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Closing the Skills Gap: A Strategic Approach to Unlocking Workforce Potential

The global business landscape is undergoing a rapid transformation. Technology advancements and industry shifts are creating a widening gap between the skills employers need and the skills employees possess. This phenomenon presents a significant challenge, but also a golden opportunity, for organisations worldwide.

The Growing Skills Gap: A Cause for Concern

In today’s rapidly evolving marketplace, the demand for a skilled workforce has never been higher. As highlighted in the LinkedIn Learning Workplace Report 2024, upskilling employees ranks second among the top five focus areas in Learning & Development (L&D) for the year. This growing recognition underscores the critical role of L&D in preparing organisations for the future.

A staggering nine out of ten global executives plan to either maintain or increase their investment in L&D, particularly in upskilling and reskilling initiatives, over the next six months (LinkedIn Executive Confidence Index). This trend reflects a strategic commitment to nurturing talent and fostering continuous learning in the face of evolving business demands.

The South African Context: Unique Challenges and Opportunities

While the skills gap is a global issue, South Africa faces some unique challenges. Disparities in access to education and training opportunities contribute to a workforce lacking essential skills. This not only hinders individual career prospects but also impacts overall organisational competitiveness. According to information obtained from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Skills for Jobs database, the list below indicates the skills gaps in the South African labour force, ranked from the highest skills gap to the lowest skills gap:

  1. Active learning
  2. Persuasion and negotiation
  3. Complex problem-solving
  4. Management of personnel resources
  5. Judgement and decision-making
  6. Management of financial resources
  7. Reading comprehension
  8. Speaking
  9. Originality
  10. Writing
  11. Digital skills
  12. Reasoning and problem-solving
  13. Auditory and speech abilities
  14. Adaptability or resilience
  15. Time management

As highlighted in the 2023 Identification of Skills Gaps in South Africa Report, conducted by the Department of Higher Education and Training, there’s a pressing need for strategic and comprehensive interventions to address this critical issue. Investing in human capital is unequivocally strategic. Training and development initiatives not only enhance employee engagement and retention, thereby reducing recruitment and opportunity costs, but they also fortify organisations, preparing them for the evolving landscape of work ahead. According to Wiseman (2022), “many people assume the skills gaps organisations face today are primarily a lack of technical or hard skills such as coding, but there are also major gaps in soft skills like communication, creativity, etc. In fact, nearly 3 in 4 employers say they have a hard time finding college graduates with the soft skills they need.”

Benefits of Addressing Skills Gaps: A Win-Win Situation

Investing in L&D initiatives to close the skills gap isn’t just a cost, it’s a strategic investment that yields numerous benefits for both individuals and organisations. Here’s a closer look at the positive outcomes that create a win-win situation:

Individual Benefits:

  • Enhanced Career Prospects: Employees equipped with in-demand skills are more likely to secure promotions, take on new challenges, and command higher salaries.
  • Increased Job Satisfaction: Learning and development opportunities demonstrate a company’s commitment to employee growth, fostering a sense of value and purpose.
  • Improved Employability: Upskilling and reskilling efforts ensure employees stay relevant in the ever-changing job market, increasing their marketability across different industries.
  • Boosted Confidence and Motivation: Mastering new skills empowers employees, leading to increased confidence and motivation in their roles.

Organisational Benefits:

  • Increased Productivity and Performance: A skilled workforce is a more productive workforce. Employees with the right skill sets can complete tasks more efficiently and effectively.
  • Enhanced Problem-Solving Capabilities: By fostering critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills, organisations can navigate challenges and capitalise on opportunities more effectively.
  • Improved Innovation and Creativity: A culture of continuous learning fosters innovation and creativity within the workforce, leading to the development of new ideas and solutions.
  • Stronger Competitive Edge: Companies with a skilled and adaptable workforce are better positioned to compete in today’s dynamic business landscape.
  • Reduced Employee Turnover: Investing in employee development demonstrates a company’s commitment to its people, leading to increased employee retention and reduced recruitment costs.

In the long run, by bridging the skills gap, organisations contribute to a more skilled and adaptable workforce, ultimately fostering economic growth, social mobility, and inclusive prosperity for communities at large.

Challenges and Solutions: Overcoming Hurdles in L&D

Despite the recognized value of L&D, challenges persist. Aligning training with business goals and demonstrating ROI remain top concerns for L&D professionals. Achieving executive buy-in is crucial for securing necessary resources and program success (as highlighted in a LinkedIn Learning survey where 83% of L&D professionals consider it essential). Kwelanga’s Learning Journey Framework addresses these challenges through:

  • Targeted Training Needs Analysis: Our Training Needs Analysis App streamlines the process of identifying skills gaps, ensuring training initiatives are directly linked to business objectives.
  • Measurable Learning Outcomes: We focus on achieving tangible results with a demonstrably positive impact on individual and organisational performance.
  • Strategic Alignment: We work collaboratively with leadership to ensure L&D programs align with broader business strategies.

