SkillsPassport: Creating authentic impact

Closer scrutiny reveals that it has become imperative for stakeholders in the youth employability challenge to collaborate if they hope to achieve significant impact.

The main barriers to success in South Africa’s skills development agenda originate primarily within silo-driven interventions and poorly coordinated partnerships within and between the public and the private sectors. These issues have become costly on both a material and sociological level and require coordinated systemic interventions to achieve continued sustainability. Compounding the youth unemployment crisis, which is currently at 55.9 percent, is our economic growth at 0.7 percent Q1 2017* and the ever-changing world of work.

In South Africa, transformation legislation requires corporates to a reserve a percentage of their annual payroll for the development of unemployed individuals seeking career opportunities. Public and private institutions are seeking ways of responding more effectively to the evident skill gaps which must be addressed with these corporate funding reserves. Frequently, funders engage in interventions where multiple stakeholders cross paths with multiple beneficiaries without much thought for continuity of impact in the longer term, or the creation of jobs for the future. As a result, many young people who have benefited from skills development investments move through the development system only to end up back in the job market. Those who are successfully developed are equipped for very limited roles and may not have skills relevant to the evolving world of work. Sustainable skills development cannot occur in isolation as doing so culminates in a ‘spray and pray’ outcome rather than the sustainable development that is hoped for.

Youth moving through skills development towards a career are supported by a number of investors and training providers. It is therefore clear that youth skills development already solicits multiple stakeholders and a multi-tiered development investment already exists; we just don’t know about each other. These investments therefore do not look towards a shared vision or outcome and we have created models that suffer from tunnel vision. Questions like sustainability and impact to the benefit of a collective future are not sufficiently explored by either training providers or investors.

At SkillsPassport we believe that there is a need for a data platform to address this systemic shortcoming by tracking and monitoring candidates, investment and statistical impact in the short, medium and longer term. Framed on the SkillsPassport Platform, Training XchangeTM has been created and is modelled around a learner’s development journey and not solely on skills development spend or training outcomes in isolation. This is key, since an individual develops over time and it is not feasible to realise its impact without considering a longer-term view of sustainability. At the centre of the solution developed by GIC and SkillsPassport, lies the youth who are seeking skills development towards career opportunities. Through our model youth will gain visibility in an already saturated market and will benefit from consistent skills development support along their journey through various training interventions and employment opportunities. The platform provides a virtual environment which nurtures dignity, employability and self-confidence. Importantly the platform provides the youth with opportunities to take accountability for their own growth pathways and connects them with suitable career opportunities. The natural feedback loop created by the platform informs market needs which, in turn, guide investors and training provider efforts.

The SkillsPassport Platform

This platform also significantly provides solutions to a number of ancillary issues:

  • Members’ profile enhancement — SkillsPassport members will be visible for job opportunities as well as skills development opportunities that will make this possible.
  • Fund management — Coordinate funds management in real-time with statistical scenario planning for ongoing training and development, adding value to both the risk and impact management of investments.
  • Data management — Strategically leverage recruitment database and learner management systems to offer future market-relevant employment and training.
  • Management tools — Provide operational management support required to optimise past, current and future statistical perspectives of the learner’s progress and development/career pathways. This includes initiatives developing youth for a future skills market.
  • Integrated project management where experiential learning at a host site can be captured on the candidate profile.
  • Tracking and monitoring — all stakeholders to a learning intervention will have the functionally to track the ROI of training investments in real time.

Training XchangeTM is therefore geared to address the current gaps in the authentic transformation agenda resulting in real sustainable impact. The platform will connect candidates with development opportunities and offer investors and corporates systemic learner management data targeted at informing short, medium and long-term investments, risk management needs and a monitoring and evaluation functionality.

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