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The World Economic Forum has prioritised the reskilling and upskilling of a billion people within the next decade. They have invited nations like South Africa to join the movement by reviewing its education, training, and development plans with the intention on reskilling or upskilling the workforce.

President Cyril Ramaphosa echoed this vision in his State of the Nation Address (SONA2021), where he advised that government would be releasing the long-awaited critical skills list for South Africa. “Skills Development plays a vital role in the growth of any country’s economy, service delivery industries and technological improvements. This is imperative in the wake of the current pandemic so the President’s commitment to this sector is crucial for skills, and social development,” says Daniel Gibhard, CEO at SDC (Skills Development Corporation).

To effectively reskill a team or group of people requires funding. Fortunately, in South Africa, our skills development sector is governed by the Skills Development Act that aims to improve the quality of life for workers, their prospects of work and labour mobility. This provision allows for South African businesses that meet the necessary legislative requirements, to claim up to 60% of their skills development levy back from their specific SETA (Skills Education Training Authorities) provided the required skills development submissions are made.

One of which is the Workplace Skills Plan which is a plan intended to document and address the skills needed within an organisation. This is significant in a tough economic climate as businesses are afforded the privileged opportunity for companies to focus and develop specific skillset shortages that can help both the business itself, and its most valued asset – the people, grow.

The governance around skills development and the applications thereof is strictly controlled. An Annual Training Report (ATR) needs to be included with the WSP submission, and this has to be done by a Skills Development Facilitator or qualified individual. “Amidst a sea of corruption uncertainty, the idea of government prioritising education for our people is reassuring, especially as the process is so strictly controlled,” says Melissa van Aswegen, ETQA Manager at The Skills Development Corporation.

The submission of the WSP is made by way of a proposal or skills development plan that complies with the Skills Development Act‘s legislative obligations. Any company that has a total annual staff payroll of more than R500k is required to pay a skills levy.

Failure to submit will result in the following;

•           No points for the Skills Development Element on your BEE Scorecard

•           Mandatory Grants cannot be claimed back from your SETA

•           A drop in your BEE Level as Skills Development is a Priority Element

The deadline to submit WSP’s and ATR’s is 30 April 2021.