Skills Learning Programmes

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 9 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Dispatches from South Africa: the case for vocational training

From International Hub – The Guardian – article by Sarah Duff










Youth unemployment rates are worryingly high, yet education policy and culture make higher education a priority for students, says Sarah Duff.

Photograph: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images

“The end of the first week of teaching in the South African academic year is an experience that any academic at any university around the world would recognise: the chaos of finding timetables and new lecture venues …

…In January, Angie Motshekga, the minister for basic education, announced with some fanfare that 70.2% of the pupils who sat the examinations for the national senior certificate – usually referred to as matric – passed. In a country with high levels of deprivation and poor resource allocation, this appears to be a magnificent achievement.

Unfortunately, the celebrations hid a few worrying facts. In 2011, according to the well-respected NGO, Equal Education, … of  the 923,463 pupils who began grade 1 in 2000, only 496,090 took matric in 2011, meaning that nearly half dropped out during their school career.” Therefore of … “all those who began school in 2000, the real matric pass rate falls to 38%. ”  This is indeed a very worrying fact.

“…despite the fact there are about 600,000 unemployed graduates in South Africa, university education is seen as the only pathway to employment. I would rather the department of higher education and training invested in FET colleges …”

However, I would like to point out that these moves are already taking place – see South African Education Green Paper. This is a major focus of Dr Nzimande, Minister of Education. The Green Paper is available for download at the following link which also has a great article: Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme:

To read more of Sarah Duff’s article follow the link below: (Accessed 18/04/2012).

World Youth Report puts Focus on Skills

“Some of the views in the report point directly to the kinds of policy questions that are preoccupying governments – and employers – eager to match skilled jobs with skilled workers.

According to the young people cited in the report:

  • public and private employers need to collaborate more effectively with educational institutions;
  • vocational training needs to be made more available and accessible;
  • employers need to value vocational training, apprenticeships and non-formal training more highly;
  • labour market needs should be analysed continuously and extensively;
  • education and training programmes should be tailored to labour market needs.”

The above links closely to the New South African Post-Secondary Education Green Paper. However, in my view not all education programmes should be tailored to labour market needs – we should avoid commodification and flattening of all Higher Education to a labour market technicist paradigm. (accessed 21/03/2012)

What do you think?

Skills Levies in a Climate of Skills Crisis

Employers who pay PAYE are obliged by National Legislation to contribute 1% of their wage bill to the Skills Levy Fund. The Mandatory Claims provision of this fund enables employers to claim back 70% of this amount on educating/training current employees. Since most employers are not claiming this amount the funds become available for payment under the Discretionary Grant provision. This means that the Discretionary Funds become available to competitors who are investing in the knowledge and skills development of employees. Those companies who are not training are weakening in a very competitive market, especially in these very difficult economic times.

If Skills Development Facilitators submit Workplace Skills Plans that include accredited courses from accredited providers, companies can properly reclaim on their skills levies paid, and position themselves for a strong competitive advantage when the economy “turns”.  If training budgets have been cut, then this is the time to make full use of the Skills Development Fund. This is the magic moment, as the economy “turns”, to begin to train staff and secure a strong position for your company, ensuring improved employee relationships and staff who are able to align their personal goals with that of the company, whilst meeting equity and skills training targets. In the words of Dr Nzimande, workplaces need to become “training spaces”. The time is now.

10% Off for March


Get 10% off for all development work secured in March.

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Workplace Learning from Business Wire

Article from Business Wire:

On the Job – Listening Skills



Go here for a video on workplace listening skills:

Learning for Jobs

“In OECD countries, many young people enter vocational programmes at upper secondary level. Sometimes these programmes are linked to workplace training, and sometimes they are formal apprenticeships, alternating on-the-job learning with school-based training.   Despite its international diversity, some common issues and challenges remain. For example:

  • how to balance the needs of students and employers in the provision of training;
  • the skills required by VET teachers and trainers;
  • the extent to which the benefits of workplace training can be fully exploited;
  • the most effective models for engaging employers and unions;
  • how better measures of labour market outcomes can be developed, and compared across countries.

Learning for Jobs, the thematic review of initial VET, looks at these issues among others. The work got under way in 2007 and, following 17 country reviews across the globe, was completed with the publication of a final comparative report in 2010.”

See here ready to work videos covering time management, listening skills etc., from on the job TV.

Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy – Part 1 – Knowledge

Benjamin Bloom – Cognitive Domain – Level 1 (other levels to follow…)

The cognitive domain, (Bloom, 1956), involves knowledge and the development of intellectual skills. Domains can be thought of as categories. Trainers/Facilitators often call these three categories KSA, (Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude). This taxonomy of learning behaviours can be thought of as “the goals of the learning process.” That is, after a learning episode, the learner should have gained new skills, knowledge, and/or attitudes.


Bloom B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc. Picture link: Edublogs: (accessed 24/02/2012).

See below a guide to writing learning objectives in the Cognitive (Knowledge Domain) – Level 1:


Level Attributes



1: Knowledge

Exhibits previously learned material by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts and answers.

who, what, why, when, omit, where, which, choose, find, how, define, label, show, spell, list, match, name, relate, tell, recall, select

What is …? How is …?

Where is …? When did _______ happen?

How did ______ happen? How would you explain …?

Why did …? How would you describe …?

When did …? Can you recall …?

How would you show …?

Can you select …?

Who were the main …?

Can you list three …?

Which one …? Who was …?