By Jerome Zoutman, Director at DYNA Training
Without formal qualifications, career advancement can be exceptionally difficult. However, not everyone in South Africa is fortunate enough to have matriculated or studied further after high school. The PIVOT Learnerships have the potential to change that by opening opportunities for personal development and career growth that were not previously available to individuals. Since 2013, we have assisted more than 520 learners to obtain a nationally recognised qualification that allows them to step up into supervisory and management roles at work, equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to tackle new challenges and flourish at their jobs.
What is PIVOT?
PIVOT is a learning programme that facilitates individuals achieving a nationally recognised qualification in a manner that maximises time and impact. The two main options are:
- The Level 4 Supervisory Qualification
- The Level 5 National Certificate in Generic Management
The Level 4 Supervisory Qualification
This qualification is also known as a Further Education and Training Certificate and is a National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 4 achievement. Spanning one year in duration, this programme provides supervisors with practical skills along with a qualification equivalent to a matric. To qualify for entry to the programme, learners must have a minimum level of Grade 11 or a NQF Level 3 with maths (50% pass) or maths lit (60% pass). They can also complete a pre-training assessment to determine entry level. With 14 contact training days and assessment integrated into the process over 42 weeks, this makes it easier for supervisors to build the required portfolios of evidence.
Skills useful for work and life
Expected outcomes for an individual from the programme include the ability to clarify their work role and team contribution as well as an understanding of how to implement organisational strategy in their own team. This is done through the benchmarking of best-practice supervisory skills. Individuals also learn the importance and nuances of customer service and stakeholder engagement, as well as skills that will equip them to develop their teams, introduce new team members and handle conflict.
Work-specific knowledge covers verbal communication and meeting skills, business writing skills, the management of records and systems as well as the ability to manage time and work priorities. Individuals learn how to set and meet team performance goals and are assisted with developing problem-solving skills and solutions-oriented thinking. They are introduced to budgeting and given financial basics that are suitable for both work and life, along with being taught practical statistics and numeracy skills to guarantee a well-rounded skill set.
The Level 5 National Certificate in Generic Management
This programme requires learners to have a minimum entry level of Grade 12 or Matric or NQF Level 4. It is made more accessible by the fact that relevant work experience qualifies an individual for entry. It is also possible to complete a pre-training assessment to determine entry level. Through this programme, managers will develop practical skills and build a portfolio of evidence relating these skills to their specific work environment to obtain a formal qualification. The programme runs over one year, includes 15 contact training days, and gives individuals 42 weeks to build their portfolios.
Becoming effective managers
Driven by our unique Advanced Blended Learning Methodology, I have seen first-hand how candidates develop skills that assist them to promote innovation in the workplace by leveraging leadership approaches that help them to manage change and facilitate workplace relations. They develop skills in project and operational planning, effective decision-making while learning how to manage risk. They are equipped with basic mathematical and financial analysis skills to manage the finances of a business unit. Practical people-related experience is gained in managing diversity ethics as well as how to create an effective workplace culture through recruitment and selection, talent management, effective communication, conflict management and emotional intelligence.
Keeping learners engaged and challenged
These qualifications also include contact training and workplace engagement sessions along with unlimited telephonic and email support, which I have found to be instrumental in ensuring that learning outcomes and workplace results are realised and that participants remain engaged. Learners can reach out if they are uncertain or feel overwhelmed at any point.
Work that matters
I am extremely proud of the fact that our PIVOT programmes have an exit rate of between 85 and 90% of learners who complete their qualifications successfully. This is exceptionally important work, and although it is paid for by companies, we are completely focused on the learners that come through our programmes, ensuring that they get support at every level. Both qualifications can be accessed by individuals whether they are employed or unemployed.
Win-win for learners and companies
Not only does PIVOT facilitate learners in obtaining qualifications as quickly and effectively as possible, but it also opens funding and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) opportunities for employers, making it a mutually beneficial process that helps to fill educational gaps and increase skills levels in South Africa. I believe that this is of vital importance as we seek to tackle alarmingly high unemployment rates and skills shortages in the country.