regarded as a chance for those without employment to establish a foundation in the realm of career advancement, acquire practical experience, and demonstrate their capabilities in a professional setting.

When done correctly, learnerships are a gateway to grow and gain relevant qualifications to enhance skills and empower people to leverage opportunities. Hosted learnerships can be an important way for businesses to contribute to the upliftment of growth sectors, enhance the economy, reduce the unemployment rate, and create economic activity which further contributes to growth.

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