Celebrating the Dynamic DNA Graduates Class of 2022 with Dynamic Technologies group companies (front row, l-r) Tendai Sanyamahwe, Business Unit Manager, Dynamic DNA; Karen Heydenrych, Communications Manager, DVT; Prudence Mathebula, Managing Director, Dynamic DNA; Bontle Songo, HR Executive, DVT; Neelofer Hoosen, Business Unit Manager (Programming), Dynamic DNA; Louise Gilbert, Training Manager, Inspired Testing. Back row (l-r): Tinashe Banya, Portfolio Manager, Dynamic DNA; Modikai Gatsheni, Business Unit Manager, Dynamic DNA; Adoniah Guzha, Academic Head, Dynamic DNA; and Shana Mbovu, Business Unit Manager, Dynamic DNA.
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Whether you choose to send employees to an offsite campus or training facility, or have candidates spend time at your offices, being involved in the upskilling process is good for your people, and good for business. Not only do you ensure that employees have all the right tech and soft skills for your business, in the bigger picture it helps to create a workforce that understands the importance of mentorship and building each other up. By creating a cycle of training and education within your industry, the talent pool gets stronger, and the quality of your future hires improves.
These programmes are a vital part of the upskilling process, particularly for those participating. But for the companies that invest time and manpower into training and skills development, the benefits are undeniable. A case in point is the work-based learnership programme implemented by Dynamic Technologies group company DVT, which provides an NQF qualification as well as soft skills that set both candidate and company up for better outcomes.
Bontle Songo, HR Executive of DVT says, “As employers, we are tasked with the responsibility to uplift our economy, upskill our youths, and bridge the wider gap of the scarcity of IT skills in South Africa. We do this through our learnership programmes. DVT works in partnership with [Dynamic Technologies group] sister company Dynamic DNA, upskilling youths mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds and giving them access to education that they would not have been able to afford.”
Dynamic DNA Talent Manager Sandy Macaulay agrees, “It is important to understand the value of teaching those scarce ICT skills that are needed for the country’s economic growth, social upliftment, and the adaptation to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). These programmes are also vital for closing skills and gender gaps in South Africa and can be used to increase diversity and inclusivity within an organisation,” she says.
“Our purpose is to drive investment in learnerships, to provide scarce IT and business skills and create a better future for young people with a strong technology aptitude,” explains Sandy. “Scarce skills and employment are our passion and core focus to the contribution of our economy. Together with accredited bodies and strategic partnerships with corporate and private companies, we drive investment in learnerships, bursaries, skills development programmes and internships, ensuring young people receive IT and business training qualifications at NQF level 3 to 6, whilst uplifting and developing our youth in a smooth and sustainable transition into the world of work.”
DVT’s Bontle says, “Since the learnership programme is a work-based learning programme, it provides theoretical and practical experience that leads to formal NQF qualifications in Systems Development or Business Analysis from NQF Level 4 – 6. Our goal at DVT is to grow these learners to become giants in their fields and to produce the skills we need in our own country.”
The power of learnerships
Learnership programmes provide a way for people looking to upskill themselves. A good learnership programme will include a strong focus on facilitating workplace placement for each graduate. Learners should also receive the practical and soft skills necessary to improve their employability such as communication skills, work etiquette, time management, and presentation skills.
“A learnership provides a practical, blended approach to learning. Because we operate in the tech space, our learners undertake projects that include practical skills such as web designing, coding, and developing, either online or on-campus,” says Sandy Macaulay “Dynamic DNA brings in outside mentors and industry experts, and also stays abreast of current trends. IT moves incredibly fast, so it is important to provide practical and theoretical experience in technologies that are current, up-to-date, and relevant”.
Learnerships are facilitated by Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) to ensure NQF-aligned programmes that result in recognised qualifications and on-the-job training, which are essential for creating better employment and self-employment opportunities. For example, DVT’s IT Systems Development and Finance Bookkeeping programmes are registered with the MICT SETA.
The DVT learnership programme entails one year to acquire an NQF level 5, followed by another 12 months in which learners may achieve an NQF level 6 (Diploma) qualification. “The benefits of a learnership programme with DVT are that you get an opportunity to fast track gaining skills and knowledge and get to be mentored by industry leaders,” says Bontle. “This is invaluable exposure that can help put what you have learned and the skills you have gained into practice. You receive real work experience while studying, which solidifies what you have learnt, and which has a real impact on your personal and career development and growth. Ultimately this impacts your employability, giving you a head start over many of your peers. The learners are mentored and coached by some of DVT’s top employees, gaining valuable experience in their chosen field while also gaining vital soft skills.
Leading on from learnerships are internships, or fixed-term contracts, which take place on a business premises. Interns are usually graduates with a complete qualification who are working onsite. This exposes them to the day-to-day workings of the company and provides practical exposure to the skills and processes they learnt during their qualification. Internships should be done through firms that are dedicated to upskilling and developing local talent, and who offer marketable learnings and experience, or qualifications, and who will consider interns for full-time positions.
Building a better workforce
It can be tricky navigating the corporate world. Soft skills are integral to success, but if a new employee isn’t naturally good at communicating and hasn’t experienced a corporate role model, how do they learn these skills? Learnerships and internships fill in these gaps. Dynamic DNA’s Sandy Macaulay says, “We emphasise to our learners that when they undertake a learnership, they need to go into it with the end in sight – improving their skills, knowledge, and interpersonal behaviour. The stipend is important, but it cannot be their only goal. What they need to remember is that it’s a competitive space. They need to get noticed for their academic achievements, their attendance, and their attitude. It’s challenging, but it mirrors real world workplaces.”
On behalf of Dynamic Technologies
Wilkins Ross Communications
Karin van Blerk