On 12 March 2019, the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) attended the National Skills Development Summit, held at the Council for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria. The National Skills Development Summit 2019 was a two-day event which brought together public and private sector stakeholders. The event focused on issues including collaboration with stakeholders as a key strategy to supporting skills development as well as technology and innovation in light of the implications of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) across various sectors.
The Achiever Awards also formed part of the programme on Day one of the National Skills Development Summit. The LGSETA nominated the Stellenbosch School of Public Leadership (SPL) in the category for the best innovative training programme award. It was great excitement for both the LGSETA and the SPL to attend the Achievers Award ceremony and more so when Dr Harlan Cloete received the award on behalf of SPL for the most innovative training programme.
The award for the best skills programme, “Human Resource Development for Good Municipal Governance” represents a great achievement not only for the SPL but also for the LGSETA. The Acting CEO of the LGSETA, Ms Nonhle Mashinini, praised the SPL by stating, “we want to thank SPL for giving the best that the country deserves, we are proud to be associated with you”.
The development of the development of the higher education skills programme titled ‘Human Resource Development (HRD) for Good Municipal Governance’ is pitched at NQF level 6 and was based on recommendations of research commissioned by the LGSETA. The first phase of the training started in 2018 and was aimed at capacitating Skills Development Facilitators (SDFs) and a total of 341 SDFs from municipalities were trained across the nine provinces. The feedback from the training was extremely positive by participants.
The LGSETA partnership agreement with the SPL started in 2016, whereby the LGSETA commissioned SPL to undertake research titled ‘The Challenges faced by the Municipal Skills Development Facilitator in the Planning and Implementation of Skills Development Interventions’ in South Africa. The research report was published in 2017 and placed the crises in municipalities on 6 levels namely:
The report concludes by recommending that the Integrated Management Framework for HRD be implemented in municipalities in order to begin to address the relationship between managers, employees and the HR Department.
As part of the continuing strategy of LGSETA to build capacity on HRD issues in and across municipalities, the skills training programme was revised to a four-days in 2019 and extended to Municipal Human Resource Management Officials and members of the Training Committee.
The skills programme in HRD for Good Municipal Governance is linked to the Diploma: Public Accountability, NQF Level 6, ID 94948 offered by SPL, Stellenbosch University. The participants receive a certificate based on meeting the requirements and can further continue their studies to achieve the Level 6 Qualification in Public Accountability.
The LGSETA has developed an evidence-based research model to investigate specific research topics, which form part of the approved Research Agenda. The recommendations from the research on investigating challenges of SDFs across municipalities was the first research that the LGSETA has implemented using the evidence-based model. A customised training programme was developed which then resulted in training being conducted to a targeted audience. In particular, the skills programme provides participants with a holistic and integrated approach and understanding of Human Resource Development. It also helps participants to appreciate the need for better collaboration, cooperation, coordination, communication and capacity of all municipal actors to improve the overall management culture of skills planning and development in South African municipalities.
The LGSETA will roll out Phase 3 of the training in the 2019/2020 financial year with the continued focus on building capacity of Management Officials and Training Committee members. The partnership between SPL and LGSETA has shown the benefits of the model which started with conducting research, leading to customised training and with the aim of improving practice and impact in the workplace. As a way forward, it would be most useful to further investigate whether the training has resulted in any changes in the way HRD is practised in municipalities. The monitoring and evaluation of any training programme is important so that the investment in training can be measured in order to determine impact as well as the growth of individuals and the organisation. HRD plays a critical role in the workplace and there is a need to ensure that there are healthy HRD practices in municipalities to effect change and support employees, as it impacts on the morale and productivity of the workforce.