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Importance of adult education and upskilling the workforce

Muhammad Bham |
26 February 2023 | 10:00 AM CAT
3 min read

Photo Credit: PwC

The success of a small business is in its human capital.

Since 2020, there has been an unprecedented change for employees and the companies they work for as new job functions emerged that were previously non-existent. Employees became accustomed to working from home as it provided more flexibility.

Flexibility allows employers to obtain the best talent whilst allowing staff the freedom to work, travel, and study. It increases creativity and productivity in the workplace.

To achieve growth, companies should focus on upskilling and supporting their employees, which leads to adult learning and continuous learning.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, Khalil Patel, who has a background in adult learning and development, said adult learning is a critical part of business functioning, especially for first-time workers who graduate from college or school entering into a career with minimal practical workplace experience.

This may be sufficient as an entry point in their careers, but as technology evolves and develops, employees must be able to stay up-to-date and upskill. Adult education ensures that the workforce retains the competence and ability to remain updated in the relative legislation and policies to ensure the business functions effectively without exposing it to risk.

The most costly thing an organisation omits is investing in their employees because having unskilled or not sufficiently skilled employees can often be more costly from a risk perspective. Investing in employees is vital to ensure employees have the necessary skills to maintain operations and improve business efficiencies, ultimately making the business more profitable.

The returnable investment to companies is far higher with the correct people with the right skills

In South Africa, robust legislation governs learning and development within a workspace; employers additionally benefit from a government that incentives workforce development. Companies can access mandatory grants from their relevant sector education training authority, with a portion of tax deductions going to the skills development levy collected by SARS and handed over to relevant sector education training authorities, which in turn disburse funds to employers and companies who can meet specific criteria in terms of their reporting of development of their workforce.

Listen to the full interview here.


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