The BRICS Business Council Skills Development Working Group (BBC-SDWG) has found that in order for South Africa and fellow BRICS counterparts to address technical skills shortages for industry, steps should be taken to align skills training framework with the business strategies of the various players in the private and public sector.

This was part of the observations of a conference of the SDWG at the sidelines of the 43rd WorldSkills in Sao Paolo, Brazil in August 2015. The gathering was under the auspices: “BRICS: Creating a Joint Vision on Skills Development.”

The conference saw that there was a need for a paradigm shift in mind set and approach towards skills development, with an emphasis on harnessing new people practices, facilitate a better understanding of contemporary thinking and trends on the role of skills development in BRICS countries and enable member states to anticipate future trends in technologies and prepare their workforce accordingly.

The SDWG saw the importance of promoting a permanent exchange of knowledge on foresight and forecast methodologies in order to explore and utilise untapped talent pools that occur in member states.

Among the activities of the BBC with specific relevance to the SDWG is to promote cooperation on skills development and technology transfer and well as support skills development in Africa. Each of the BRICS countries identified areas in which skills development should be prioritised and supported by the Council.

It is important to always understand that each country under the BRICS umbrella has different local challenges, even though they are pursuing a common overall vision. Therefore it is important for companies looking to influence the skills development framework among BRICS countries to also have country specific strategies that underpin the broader strategies.

However, despite the different set of circumstances for each country, the need for companies to foster a learning culture within their organisations and encourage flexibility and ownership of own careers by the workforce has a cross cutting effect on all states.

Companies within BRICS states should empower their workforce and be prepared to embrace change, identify and achieve more transient competitive advantages.

“The ability to drive the speed and agility needed to succeed hinges on attracting, recruiting and managing talent, and organizing the workforce in ways that support the business strategy,” says Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup, CEO, who notes that businesses can no longer count on maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage over decades. Prising says companies need to promote their employee value proposition to position the company as a talent destination.

“The ability to drive the speed and agility needed to succeed hinges on attracting, recruiting and managing talent, and organizing the workforce in ways that support the business strategy. The working population is declining, forcing employers to select from shrinking talent pools. Technology is evolving faster than ever, changing the skills needed for jobs and shortening the life cycle of those skills.”

Article References:

1. ManpowerGroup 2015 talent shortage survey South Africa

2. BRICS Business Council, Skills Development Group Report