This comprehensive approach empowers L&D professionals to demonstrate the value of learning and development, fostering a culture of continuous learning within the organisation.

Unlock Your Workforce Potential

Are you ready to bridge the skills gap and unlock the full potential of your workforce? Here’s how to get started:

  1. Identify Skills Gaps: Conduct a skills assessment to pinpoint areas for improvement.
  2. Embrace Innovative Approaches: Utilise the 70-20-10 model and other dynamic learning strategies.
  3. Secure Executive Buy-In: Ensure alignment with business objectives and obtain leadership
  4. Leverage Tools and Resources: Utilise resources like Kwelanga’s Learning Journey Framework and Training Needs Analysis App to streamline the process and achieve tangible results.

Don’t let skills gaps hold your organisation back! Contact Kwelanga Training today for a free consultation and learn how our Learning Journey Framework can help you bridge the gap and unlock the full potential of your workforce.

Ready to take action? Download our free checklist, “Bridging the Top 5 Skills Gaps in South Africa’s Workforce” by filling in the form below.


New Year, Measurable Growth: Hoping vs Wishing

January is the time of year when we are filled with energy, hope and of course………. the promise that our resolutions will deliver great results in the year ahead.

As we usher in a new year, the symbolic transition from one chapter to another, much like the energetic burst that accompanies the countdown to midnight, resolutions represent a collective surge of optimism—a commitment to harnessing our inner reservoirs of strength and determination. In setting resolutions, we tap into the boundless potential within ourselves, channeling the energy of renewal and growth. We hope that the resolutions we make and goals we set are the vehicles that will take us to new heights but….

Did you know that Hope is not defined as an emotion? Recently I came across an interesting article about hope where Dr. Chan Hellman, Founding Director of The Hope Research Center, claims that hope is actually a mental state that can be learned and it only has a few ingredients:

  • Goals (do we understand our desired outcome?)
  • Pathways (do we have a way to get there?)
  • Autonomy (do we have some sense that we can influence the outcome?)

So, what do you hope to achieve in 2024? As we step into this fresh chapter, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the growth and development strategies of our teams through 2023. Did we achieve the people and team performance goals we were hoping for?

This month let’s focus on measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) within the 70-20-10 model, a crucial aspect of learning and development initiatives. Just like a new year’s resolution, the effectiveness of a learning strategy isn’t just in its adoption, but in its measurable outcomes. How do we gauge the impact of our efforts in experiential learning, social learning, and formal training? How do we quantify the value these experiences bring to our organisations and employees?

The key lies in setting clear objectives, employing effective assessment tools, and tracking progress meticulously. From increased productivity to improved employee engagement, the metrics to evaluate ROI in the 70-20-10 model are varied and invaluable.  Just as resolutions signify our commitment to growth, understanding the impact of learning through this model becomes a strategic key to transformative progress in the coming year.

Are you ready to assess and enhance the ROI of your learning and development journey? Click [here] to access our Learning Journey Planner, a comprehensive tool designed to help you track and measure the effectiveness of your 70-20-10 approach throughout the year.

Don’t allow your hope to become a wish.

Join us next month as we explore building your organisation’s learning culture – a key pillar in making the most of the 70-20-10 model.

Wishing you a prosperous and insightful year.

Kind Regards

Mark Janse Van Rensburg
Managing Director

Elevating Your Skills: The Imperative for Personal and Professional Growth

As we step closer into the dynamic landscape of 2024, the importance of continuous skill elevation has never been more pronounced. In a world characterised by rapid technological advancements, evolving job markets, and unprecedented global challenges, the need to stay ahead of the curve has become imperative. Elevating your skills is not merely a choice; it is a strategic necessity for both personal and professional growth.

1.Adaptability in the Face of Change:

One of the key reasons to elevate your skills is the relentless pace of change. Technological breakthroughs, market trends, and societal shifts are reshaping industries at an unprecedented speed. Those who remain adaptable and embrace change are better positioned to navigate the uncertainties that lie ahead. By constantly upgrading your skill set, you enhance your ability to adapt to new tools, methodologies, and challenges, making yourself an asset in any environment.

2.Remaining Competitive in the Job Market:

The job market is becoming increasingly competitive, with employers seeking candidates who possess a diverse and up-to-date skill set. Elevating your skills not only enhances your employability but also opens doors to new opportunities. Employers are drawn to individuals who demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement, as it signals a proactive approach to professional development. Whether you are looking to advance within your current organisation or explore new career paths, having relevant and current skills is a key differentiator.

