The piece below is courtesy of Professor James Hayes: “A new training curriculum for the poultry industry known as an Occupational Learning System (OLS) is coming into place. This is as a result of a study team report which found a number of serious shortcomings in the National Qualifications Framework system and submitted these to the Ministers of Education and Labour in 2003 which resulted in improvements to the NQF Act (2008) and the Skills Development Act (2008). The emphasis was on changes to alleviate the shortages in skilled labour and to ensure that training was relevant to a particular occupation.

Under the old NQF system employers felt that they were burdened with bureaucracy and a lot of red tape, that the SETA administration was slow and complex and that especially smaller companies were discouraged from participating in learner ships. For those who did participate there was often the frustration that graduates not possessing the competence needed in the workplace, had their expectations raised about promotion which did not materialize.

The Occupational Learning System (OLS) targets work relevant learning that is simple, flexible and of high quality. Apart from the knowledge component the learner must be able to demonstrate specific practical skills. The latter have to be acquired in the workplace either through experiential learning or demonstrated and taught by colleagues. The SAPA training committee therefore decided not to continue promoting the short courses that were presented during the past two years as these could not lead to a qualification without completing the set of nine core unit standards as required under the old legislation.

Good progress has already been made with the new curricula and it is envisaged that the first group of learners in a training course will be able to participate in a trial run before August 2011 to evaluate the time span during which courses should be presented. At this stage it would unfortunately be mere speculation if a time frame for training is to be given and potential participants are requested to be patient as the waiting will be more than worthwhile.”

I would like to thank Professor Hayes and all the other members of the Training Work Group for their hard work in making better quality training available to the industry. All of the Committees have supported the appointment of the Training Manager and this will be decided at the upcoming Management Committee meeting, where after we will begin the recruitment process. With Maarten de Kock’s retirement we are already starting to lose momentum in the training field.