Demand Driven Training Toolkit Launch

Background

Over the past year Making Cents International has collaborated with the Rockefeller Foundation‘s Digital Jobs Africa (DJA) Initiative to conduct research and develop resources to support the successful adoption and scaling of Demand-Driven Training (DDT) for employment programs. This work is designed to address the mismatch between employer needs and youth skills by strengthening the capacity of youth training providers and institutions in South Africa and globally, and follows over 5 years of effort under DJA to catalyse new jobs for youth.

Toolkit

As a result of this work they have now released their Demand-Driven Training Toolkit. The toolkit provides how-to information, tools, and resources so that education and training providers can better align education and training programs with employer needs. The Toolkit was developed with input from leading South African and global institutions which tailor their interventions to address employer needs. It is an easy-to-read, practical resource that can help institutions and their partners become more effective. The Toolkit is intended to support workforce education and training providers in adopting more labour aligned programs through a practical approach.

Download the toolkit

You can download the tool here or here.

The toolkit is an interactive PDF with clickable links. There are also links to many additional resources.

Contact us

We and our partners are launching a programme to promote the Toolkit in South Africa and perhaps even beyond.

If you want to discuss it further, feel free to contact us here – DDT Toolkit Response Form. You can also email ddt-toolkit at xasa.co.za.

 

Launch

The global launch of the toolkit took place on Thursday 19 October at Emoyeni Conference Centre, Parktown, Johannesburg.

See more here:

Photo: Liz Moore
DDT Toolkit Launch – Photo Liz Moore

ESCO – the European OFO

The EU has launched ESCO V1.

This is the first full version of the European classification of Skills, Competences, Occupations and Qualifications (ESCO).

It identifies and categorises skills, competences, qualifications and occupations relevant for the EU labour market and related education and training. It systematically shows the relationships between the different aspects.

This what we (Dept. of Labour Task Team) envisaged the OFO could become when we started developing it in 2005/6. We were ahead of the curve then. We were sharply criticised at the time for trying to create an alternative NQF (i.e. an alternative to the NSBs and learning fields).

The EU tool shows what  rigorous development can achieve. ESCO is  based on ISCO ’88, as was the OFO from version 2010 onwards. It seems to have been developed at unit group level (4 digits) rather than at occupational level (6 digits). So each group contains quite lengthy lists of related occupations and specialisations

What seems to be really well done is how the skills, competencies, knowledge etc have been cross- referenced across occupations and how it deals with transversal skills.

For those who are interested in skills development this is an immense source of information. The should speed up the development of occupational qualifications –  Qualification Development Facilitators and working groups can use this as one of the starting points.

When last did you attend a course?

I was asked today “When last did you attend a course?”

“Do you mean as a participant or as a facilitator?”

“As a participant!”

I had to think for a long time. Yes, I have attended a few courses as a facilitator, though not too many. I usually facilitate capacity building workshops which have a focus beyond what would be a “course”.

Without referring back to my diaries I eventually settled on 1998. Nearly 20 years ago. It was billed as a workshop but consisted of an old gentleman sitting at the front and working his way through a manual and occasionally asking us to respond to sets of questions. I didn’t attend to become a better supervisor. I attended to learn how to change modes of delivery, from courses to workshops.

“I didn’t learn much about either,” I told the person who had asked the question. We had a good laugh.

Then I referred her to Jane Hart’s recent Modern Workplace Learning article: What does the 6th annual Learning in the Workplace Survey say about the state – as well as the future – of L&D? Link

Read it. It summarises what many authors have been saying for years. People don’t need courses or external interventions in order to learn. They just do it when they strike an issue or problem.

Draft Amendment of the NQF Act of 2008

DHET has published a bill to amend the NQF Act. Download

There’s whole lot of stuff related to private and foreign providers. But also a series of clauses related to fraudulent or misrepresented qualifications.

But the most alarming clauses are the following:

32A Obligations to report fraudulent qualifications
All education institutions and employers have a legal obligation to report fraudulent qualifications to SAQA.
32B Obligations to refer qualifications of employees to the SAQA
(1) All employers must refer qualifications of employees to SAQA for validation and verifications; and
(2) The employer must include an acknowledgement form signed by the purported holder of the qualification to publish the outcome of SAQA verification in the public domain in the event of invalid qualifications presented to the employer. ”

So with circa 11 million employees in the formal sector is SAQA going to be up to this task?

The bill also seems to make it easier for private providers and foreign-based providers to become part of the system.

20 years ago – wrappping up the EMP project

20 years ago we were doing a roadshow on the outcomes of the NQF Pilot project for Engineering & Manufacturing Processes. Funded by the Department of Labour it’s goal was to try and provide a test bed for the proposed conceptual basis of the National Qualifications Framework – in this case primarily unit standards.