3.Technological Advancements and Automation:

The rise of automation and artificial intelligence is reshaping the nature of work across various industries. Jobs that were once considered secure are now vulnerable to automation. Elevating your skills in areas such artificial intelligence, and digital literacy can help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure that you remain valuable in an increasingly automated world. By aligning your skill set with emerging technologies, you position yourself as an integral part of the workforce of the future.

4.Enhanced Problem-Solving and Innovation:

Elevating your skills goes beyond acquiring technical knowledge; it fosters critical thinking, problem-solving, and innovation. As industries evolve, so do the challenges they face. Individuals with a diverse skill set are better equipped to analyse complex problems, propose creative solutions, and contribute to innovative projects. Elevating your skills enhances your ability to think critically, approach challenges with a growth mindset, and drive positive change within your professional sphere.

5.Future-Proofing Your Career:

The concept of a lifelong career with a single skill set is becoming obsolete. Future-proofing your career involves a commitment to continuous learning and skill development. By investing in your skills, you create a foundation for long-term success and resilience in the face of evolving job markets. Whether through formal education, online courses, or hands-on experience, the effort put into elevating your skills today is an investment in a more secure and fulfilling professional future.

Elevating your skills in 2024 is a strategic imperative for personal and professional growth, and the 2024 Elevation Journey Weekly Planner is your indispensable companion on this transformative path. Designed to help you navigate the uncharted territories within yourself with purpose and clarity. Seamlessly linking to the imperative of skill elevation, the planner’s unique features align perfectly with the challenges and opportunities of the evolving year.

To elevate and transform your skills journey we have made our 70-20-10 learning planner available as a free trial in December 2023 – Download your FREE copy here.

Elevate your life, enhance your skills, and let the adventure begin!

The Magic of the MasterChef Masterclass.

December is one of my favourite times of the year. Its about family, fun, laughter and MasterChef!

Our family has a Christmas eve tradition where we watch a MasterChef Masterclass by one of the original Australian Judges. George would expertly navigate his way around the kitchen while schooling the eager contestants in the art of preparing the perfect meal. Imagine for a moment, a cooking demonstration, The chef, skilled and charismatic, not only shows the process but also explains the why behind each step, answering questions and offering tips. This immersive experience leaves you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the culinary arts, far beyond any recipe book.

This is the power of live training. Just like that chef’s demonstration, formal training sessions (the foundational 10% of the 70-20-10 learning model) provide a structured, engaging environment where learners can interact directly with experts. It’s where complex concepts are broken down, immediate feedback is received, and a deeper, more comprehensive understanding is achieved.

Back to Christmas eve…….with our MasterChef aprons adorned we attempt to repeat the culinary lessons in a family Christmas cook off. Seldom are we able to replicate the magic of the lesson witnessed but I have noticed that each year we improve in our preparation and execution. However, the participation, fun and engaging banter always enhances the experience we share together.

Think of formal training as the cornerstone of your personal growth architecture. It’s like a focused retreat from the daily grind where you immerse yourself in new concepts and skills. This structured environment is akin to a nurturing greenhouse where your professional capabilities are cultivated under expert guidance. Here, in these sessions, you’re not just acquiring skills; you’re undergoing a transformative experience that shapes your thinking, boosts your confidence, and refines your approach to challenges.

As you reflect on your victories and lessons in 2023 you should also be motivated to move forward with a roadmap of personal development in 2024. In Craig Groeschel’s book “The Power to Change” he states that defining your win is where you begin.

Here are 3 quick steps to assist you with your personal development and growth in 2024:

1. Identify areas of change that will help you increase your influence, grow your skills and elevate your thinking. If you need help, try our needs analysis tool. 

2. Commit to formal training and put it in your calendar – what doesn’t get scheduled won’t get done. Take a look at our public calendar for 2024 and if you book and pay before the 31st of January 2024 you can claim a 25% discount with this code: GRO24

3. Make sure you apply your recently acquired skills in the appropriate environment. At this point your aim is progress not perfection. To elevate and transform your skills journey we have made our 70-20-10 learning planner available as a free trial in December 2024 – Download your FREE copy here. 

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
— Benjamin Franklin

Join us next month as we delve into combining the power of 70-20-10 for a comprehensive learning strategy. Until then, let’s embrace the spirit of the season and the transformative power of learning!

As we approach the end of 2023, we want to take a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude to each of our clients for being an integral part of our journey and contributing to our shared success. Your commitment and collaboration have truly made a difference.

As we look back on the lessons and victories of 2023, we are filled with gratitude for the opportunities to learn and grow together. Thank you for being with us on this exciting adventure.

