Citrus Academy

Skills Development in SA Skills Development Planning
Skills Development Planning Print E-mail

Skills Development Planning Strategy

1.    Workforce Planning

Workforce planning (WFP) ensures that "the right people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time." This definition covers a methodical process that provides managers with a framework for making human resource decisions based on the organisation’s mission, strategic plan, budgetary resources, and a set of desired workforce competencies.

Planning for human resource needs is one of the greatest challenges facing managers and leaders. In order to meet this challenge, a uniform process that provides a disciplined approach for matching human resources with the anticipated needs is essential.

Workforce planning is a fundamental planning tool, critical to quality performance that will contribute to the achievement of objectives by providing a basis for justifying budget allocation and workload staffing levels. As companies develop strategies to support the achievement of both long-term and annual performance goals in the strategic plans, workforce planning should be included as a key management activity. WFP must be directly linked to management strategies that encompass several processes.

The principles of workforce planning were used in the development of this planning strategy.


2.    Objective

The broad objective of skills development planning is to, over time, develop a workforce that constitutes the human capital that the farming enterprise requires to operate successfully and profitably.


3.    Action Plan

Please note: this action plan was specifically developed with emergent growers in mind, and can be adjusted to suit the specific situation of the relevant enterprise.

The following actions are required to meet this objective:

  • Hold a strategic planning workshop with farmers and farm management
  • Identifying priority skills development needs
  • Accurately identifying the human capital needs of the enterprise
  • Identifying the skills development needs of each individual farmer, worker and community member that have the potential to fulfil the human capital needs of the farm
  • Identifying skills development tools that will successfully and efficiently meet the skills development needs of individuals
  • Developing a skills plan for the farm that encompasses individual skills development needs

Please note that these actions are oriented towards individual farms, with the possible exception of the first step where there may be a measure of generalisation. A one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work in projects such as these when it comes to specific skills. Human capital needs are specific to each farm, depending on its size, market orientation, production practices, mechanisation and a host of other factors. At the same time, skills development needs are specific to each individual, depending on their background, level of education, potential, age, and so on.

This approach has been found to be much more effective than any other. Although it requires a high level of intervention at the beginning, the chances of successful implementation and of reaching the desired outcomes are much improved.


Step 1: Strategic Planning Workshop

It is critical that buy-in is secured from all stakeholders from the start of the process, and that the farmers especially understand the process that will be used and are given the opportunity to contribute their ideas. For this reason a strategic planning workshop will be held as the first step in the process.

  • Identify all stakeholders
  • Invite all stakeholders to workshop
  • Hold workshop


Step 2: Identifying Priority Skills Development Needs

There are some skills development needs that are common to all farms, most notably literacy and numeracy skills. Low literacy and numeracy skills levels pose a major barrier to entry to technical and business skills development programmes.

In addition, there is also an immediate need for farmers to develop an understanding of institutional arrangements and basic business management, so that they are able to understand the position that they are in and the demands that it places on them as soon as possible after the establishment of the farm. Even on farms that have been in existence for some time, these skills are often lacking and have been identified by the CGA mentorship programme, amongst others, as one of the major needs amongst emergent farmers.

The delivery of priority skills has to be prioritised and fast-tracked. What is classified as priority skills however has to be defined very clearly – the advantages of taking this approach will be nullified should one make the mistake of wanting to include too many types of skills under this classification.

  • Identify priority skills needs
  • Identify suitable ABET programme, taking into account available infrastructure
  • Identify suitable learning programmes for other identified needs
  • Identify suitably qualified service provider(s)
  • Implement ABET programme, including supplying infrastructure needs
  • Monitor delivery


Step 3: Identifying Human Capital Needs of the Farm

This step involves an examination and evaluation of the farm itself, very much along the lines of the production and management assessment that will be done at the inception of the project. Identifying the human capital needs of the farm must run in parallel with the overall assessment and business plan development.

The best approach to use is to conceptualise the management and production systems for the farm, after which an organogram, or employment profile, can be drawn up for the farm in which occupations are identified that has to be filled. This should include permanent workers with various responsibilities and positions, and temporary workers for picking and (if appropriate) packing.

This employment profile in essence presents the human capital requirements for the farm.

  • Develop production plan and business plan
  • Develop organogram
  • Develop detailed job descriptions for each identified position (templates may be available)


Step 4: Identifying Skills Development Needs of Individuals

During this step, the net may possibly have to be cast wider than the farmers that are involved in the project. It may be necessary to identify individuals from the surrounding community that have the potential to fulfil identified positions.

  • Identify candidates to fill positions
  • Assess candidates’ current skills levels
  • Develop candidates’ learning and career paths


Step 5: Identifying Skills Development Tools

The tools that are referred to include:

  • Skills programmes
  • Learnerships
  • Formal qualifications
  • Identify skills programmes to fill identified skills gaps
  • Identify learnership qualifications to bring skills to required levels
  • Identify formal qualifications for professional positions


Step 6: Developing the Skills Plan

A skills development plan is based on the individual career and learning paths that has been developed. The plan is developed for the medium- to long term, and must include all learning that will fulfil learning paths.

  • Consolidate all learning path information, including information on identified skills development tools
  • Develop formal skills development plan
  • Develop implementation schedule and timeframes
  • Develop budget for implementation
  • Present skills development plan to farmers and secure buy-in
  • Present skills development plan to farm management – ensure that the implications and time requirements of the plan is well-understood


4.    Skills Development Funding

The cost of the implementation of skills programmes, learnerships and bursaries will be the largest cost by far. Possible sources of funding include the AgriSETA, the Department of Agriculture, and the Citrus Academy for 50% funding of bursaries.

We recommend however that the cost of skills development is shared by the funding agency, the farm, and the learner, even if it is on an 80/10/10 basis, or even if the learner is only contributing his or her time to the process (evening and weekend classes). If these services are 100% funded by agencies, learners and farm-owners do not attach the same value to it.