In our last article we introduced Optimum’s thinking regarding its development of what we call our BHAP philosophy, our bold plan to adapt to a Covid-19 world. We focussed on the changes that will occur in our customers’ contexts and markets and we identified the areas in which we could assist.
Furthermore, we spent time describing why we had to adapt quickly and identified the areas of our strategy that needed to be refined.
We also called on our customers and other interested parties, including those not presently customers or stakeholders, to collaborate with us.
In this article we describe what we have done to develop our end to end solution and refine our methodologies in line with our digital strategy. Before we discuss pre-registration, let’s first recap on our end to end solution model.
To strive for an end to end solution for our customers we identified three important customer touchpoints that not only frustrate customers currently but also need to be adapted to a digital post-COVID normal.
These three touchpoints are:
- Delivery of learning solution
- Post completion of the learning solution.
While we are adapting to the events brought on by COVID, we are also required to adapt to a bureaucratic, inefficient and strategically inept South African education system.
As an accredited training provider, the most challenging element is that we need to invest time and energy in the products of this system, so that they can have a chance to compete for places in the future digital working environment. Therefore pre-registration is so important.
In pre-registration, customers and organisations want to employ young, educated and motivated (but not yet employed) adults onto learnerships and apprenticeships, to provide knowledge, skills and work experience that will enable them to be quickly absorbed into the digital manufacturing environment.
This recruitment process costs time and effort, and it is not the organisation’s core business, as recruiting for training is not the same as recruiting for employment.
We know what is needed, and we have developed a battery of assessments and a system that can recruit, screen and assess potential learners using predominantly online facilities. These assessments will determine whether applicant’s have the numeracy, literacy and technical aptitude, as well as the emotional and personality attributes required for FMCG manufacturing and engineering. Furthermore, we assess for computer literacy, as our delivery methodology in the learning solution phase requires the use of a personal computer or tablet.
As stated before, we work with the products of an education system, that does not always provide fit for purpose skills and knowledge, so it would be morally incorrect to only select the best 150 or 200 from a group of 3000 or 4000 applicants, without providing for a secondary solution for those who were not successful.
We have developed a collaborative agreement with an NPO in a community that is a feeder to many of our customers. This NPO advocates for, and recruits, youth who are interested in careers in the FMCG Manufacturing environment. We work with the NPO to create a curriculum that develops the critical skills and behaviours that we require, and that we assess applicants against during learnerships.
We assist with the rollout of the curriculum and we provide opportunities to visit workplaces in the area. We assist in the delivery of a skills programme that provides credits to an occupational qualification.
This means that through the assessments and pre-development we can provide learners that are fit for purpose and able to achieve a learnerships quickly. As each learner will not only receive credit accumulation transfer (CAT) for the fundamentals because of their Grade 12 Certificate but also seamless Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for the unit standards completed in the skills programme at the NPO.
Allowing Optimum to pre-develop, recruit and select future employees onto a learnership or apprenticeship means the following:
- For a packaging learnership we can reduce the duration from fourteen months to six months.
- Because of pre-development and pre-assessment, we can improve our throughput rate and by adopting the pre-registration elements discussed above we can significantly reduce the cost of delivery of a learnership, without decreasing the quality of the programme.
- This enables us to focus on providing a digital solution that can include a tablet for each learner in the delivery of the learning solution touchpoint.
In the next article we will discuss the innovations we have implemented to improve the learning solution touchpoint.
Optimum would like to engage with interested customers to define their unique needs and provide a solution that best suits their specific context, access and dependence on data and technology, and appetite to transition to online learning.