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Importance of training, certifications and continuous skilling

By Impactful | 31 Mar, 2023
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The importance of training, certifications and continuous skilling

SA faces many challenges in respect of both training and employment. Organisations like Impactful Specialist Solutions offer courses and continuous skills development approaches that help the youth to both obtain and retain employment.

South Africa faces the unique challenge of having a very large percentage of young people in its population, while also having a youth unemployment figure – the share of the labour force aged 15-24 – that sits at around 64%. Clearly, something needs to be done to make the youth more employable, and to provide them with relevant skills for the digital age.

Impactful Specialist Solutions recognises the importance of such youth development, particularly its potential impact on unemployment, and as such, the company offers a range of certifications that can serve the purpose of continuous upskilling, creating an ongoing series of building blocks for their career paths.

According to Robert Williams, a specialist trainer at Impactful, having skills is not enough, at least not in the IT arena. This is because the evolution of this sector is happening so rapidly that it is now imperative to continuously upskill.

“It is vital for anyone working in this field to stay ahead of the curve, especially as new technologies are constantly introduced. It is important not to get stuck in a rut, because the moment you no longer have relevant skills, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep your job,” he says.

“As a trainer, my advice to anyone who considers IT to be their passion or their choice of career, is to never remain still - you must be willing to learn constantly and consistently.”

Fellow trainer, Trevor Jones, agrees, noting that in a digitally transforming world, everything is changing. “Success will come to those who are willing to understand and adopt the change, while those who cannot learn to work within this new paradigm simply won’t,” he adds.

“Remember that constant change in technology creates opportunities for businesses, but equally so for those individuals who are prepared to grow with the technology as it evolves.”

He further states: “Upskilling not only assists you to align with technology change, but also helps you in finding yourself. As training facilitators, our job is to teach the technology skills, but we view our role much larger than this. I believe it is our job also to instil in students a passion to learn. Impactful’s trainers always demonstrate their own passion for learning and improving, and hope this attitude rubs off on our students, creating an eagerness to learn new things.”

Making a difference

Jones notes that creating such passion can be trickier when utilising electronic learning solutions that don’t allow for a physical, face-to-face engagement. After all, passion is largely contagious and most often springs from the instructor’s own feelings about the subject.

“In fact, this is a key differentiator of our business - having people undertaking the training who encourage such passion and who drive a continuous learning agenda.”

In essence, he explains further, Impactful Specialist Solutions’ training and certifications programme is all about making a difference in people’s lives, rather than merely teaching them the latest technology skills. Williams adds that learnerships play a key role too, as with so many youngsters unemployed, what is needed is for them to be able to get a foot in the door.

“Learnerships are critical in order for them to have the opportunity to experience the working world, and to learn the discipline required to succeed. Basically, we can teach them a skill, which affords them the opportunity to obtain a learnership. This, in turn, provides them with the experience needed to help them move up the corporate ladder. And by instilling a culture of continuous learning it should mean that they keep adding skills to their set as they gain promotion.”

“One thing I can add is that attitude is extremely valuable. I have met many youngsters who may have little in the way of skills, but who have the drive to learn, and this enables them to achieve anything, through application, effort and hard work.”

Jones notes that there are two key sets of skills an employee needs to succeed in IT. The first is what are termed ‘soft skills’ – namely attitude, communication skills, critical thinking, and conflict resolution – and the other is technical skills.

“There are two areas within the latter: the first being that of engineering, which is very much product related and tied to the implementation of specific solutions, and the second being technical, in relation to programming and coding.”

“Unemployment obviously remains the crucial issue in SA, and in a digitally transforming society it has never been more important to ensure that all who can learn technical skills, do. This is vital to both their individual futures, and that of the country’s.”

The technology question

Jones points out that there are certain technologies, like automation, which may reduce the number of lower skilled jobs, but adds that this will be mitigated by the fact that automation and other higher-level skills will become increasingly in demand – with salaries to match.
Not only does this demonstrate the value of continuous learning once again, but it also shows how technology can help to alleviate poverty – if not unemployment – by creating abundance.
Williams adds that, in spite of his feelings around the value of face-to-face training, the evolution of remote learning has also benefited students enormously. For one, it has made it much easier for them to undertake their chosen courses at a time and in an environment that is most suitable for them.

“There is a massive advantage to this, in terms of allowing them to schedule their learning at a point that is most convenient for them. It offers similar advantages to working from home in that it reduces stress and frustration, and improves productivity.”

Jones points out that it also allows Impactful’s training to reach more people, in a variety of different locations, and who come from a wide range of backgrounds, with varied knowledge bases and perspectives.

“These remote-type environments also expose students from differing backgrounds to one another, enabling them to learn from each other. The technology makes such engagement easy, offering additional value to the students. That said, we maintain a physical training location that can be used as required or leveraged along with technology to deliver a hybrid learning solution.”

“Ultimately, it is important to understand that, while technology evolution is inevitable, it is also agnostic to our desires – it is simply a tool. How effective it is in enabling transformation or alleviating unemployment is down to the user. And this is why our most critical advice is for people to apply themselves to their career choice, and to keep their certifications up to date – through an entity such as Impactful Specialist Solutions – and adopt a continuous learning mindset. This is really the only way to ensure you will not be left behind by the ongoing technology evolution,” concludes Jones.

Robert Williams​

Specialist trainer at Impactful Specialist Solutions

Trevor Jones​

Specialist trainer at Impactful Specialist Solutions

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