Workplace Skills Plan / Annual Training Report
If your company contributes to the Skills Development Levy you must submit your Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) for the next year 28 April 2017. This will qualify your organisation for the Skills Development grant. But you must also ensure that you submit your Annual Training Report (ATR), showing your progress against your last WSP. If you fail to do so, you will forfeit the levy portion you are due to be allocated on submission of your WSP for the following financial year.
Why is skills development mandated in this way?
South Africa suffers from severe skills shortages in certain areas, which impacts our ability to be competitive in the global environment and to be as economically productive as we could be. We also have high rates of unemployment, rendering a significant proportion of our population disadvantaged and vulnerable. The government has introduced a number of initiatives designed to address these linked issues and create a more highly skilled and capable workforce. Government cannot do this alone so all companies with payroll in excess of R500 000 per annum must contribute 1% of the total salary bill as a skills levy to comply with the Skills Development Levies Act. These levies are then distributed by the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) back to employers who submit the WSP as a grant worth 50% of the levy.
The WSP and ATR are also key components of the B-BBEE scorecard, and failure to comply will impact negatively on a company’s B-BBEE status.
Why have a Workplace Skills Plan?
According to the Services SETA website, a WSP is “…a strategic document that articulates how the employer is going to address the training and development needs in the workplace.” We all recognise the need for training; most companies have a training department of some description. But a comprehensive skills development plan helps to ensure training is not only reactive to needs that emerge but is designed to develop the skills and talents of the organisation holistically so it can meet its strategic goals as well as the personal training needs of individuals. A good plan should address implementation issues and encourage a sustainable approach to skills development.
To be genuinely meaningful and effective, the WSP needs to have buy-in from all line managers and not be developed in isolation by training experts. Managers may not be the experts in designing training programmes, but they are the experts in the staff under their control and their skill levels and training needs. Line managers should also have departmental objectives and plans that feed into the greater organisational goals, so they should be in a position to link the skills planning to the organisation’s strategy.
How to develop a WSP
If you are new to doing this, or if you’ve done it before and are looking for ways to improve the process, here are some simple steps you can follow to develop your plan. And remember, EOH Human Capital can help you.
- Identify what skills you already have in the organisation.
The simplest way to do this is through a skills audit. There are different ways of performing the audit and you need to decide which is best for you. You could establish a panel of line managers and HR professionals and conduct a panel audit. This will result in a balanced view and is considered a fair way to undertake the audit. It may however be difficult to organise logistically.
You could opt for a consultant audit, where you bring in external consultants to interview managers and staff to inform their assessment. This eases the burden internally and is an objective approach; and helps to achieve the critical managerial buy-in mentioned above.
Or you could conduct a one-on-one audit, where employees are individually measured against a skills matrix. This is labour-intensive and may not be practical for organisations with a high staff turnover rate.
- Identify the skills that need to be developed
This involves reviewing the company’s strategic goals and priorities to determine what skills will help you achieve them. It is critical that line managers and managers with line of sight to the Organisational strategy, play an integrated role in this step.
- Decide on the best way to develop the skills.
Will you send employees on external courses? Bring in trainers to provide in-house training? Conduct on-the-job training and develop mentorships? At this step in the process the size of your organisation, the resources you have available and the nature of the skills needing to be developed will determine the methods selected. You may find it helpful to create a matrix setting out the occupations you have in your organisation; the means by which you will impart skills to the different occupations; how many people need to be trained; and what level of training is required, e.g. is a refresher course sufficient or is upskilling needed, are new skills emerging in that occupation that your employees don’t yet possess, etc.? Be sure to capture how the training will be delivered and what the cost will be. Remember also to note the number of disabled workers who will receive training and any challenges you anticipate in the execution of your WSP.
Now report on progress – the Annual Training Report
The ATR is submitted at the same time as the WSP, but it reports on progress against the previous year’s WSP. As mentioned above, failure to submit the ATR will result in suspension of the grant you would otherwise be entitled to for the coming year’s WSP. So it is important to take the ATR seriously. It is often seen as a compliance exercise, but in fact it is a helpful document that will enable you to measure the achievement of priorities in terms of skills and the progressive capacity development of your organisation…and therefore your competitiveness.
In the ATR you should report on:
- Number of training interventions delivered (and skills priorities addressed)
- Number of employees trained
- Occupational areas covered
- Learning methods used
- Training spend
- Process used to develop the report
- Name of the Skills Development Facilitator
At EOH Human Capital Solutions, we have extensive experience developing WSPs and ATRs. Let us take the strain and help you with yours. Contact us today on 012 940 6300 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll be glad you did.