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Emmarentia Booysen | 20 February 2024

Emmarentia Booysen, National Skills and Business Development Manager for CTU Training Solutions, has been in the industry for over 25 years and is well-placed to highlight trends in the rapidly evolving skills development sector.

Booysen is taking the vast store of knowledge that she’s built up over the years in the skills development environment and putting it to good use at CTU Training Solutions. “Not only do we have to stay abreast of the latest developments, but we also have to ensure that our programs are promoted to existing and potential new clients.”

Booysen ensures that CTU’s skills development programs reflect the growth and changes that occur in the South African skills development environment. She assists in designing curricula, registering programs for skills development and assisting with accreditations to run certification programs.

She is based at the training provider’s Western Cape campus and is quick to highlight that it’s not just a student campus. “We assist businesses with learnerships, internships, skills development, short courses and vendor-specific programs. We’re able to provide programs to upskill their staff or unemployed youth, which adds to their B-BBEE scorecard and enables them to claim VAT rebates. We also consider how to incorporate legacy qualifications in the skills development environment to assist clients in running successful programs.”

Evolving skills development trends

In South Africa’s learning and development sector, one of the biggest challenges is balancing socioeconomic factors with evolving industry demands. “This requires a balanced understanding of how digital transformation, B-BBEE compliance and industry-specific training needs influence learning and development strategies,” says Booysen.

She highlights five current trends that are impacting how skills development programs are rolled out:

  • Learners must be provided with personalised, meaningful and supportive learning experiences.

  • Less focus on authority and more on insight, values, personal accountability and action.

  • AI-based and adaptive learning that includes AI coaching, data-driven learning analytics and adaptive learning platforms.

  • Continuous learning to stay relevant and competitive.

  • Soft skills development.

The landscape of skills development is evolving rapidly, driven by the fast pace of technological advancements, changing work environments and global mega trends. Businesses must prepare their workforce for these changes.

First and foremost, human skills are taking centre stage, says Booysen. “Organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of human skills alongside technical competencies. These include curiosity, insight, empathy and resilience. The latter quality plays a critical role in problem-solving, allowing us to navigate obstacles and find alternative solutions.”

Then there’s increasing focus on personalisation and transferable skills, where learning and reskilling approaches are shifting from one-size-fits-all to personalised experiences. “Organisations want to develop transferable skills that enhance professional resilience and adaptability. Skills like emotional intelligence, collaboration and critical thinking are relevant across roles and industries.”

Finally there’s digital transformation across all industries and sectors, together with industry-specific training. “South Africa faces unique challenges in learning and development. Factors like digital transformation, B-BBEE compliance and industry-specific needs impact learning and development strategies.”

While the onus is on businesses to ready their own workforces for these changes, it also places pressure on the training provider. Booysen says challenges faced by both business and training providers include aligning learning programs to business goals; upskilling employees and the unemployed communities; creating a culture of learning; and improving employee retention by making people more employable.

Her single best piece of advice for businesses to overcome these challenges is to partner with a training provider that is knowledgeable about the trends, challenges and constant changes in the skills development space. “Your training provider should be able to assist with assessing the skills gaps within your business, planning and actioning learning interventions, and creating an exceptional learning experience for the learners, ensuring a stronger, more knowledgeable and employable workforce.”

Skills for sectors

Booysen says certain skillsets overlap regardless of industry or sector. She goes on to list skills that cut across all industries and sectors:

  • Management and leadership skills: Effective management and leadership are essential in all sectors. This includes skills such as leading a team, making strategic decisions or ensuring efficient operations.

  • Technical proficiency: Industries such as engineering, IT and manufacturing demand technical expertise. Skills like programming, data analysis and process optimisation are valuable across the board.

  • Communication skills: Clear communication is crucial in any workplace. Whether it’s conveying ideas, collaborating with colleagues or interacting with clients, strong communication skills are universally beneficial.

  • Customer service: Regardless of the industry, providing excellent customer service is vital to any business.

  • Adaptability and problem-solving: Employees who can adapt, think critically and solve problems creatively thrive in any setting.

All of these skills and more are covered by CTU Training Solutions’ arsenal. “We offer career-focused qualifications, short courses and international certifications. IT skills gaps – such as those required around AI and the 4IR – can be bridged with learnerships,” concludes Booysen.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’


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