Job Preparedness Programmes (JPP) or Work Readiness Programmes (WRP) are initiatives that have been designed to prepare young people for the world of work. These programmes are a great way to ensure that we are able to improve said young people’s chances of either securing or retaining employability. There are various ways that JPPs can be structured, either as a skills programme that can be offered alongside a technical skills programme or as a standalone.
As the CHIETA we have been focussing some of our efforts on developing strategies that will enable us to invest effectively in work readiness programmes. Our Research and Skills Planning team has been working tirelessly to unearth the most relevant and proven models of work readiness programmes from both a local and global perspective. Their efforts will ensure that the JPPs that we develop are both relevant and impactful for the youth who are interested in a career in the chemical sector.
The JPPs that we create must offer students and learners accredited soft skills in computers, project management, communications, teamwork as well as personal mastery. These skills should, upon completion, prepare them to participate in industries that are increasingly adopting agile methods of production and management. So, for us at the CHIETA, it becomes a strategic imperative, to prepare our learners to adapt easily and to thrive in highly competitive work environments. This we believe, can be achieved through the introduction of JPPs alongside the CHIETA’s existing technical skills programmes. Our vision is that the addition of the JPP initiatives to our existing programmes, will go a long way in facilitating retention in employment.
As it stands, we are currently exploring ways in which we can possibly implement or introduce quick win short term adjustments. Adjustments that can be implemented immediately on existing learnership programmes or post learnerships by our direct offering or by identifying existing initiatives in the sector that we could conceivably derive value from through partnerships.
We want to build on existing initiatives and leverage resources from public and private entities that are already running programmes of this nature. Our emphasis as the CHIETA, will be placed on providing a balanced mix of the skills required by the chemical industry along with the soft skills needed, in preparation for the future world of work.
The big question for us is, how do we introduce these soft skills programmes in a manner that will assist us as a SETA to address the challenges that surround learnerships? In particular, how we use these programmes to address the poor absorption to formal employment of learners, as well as the high drop out of leaners from programmes.
In our ongoing efforts to reshape and reimagine our skills development initiatives, we recognise that certain aspects of the status quo on how learnerships are implemented will require reconfiguring. Aside from operational reconfigurations such as feasibility studies to find opportunities that exist in the chemical sector and the enforcement of measurable performance with training service providers, there are key focus areas that will ensure the success of these JPPs.
It will be important for us to prepare learners by empowering them with the mental fortitude to survive in the industry. This can be achieved through orientation processes that inform said learners about the interventions provided for them and their responsibility, should they take up the opportunity.
Case Managers whose mandate is to monitor and assess the effectiveness of the JPPs in a holistic manner from start to finish will be critical. Investment in recruitment drives and learner identification strategies will ensure that we as the CHIETA, are able to attract the right caliber of candidates for the programmes that we offer, through applicable assessment processes.