Tips on surviving a 12 month Learnership

Dear Funding Company.

Congratulations on embarking on your first unfunded Learnership!

I am quite sure your organisation would like to see a measurable return on investment.

The beginning of a Learnership can be quite stressful for a new company to manage, so we have put together some basic tips and solutions to help this be a smoother experience.

Understanding where your learners come from
Most of your learners will be from outlying rural areas. You may try to recruit matriculated learners, however if you are required to train disabled learners, most of them were unable to pass Matric.

Learners entering a Learnership do not go through the usual rigorous process used to employ full time staff members – they are, after all, unemployed with limited skills.

They may never have worked in a formal company before and therefore won’t be aware of all the rules and regulations.

How does the knowledge above help you to help your learners?

Attendance in class and at the Workplace
Your Code of Conduct is very important ~ emphasising your expectations, disciplinary procedures and consequences with the learners at their Induction should ensure a faster on-boarding process and creates a sense of buy-in.

Discuss the importance of attendance and punctuality as well as the consequences of tardiness and/or absenteeism (a quick mention of stipend deductions usually sorts this out). Tea and lunch breaks are a must to explain, as is obtaining a commitment from learners to follow your canteen/kitchen rules (be clear on what can or cannot be consumed on your premises).

Remember most learners with disabilities will be required to visit the clinic monthly, so please address notice periods and procedures for this.

Completion of assignments in class and back at the Workplace
In class learners will complete theory knowledge-based questions on what they’ve learnt for the day. Back in the Workplace they need to complete Assignments which are practical.

Introducing a new role in your company – a Mentor.
You will probably ask your HR Manager to fulfil this role ~ we highly suggest you appoint a few mentors from your existing staff to manage learners.

We encourage the Mentors to be involved in the Induction process so that everyone is clear about expectations and times the learner can have access to the Mentor. We highly suggest your mentors set times with the learners to discuss the requirements for the day, this should be monitored – perhaps through a daily feedback report for learners which is completed and handed to their mentor at the end of the day.

It is important for your Mentor to see this as an opportunity within your Company to develop their leadership skills. We find that when Mentors work closely with the training company and know what assignments the learners need to complete the Mentor has sufficient time to prepare.

Access to resources
Learners will need access to a desk, chair and computer with internet and email access as well as the usual office stationery and the ability to print as/when required.

Learners will need to be able to create Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and usually have limited knowledge and experience with the use of these programmes. They will also need to use the internet for research purposes and will be required to print and collate information.

What is your IT Policy with regards to learner access to the server, company information and IP? We suggest your IT Division restricts access to only the required items and limits social media access.

Your guidelines to classroom and Workplace presentability
If your company has a strict uniform policy, it might be a great idea to provide a uniform to your learners whilst they are in the Workplace. This will alleviate any challenges with inappropriate workwear. If this is not possible, we suggest you show the Learners pictures of what is and is not acceptable.

Meeting the Boss!
Most unemployed Learnerships are a result of the Founding Member or Director wanting to give back to society. They see this as an opportunity to upskill unemployed learners. So as much as they have paid for the training and monthly stipends, they want to see a return on investment. Their expectation is to see the learner come out with a skill that can be used in the working world.

We have found that when learners meet “the boss” and hear their WHY for the funding ~ and their expectations ~ the learners are more committed to attending class and the Workplace as they are now part of a bigger vision for their lives.

Lending learners money
We highly discourage this. Enough said.

Graduation Day
This makes “the Boss” smile! This is the return on investment that makes most business owners proud. We highly encourage funding companies to be involved in the graduation process. After all, the learners have spent 12 months completing assignments and trying really hard with all their newly learnt skills. A great opportunity for photos with family, friends and “the Boss” (funding company).

For Training Providers needing us to capacity build your funding companies to prepare them for Learnerships, please contact us or call Lindsay on 087 150 1554 .