Looking ahead to the promising horizon of 2024, we eagerly anticipate continuing this journey of growth and success with you. Here’s to another year of collaboration, learning, and shared accomplishments.

Wishing you a joyous holiday season filled with growth, success, and the warmth of shared experiences. We look forward to another year of fruitful collaboration and achievement in 2024!

2024 Elevation Journey Weekly Planner – Order Form

Are you ready to embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery with our brand-new, proudly South African 2024 Elevation Journey Weekly Planner?

Complete the form below to place your order.


2024 Elevation Journey Weekly Planner – Free Sample

Are you ready to embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery with our brand-new, proudly South African 2024 Elevation Journey Weekly Planner?

Complete the form below to access a FREE sample. It’s not your average planner – think of it as your personal guide to uncharted territories within yourself. It serves as a visual roadmap, allowing you to outline your priorities, set achievable goals, and allocate time efficiently.


The Impact Compass

A Guide to Your Next Big Move

MORE THAN JUST A PLANNER: Our “Impact Compass” is more than a navigational tool; it grants you exclusive monthly access to enriching content that aligns with the planner’s themes.

This indispensable toolkit will enhance your 2024 journey, offering guidance and support as you navigate toward your goals throughout the upcoming year.

Think on values, ignite passion, focus your laser beam of impact – this planner is your launchpad to a year of purpose-driven action.

But here’s the deal: We’re not just throwing you a compass and saying “good luck.” We’re your impact Sherpas, guiding you every step of the way. Think:

Monthly Impact Compass drops: Fresh perspectives, practical exercises, and mindset hacks to keep you soaring.
Journaling prompts: Dive deep into self-discovery, celebrate milestones, and chart your unique path.

Still not convinced? Then watch this short video to see how to make the most of your planner to navigate your uncharted territories of impact:

 

Ready to claim your impact throne? Order your 2024 planner, and let’s make 2024 the year your impact takes flight!

P.S. Don’t forget to share your journey with us on social media using #ElevationJourney! We can’t wait to celebrate your wins.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know!

Good morning fellow Rugby World Champions!

Have you ever wondered what transforms a good team into a great team? The answer often lies not in the hours of solo work but in the power of collaborative growth and mentorship—this is the “20%” we speak about in our focused learning model.

Back in 1997, I was an energetic and enthusiastic high school teacher who also had the responsibility of coaching first team cricket. The squad was departing for their first international tour to the UK where they would play eight matches followed by a final game against the Dutch U18 side in Den Hague. I had prepared myself and the team by attending the necessary cricket courses and by drawing on my recent experience of playing premier league cricket. I believed that through training and my personal experiences, the team would be well-equipped to represent their country, their school and themselves in unfamiliar conditions. At this point, I had also decided to reach out to a former old boy who had represented South Africa and had spent a few seasons playing county cricket for Somerset in the UK.

Jimmy Cook, former South African cricketer who played in three cricket Test matches and four One Day Internationals from 1991 to 1993, graciously accepted and spent time with me and the boys to unpack his experience of the English conditions and the match balls used there so that we could be best prepared for our trip. What a blessing to have Jimmy as mentor during this time. No matter what my experience in local conditions was or how much training and preparation we did, it became clear to me – You Don’t Know what you Don’t Know! I truly believe that the insights Jimmy shared with us as a team and as individuals, was a catalyst for our success on that tour and resulted in the team only losing one of their nine matches.

Studies reveal that effective mentorship can enhance performance by up to 25% because it accelerates learning through the wisdom of shared experiences. I saw that firsthand!

In our organizations, embracing this “20%” means creating robust mentorship programmes, nurturing a culture of feedback, and encouraging peer-to-peer learning. It’s here that the nuanced skills and tacit knowledge—rarely found in manuals – takes effect. At Kwelanga Training, we are not just a training provider, we see ourselves as a partner, equally invested in the growth and learning of our client’s people! So, I challenge you – Seek out an opportunity to engage a mentor or mentee. The 70-20-10 learning model suggests that only 10% of learning occurs through formal training. A further 20% of learning occurs from peer-to-peer or social learning, where individuals draw on the experiences of their team members to help activate the lessons acquired in formal training.

To this effect, we have introduced the Personal Elevation Plan to assist employees post training by facilitating conversations with peers and managers that strive to activate the training received. This month, we’re delving into strategies to maximize the “20%” in your learning and development initiatives. How can mentorship be structured effectively? What processes can encourage the most valuable feedback? How do you foster a culture of shared learning? Speak to us now about how our 70-20-10 learning model can be applied in your environment to achieve successful behavioural change.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

Join us next month when we address the critical “10%” – ensuring the impact of formal learning is felt long after the training ends. Until then, let’s celebrate our learning together!

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