It seems the private sector does not always tap into all available opportunities or resources to train its workforce. The administrators of the government training levy, the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), says only small percentage of companies operating in Botswana have taken advantage of the Fund to train their employees.
Out of 11,000 companies registered in Botswana, only 1,554 companies have made claims to send their workers for further training. This percentage is very low compared to the constant outcry from companies and experts lamenting lack of skilled manpower in the country. There are many areas in which companies can take their employees for training, and the first such endeavour is customer service. It has been said many times that Botswana is lagging behind in terms of work ethic and good customer service, which is very true. Many workers, particularly those who deal directly with customers, still do not have the required skills to handle customers of different characters.
There are hundreds of companies that deal in highly technical areas, which should train Batswana to prepare them for future takeover. Perhaps the HRDC, the ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, or whoever is in authority should demand localisation policies and justify or explain why they have not trained Batswana for certain positions.
In the tendering processes, Botswana can demand evidence-based localisation policies, in the same line as the South Africans do, demanding black economic empowerment policies and quotas, before businesses can be considered for government jobs.
Since 2005, the government has allowed a good number of tertiary institutions to operate in the country to skill Batswana youth. But companies complain about the quality of graduates from some of these institutions. Why not take advantage of the training levy to upgrade the graduates’ skills?
But we cannot blame it all on the private sector. HRDC does not seem to be doing enough to market the Fund, something, which is common with many government organisations. There is need to do intensive public campaigning about these initiatives. There is the misconception that once an initiative has been advertised in government Daily News, discussed in Radio Botswana, then all are abreast of the issues at hand. Publicity is a process that should be carried out regularly, for years.
Lastly, we are in agreement with suggestions that the levy should cover for candidates who wish to pursue Masters Degree or PhD programmes. Why not? This country needs people with these skills.
“An empowered organisation is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organisational success.”
- Stephen Covey