Industry review: addressing skills mismatch at workplaces

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Last year, a world bank report indicated that innovative firms are concerned with the practical experience and skills provided by the education and training systems.

Employers find that the public education system does not produce graduates with practical experience. Moreover, they find that graduates from technical training and vocational institutes do not meet the required skills.

The report dubbed Kenya: Capturing Skills Requirements and Assessing Skills Gaps in the Modern Economy noted that skills have a positive impact on individuals’ earnings, independently from education.

An additional year of education increases earnings by 6.5 percent, but this effect is reduced by two percentage points when socio-emotional, technical and cognitive skills are taken into account. Openness (including both creativity and flexibility), conscientiousness (ambition to do a task well) are correlated with higher earnings, as are cognitive skills like problem solving and learning and technical skills like computer use.

Given this, HR practitioners have rolled out innovative training models to address skills mismatch at workplaces, respond to changing global trends

According to Annual Training Evaluation Compendium In Africa, Ateca, despite technological advancements that are redefining business operations, growing competition among organizations to hire and retain top talent and worrying skills mismatch in the workplace, institutions have not put in place requisite learning and development systems to bridge skills gap, cultivate relationships in the workplace, ensure employee satisfaction and grow bottom lines, experts have said.

Human resources practitioners and training managers continue to grapple with a fast changing business landscape that requires constant skills upgrade and a growing demand for personal development from staff coming at a time when reports point to a worrying trend where both leaders and staff lack organizational skills to take their businesses to the next level.

But even as employees express appetite for learning and development training that have proved effective in an organization’s well-being, studies indicate that there hasn’t been commensurate investment in them by organizations.

Training under scrutiny

A recently released report conducted by City & Guilds Group business Kineo, a leading global skills organization, indicate that while employees around the world have a strong appetite for learning, they are inhibited by a lack of accessible, appropriate and engaging training opportunities. The study that surveyed 6500 employees and 1300 employers across 13 markets among them Kenya, South Africa and UK found that while 79 per cent of employees expressed interest in seeing a bigger focus on training and people development in their workplace, 85 per cent are currently struggling to access training in their workplace.

But even the existing training programmes have also come under scrutiny with only 16 per cent of those surveyed in the study finding them effective and relevant to their growth and that of their organizations. As the workplace learning and development programmes fail to meet employee’s expectations, the staff are looking at personalized alternatives with the research indicating that 6 out of the ten employees surveyed invested their personal time in learning, education or training activity, and 59 per cent had sought online advice, guidance or e-learning solutions.

It is against this backdrop that players in the Training, Learning and Development industry among them Human Resource and Development practitioners, Training Managers and coordinators, Capacity Development experts, Curriculum and skills development experts, innovators and investors are set to meet in Nairobi Kenya from December 3 to 5 2019 for the Annual Training Evaluation Compendium in Africa, ATECA, conference, the first of its kind in the region. Themed ‘Value and Accountability in Training Management and Human Resource Development Investments,’ the gathering is looking at placing a pulse on the current learning systems and technologies while championing for increased investment in modern training models that makes business sense to African organizations and their workforce. It will target corporate, academia, Not-for-Profit, government and International Development institutions.

“Due to technological advancements and globalization, our working environment is constantly changing, there is a focus on “employee-driven” or “user centric” learning approaches. It is essential that we understand what this actually mean for us in Africa. Companies invest billions on learning management systems adopted globally that may or may not be suitable for circumstances that employees operate in, said Catherine Jura Director of Learning and Development at Edify Learning Forum Africa, ELFA, the conveners of the conference.

The conference intends to also develop an open source compendium of best practices that will bolster and harmonize training, learning and development among African organizations while aligning them to emerging global trends.

“Organizations world-wide have acknowledged the connection between corporate learning development and business sustainability.  The current trend and emphasis is on creating and designing a ‘learning organization’ that has acquired skill-sets in creating, interpreting, transferring, retaining and managing knowledge.  It is unfortunate that the effectiveness and the appropriateness of the learning organization model in Africa still leaves a lot to be desired, hence, the need to have this compendium,” added Mrs. Jura.

ATECA Conference is a multi-disciplinary collaborative leadership forum an event that brings together communities of practitioners, innovators and investors in the training, learning and development industry as well as the human resource development field.

ATECA 2019 offers a host of global speakers and experts as well as delegates from multiple sectors including Corporate, Academia, Not-for-Profit, Government and International Development.

The programme is designed to combine advanced insights into data and learning analytics with skillshare opportunities to explore training and learning technologies. Topics and content include: Setting Monitoring and Evaluation systems for programme learning, Learning analytics, eLearning, Adaptive Learning, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and more.

Also Read: Kenya’s job market showcases huge gap between skills and job needs

Yvonne Kawira is an award winning journalist with an interest in matters, regional trade, tourism, entrepreneurship and aviation. She has been practicing for six years and has a degree in mass communication from St Paul’s University.

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