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The Strategic Role of a Skills Development Facilitator

Annual Skills Development grant submissions are due for by 30th of April 2019, and the system for all SETA’s is open for capture. In order to claim for funding from the Sectoral Education Training Authority (SETA) a company must submit a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) together with an Annual Training Report (ATR). The Skills Development arena is fraught with acronyms and difficult to understand terminology. While speaking “SDF” is a skills all of its own, the function of being a SDF is a speciality in itself.

 A Skills Development Facilitator (SDF) is responsible for the planning, implementations and reporting of training in an organisation, with SETA related duties.    The function of your SDF, be it an internal SDF, and external (outsourced) SDF or Secondary SDF (Union representative elected to assist with the submission of the grant) is to assist the company with developing and executing the WSP and submitting it to the SETA during the grant submission reporting period. In conjunction the SDF must report on the ATR for the past year which is also submitting during the reporting season. The SDF is a fundamental and integral part of the company’s skills development and training process in that it is that person’s role to ensure that not only the submissions are submitted but also to ensure that the training that is provided is done in such a way as to maximise the company’s grant application, meets the criteria for the employee as well as the company’s objectives, vision and mission and supports the growth of the company and its employees in a holistic way, within legislative requires. Although it is not mandatory for companies to submit their WSP and ATR’s to the SETA, those who are involved BBBEE will often need proof of submission to support their scorecard, depending on the industry they are in and which scorecard they qualify for. In addition, those who are involved in Employment Equity should integrate their Skills Development and training into their Employment Equity as Skills Development falls within the scope of Employment Equity legislation.

Functions of the SDF include facilitating the developments of the employee’s skills and devising a strategy for the role out of that training, bearing budgetary constraints in mind. The SDF is the expert who communicates with all of the role players of the skills development process, being the Employees, management, Human Resources, the training committee and the SETA itself. The SDF is required to engage on a deep level in order to understand the operational needs of the business, the requirements for the relevant SETA and to match this to the Employee’s expectations. An SDF is therefore a mediator as well as an administrator with strong administrative and people skills. The SDF must understand the National Skills Plan III for training, the relevant Sector plan as well as how to classify the occupations within the organisation in order to link all occupations to the employees skills sets, in line with the Occupational Framework for Occupations (OFO codes) which form a fundamental part of the reporting process. Often this will require a skills audit to help to establish the fundamental skills sets which the employee has and match them to the job descriptions. All of which then forms the basis for succession planning in the long run.

 The SDF must involve themselves in quarterly (minimum) training committee meetings which must be structured to include individuals from all levels within the company in much the same way as with Employment Equity, which ensures equal representation and inclusion. The SDF can also be called on to assist with the training and education of the training committee members as well as the Secondary SDF who is a member of your trade union who is required to be represented on the committee. The SDF training should include advising the training committee of their functions, advising them as to their roles and responsibilities, the purpose of Skills Development within the organisation and the role of consultation within the company.