At ProServ South Africa we feel that a properly prepared and supported workplace is the key to the success of our programmes and high permanent placement rates of learners involved in the programme. Since almost 80% of the learning of the practical programme we implement take place in the workplace, we ensure that our support structures specifically focus on turning work environments into effective learning environments.

To make this happen we don’t only make support and tools available for the learner but as well for management, on-site mentors and peers. Our workplace learning services therefore include:

  • Training of mentors and coaches in the workplace
  • induction programmes for learners and management to ensure all are aligned in the objectives of the programme
  • Workplace skills coordinators who visit the workplaces to interact with learners and management and support the learning process
  • E-learning tools and an on-line document library linked to a mobile communication platform

Our training programmes range from vocational skills to supervisory and management development programmes applicable to a wide range of industries, both as short course programmes and 12-month certificate programmes. Our approach to the design and implementation of Skills Development programmes is solutions driven and therefore custom-made to our client’s needs. In this we offer an end-to-end service including:

  • Development of competencies and link to job profiles
  • Conduct training needs analysis
  • Develop a Workplace Skills Plan
  • Recruit and select learners for training programmes, if focused on new recruits in the organisation
  • Development and accreditation of training programmes
  • Coordination and implementation of the skills development interventions including:
  1. Preparation of workplaces for on-the-job training
  2. Learner progress management
  3. Scheduling of theory and practical training and assessment
  4. Conduct moderation services
  5. Programme impact monitoring and measurement

Start-ups in South Africa – some facts

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) shows that 8.9 percent of adult South Africans are involved in what it describes as “early-stage entrepreneurship,” in other words, setting up a business or running a new business. Generally, this percentage tends to be larger for less developed economies, and smaller for more developed ones. South Africa’s rate is fair, comparable with Turkey (8.6%), Pakistan (9.1%), and Mexico (10.5%), but far behind China (14.4%) and Brazil (17.5%). Adults with a tertiary education are more likely to start a business. Nearly 11% of people with a degree start their own business.

Research by the GEM confirms that the survival rate for start-ups in South Africa is low and that the opportunity for entrepreneurial activity is the lowest of all the reviewed developing countries. 8 out of 10 new businesses fail within the first 2 years. Less than 12% of businesses operating today were in business in 1994! 10% of all businesses are less than a year old and 53% are less than five years old.

To achieve the 5 million jobs that the government has set as its target over the coming decade, South Africa will need to produce around 13 600 new manufacturing businesses alone (in rough terms, the country probably needs around 100 000 new firms to achieve this goal). Indeed, South Africa will need a veritable flowering of entrepreneurial endeavour. At present, this is not happening.

One of the key factors influencing people starting a business or failing a business in the first 2 years is skills development and education. 46% of people in small businesses in South Africa indicate that better levels of skills development and education would improvement their chances to be successful.

ProServ South Africa’s SMME development concept

It is our focus at ProServ South Africa to offer Sustainable Skills Development Solutions. With that in mind we have developed a specific model and support services for start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) that focuses on removing the 3 key issues SMME see as barriers for growth:

  1. Skills development through a SETA certified programme (Certificate in New Venture Creation level 4, additional short courses and an individual mentorship programme)
  2. Creating an environment in which the SMMEs have market access through workshops with horizontal (associations) and vertical (suppliers and clients) stakeholders and an active support approach to get new SMMEs involved in the supply chain of larger businesses
  3. Creating access to finance through workshops with private equity institutions and banks in order to ensure that SMMEs are able to provide the information needed to raise capital

This model deals with key needs of SMMEs in the first year of their existence and is based on the provision of the following support services by seasoned SMME development coaches and consultants:

  • Diagnostic analysis of enterprises; we use a diagnostic analysis which is tried and tested and provides us with a very detailed picture of the current business in start-up phase. It assesses all key aspects such as alignment with legislation, skills development levels, human resources and organisational structure, the direct environment of the business, access to finance and networks and linkages to other clients and suppliers.
  • Based on this we create focused training interventions, which consist of both short courses and a certificate programme (Certificate in New Venture Creation, level 4). The NVC certificate leads to SETA certification for competent candidates and deals with topics such as legalities, human resources, marketing and sales, finances for SMMEs and business administration. The short courses are often related to preparing businesses to be able to link to Supply chains, ensuring SMMEs are able to meet specific procurement criteria of large organisations
  • As every SMME will find him or herself in a unique situation classroom support often does not address the direct challenges of an individual business owner. We therefore link the training to a custom-made mentorship programme, involving experienced mentors. The mentors ensure that based on an individual mentoring plan monthly objectives are identified and that the entrepreneur is supported in breaking down the barriers to success.
  • No SMME is able to survive if it operates in a vacuum. Therefore Market access support services, providing the SMMEs the opportunities to create business linkages and Access to finance services, are two key pillars which we add to the programme. These workshops and support services ensure that SMMEs start to interact with peers, potential clients, suppliers and finance providers in their industry and geographical area.

For more information on the content of the training programme please see our New Venture Creation factsheet