Tip 5: Good onboarding and orientation goes a long way
A well-structured onboarding and orientation programme can set the tone for the learnership, equipping learners with an understanding of their responsibilities and the path to success.
Learnerships have some fairly specific requirements (mandated by SETAs), and there is a lot for all involved to assimilate up-front, and so we always insist on a thorough orientation process. And not just for Learners, but for managers, mentors and training managers too. A well-structured orientation process can also help ensure crucial alignment between all involved, and really helps ensure that expectations are managed.
Tip 6: Incentivise performance
Incentives can boost motivation and performance significantly. From financial rewards like vouchers and bonuses to non-financial incentives like extra leave days, travel and conference opportunities, or simple internal praise and commendation, a relatively simple reward system can catalyze commitment and productivity.
Some employers find success with penalties for under-performance, and these can also be powerful motivators. With unemployed learnerships, the prospect of having a stipend paused due to inactivity or deregistration can be a powerful incentive for the Learner to stick with the programme and see it through.
Tip 7: Align performance with personal development plans and KPIs
This one is probably more relevant for employed Learnerships, but aligning performance on the programme with the Learner’s individual development plans and KPIs can help drive consistent progress and make the programme more relevant to their career aspirations. It can also then more closely be linked to general performance-linked incentives and bonuses linked to their employment, including opportunities for salary increases and promotions.
Tip 8: Enlist strong managers/mentors (and support them)
Pair learners with capable, committed mentors who can provide guidance and support. Mentors don’t always have to be senior members; even mid-level or junior employees can be excellent mentors given the opportunity, and this can be an excellent way of providing opportunities for junior talent to get exposure to management. Learnerships are only one-directional development programmes if you approach them that way. They can be far more impactful and meaningful to more people.
Tip 9: Communicate regularly; meet frequently
As with pretty much everything in business, issues start to creep in and compound when communication fails. By establishing regular, clear and transparent communication flows and channels, many issues can be revealed and resolved early before they become more serious. A whole host of other issues and challenges can be resolved simply through conversation and listening. Often, all that a Learner going through a tough spot needs is a sympathetic ear and a few words of encouragement to help get them back on track.
We always look to set up a regular meeting schedule with the training manager, line managers and mentor to ensure that things are proceeding according to plan, and to trouble-shoot and resolve challenges as they arise (which is inevitable).
Tip 10: Digital wherever possible
21st century Learners should be learning in a 21st century manner. Whilst some SETAs still insist on in-person training and paper-based records, learning experiences like this do little to prepare Learners for the increasingly digital and technology-driven world of work. Making smart use of technology wherever possible will help streamline processes, reduce duplication of work and records and bring your training programmes well and truly into the modern age. Consider digitising your Learnership documentation, progress reviews and meetings at the very least to make information easily accessible and up to date, and to ensure your Learners are engaging with digital platforms and channels as much as possible.