It had been a stressful process involving many stakeholders who had not engaged previously, professional bodies, unions, business – mostly in the form of trainers, education institutions (what we later started to call education and training providers) and an examination body (the Independent Examination Body).

From time to time I bump into one the alumni of that process – alumni because we all graduated from there having learned so much.

I often run a workshop exercise which asks the question – what was your most powerful learning experience. I always choose this one although it’s touch and go between that and eventually mastering the kink at the end of the main straight at the Lichtenberg race track. A story for another day.

What I learned during this project was to facilitate processes. There were no hand books or guidelines for facilitation. The World Wide Web was new. There was no Google, in fact very few search engines at all. I had to transition from WordPerfect to Microsoft Office, from DOS to Win 3.11.

We had two sets of working groups. One started on a Monday and worked through to 19:30 and then finished up shortly at lunch on the Tuesday. The next set arrived on the Thursday and left Friday pm after a similar long Thursday. Wednesday was recovery day.

I had to learn to manage conflict, steer people in the right direction, recognise when groups were headed for the edge of the cliff. And lead the development of taxonomies for essential embedded knowledge, skills and assessment criteria .

But what a rush – it was learning to race motorbikes all over again, switching from driving to racing.

We focused on learning in the workplace. So it was a pity SAQA never had any real interest in what we learned and achieved. And sadly they still haven’t got the message today, 20 years later. They still haven’t realised their first objective: create an integrated national framework for learning achievements

They still confuse teaching and learning. Poor benighted fools

Activity-based learning modules

I spent time with another client this week developing activity-based learning modules. It was a manufacturing company which is introducing a new apprenticeship.

Even though we had previously used this approach as a starting point we had kept on being dragged back into the content-based approach.

First we heard suggestions such as, “You need to give the learners something.” Then we heard suggestions like, “You’ll have to compile a set of resources for the facilitator,” or “Put together a comprehensive set of x in the training room so the learners don’t have to go a find them in the factory.”

We did succumb to the latter two suggestions and compiled a set of resources. But the facilitators told us quite categorically that they don’t need them, “The guys will know!”

Content-based meant that the facilitators were in charge. Activity-based meant that the learners were in charge and the facilitators merely provided guidance.

So the guidelines to facilitators became phrases such as, ” Make sure that they have created at least 3 categories of x” or “If they don’t find relevant information of the WWW suggest this site, http…”.

In this case we ended up with four documents which made up the module:

  1. Learner guide
  2. Facilitator guide
  3. Assessment instrument
  4. Assessment guide.

15 of the 16 people who arrived as “experts” had never facilitated before. Yet within 20 minutes they had understood and supported the underlying logic of the modules. They were even willing to become facilitators if this was the approach.

I had a similar experience when using activities as the underlying basis of modules in a totally different industry and with a total different set of skills.

There will be more to come in the next few posts

Mindfulness

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a a highly stressed young professional. I suggested using mindfulness to reduce stress levels and described a few techniques she could try.

This, in turn, triggered a memory of a workshop that ‘went wrong’ in the early 2000s.

Freddy had attended a mindfulness ‘bosberaad’ -a meeting in the bush to discuss weighty matters-  and couldn’t stop talking about it. The concept was new. So, too, were the concepts of skills development & workplace learning. I used a pause as Freddy caught breath to get back to group work. I couldn’t get my head around the cognitive dissonance of mindfulness and a bosberaad. So I asked the groups to consider how mindfulness could be applied to workplace learning and skills development.

Initially the groups stuttered along. A couple of groups asked Freddy to explain a point or two and then, suddenly, the groups were firing on cylinders.

By the end of the session the groups were so enthusiastic and eager that each report back became an extended larger group discussion.

The overall conclusion was that skills development and workplace learning were a form of mindful practice. You, the novice,  had to give up thinking like “Blooms taxonomy” and start to pay attention to what was around you. You had to focus on the people, the processes, the interactions and other situational cues and clues. You had to let go of theory and take on a non-judgemental attitude and be present in the moment. During your work experience you had to learn to take in information with your senses.

Then someone asked, “What about reflection?” It was one of the fashion terms of the time (it could still be). At first it was a show-stopper question. But within a few minutes the responses started bubbling up – the energy levels were high and the creative juices were running strong.

Without being present in the moment what could you later actually reflect on? Mindfulness was a precursor to reflection. Without focusing on the “theories-in-use”, as opposed to the “espoused theories” taught in the classroom, you would never be able to decode actual practice.

The discussion shifted the goal posts so far that I couldn’t return to the workshop programme.

Nor did I need to.