Trained pharmacist, Fathima Amod has been involved in training and skills development her entire 20-year career. As an expert in the field, Fathima works with Masoom Training Solutions to recruit, groom and train graduates to be taken up in corporates on a learnership basis. With the new BBBEE codes placing emphasis on skills development, Fathima is becoming integral to the BBBEE certification process. Carla de Klerk caught up with her to find out more about the skills development process and how it can be used to a business’s advantage.
“Way back in 2001 I set up a nonprofit training agency. We travelled all over Africa and did a lot of training and clinical research. Prior to that I worked for the National Institute of Health and Human Development for their global training team where we did government training, development and research globally. Masoom Training Solutions was then founded in 2011, where I brought all that knowledge and experience with me, which is why we can do what we do.” Masoom Training Solutions is a recruitment and training agency, taking on university graduates grooming and placing them in the workplace. With the new BBBEE codes placing stern emphasis on skills and training development, holding a potential 25 points of the overall score, agencies such as Masoom are going to become important pillars to lean on for a lot of corporate companies.
“The reasoning behind the code prioritising skills development is completely sound. Anyone who understands skills, and the problems we are facing in this country will understand why the pillar exists. We have an incredibly high unemployment rate, and we are not meeting critical and scarce skill shortages. The new code will start to address these issues.” In this regard, Fathima is a firm believer that learnerships and internships will have a bottom-up effect in the workplace and the economy. “A lot of graduates can’t get jobs because they don’t have experience. With the new codes they will receive the opportunity to get first-hand experience in the workplace and even have the possibility to go further with the company. As 70% of all time and spend needs to be on actual one-on-one training and development, this pillar can’t be outsourced, the new codes are focusing on real, accredited training.”
Before Fathima takes up potential beneficiaries for learnerships, students first go through an intensive screening process, where they take psychometric, mathematic, english spelling and grammar and interpretation assessments. “Apart from wanting to groom them to succeed, we want to place the right people in the right position. For the new codes to work and really affect change, these students need to add to the productivity of the company,” Fathima explains. Before anyone is placed in a position, Fathima also does a training needs analysis of the company in order to identify exact positions that the company needs filled. “When I go there, I walk the managers through the process. I want to see the right people, in the right position being truly trained so that they can increase productivity. I want the company to be able to say that they want to keep that person on for another year, because he or she has become a valuable asset over the learnership period. I want companies to use the code in this way to their advantage, as an investment in their own productivity.” For this to be successful Fathima explains that the effort needs to come from both sides, from the student as well as the corporate. Where students may have an entitled attitude, the corporate may rush the learnership as just another tick on their BBBEE scorecard. This is also the reason that Fathima identifies positions in the company where a learnership candidate will be useful as well as screen and train candidates before sending them to the workplace. “The focus needs to be on the productivity of the learner in the learnership, not the number of learners in the workplace for learnerships to be successful. Learners must contribute to the business, being fully engaged in the business, caring for it as though they are shareholders. To do that both parties must work together, and that is where I come in.”
“We all know how important skills development is, but what we truly need in South Africa is meaningful and substantial skills development. That is embedded in the new code, however, often in the implementation of it, that spirit is lost. People should engage with the experts, to try and incorporate that into meaningful and substantial training, to truly develop something significant to the country. The goal with learnerships is to say that you will from now on be employable forever more, and in South Africa that is a big statement to make.”
Fathima and Masoom Training Solutions are proud partners with MEDO, ensuring efficient and productive skills development aligned with the BBBEE codes. Working together to build a better economy, for all.