With an extensive footprint in Southern Africa and 125 years of service excellence, Babcock partners in the management of critically important assets that help to bring power to our homes and businesses, carry out work for infrastructure growth and enable the long-haul collection and delivery of goods within Southern Africa.
When Babcock approached Progression in 2014 about implementing a learnership programme in response to their skills development strategy, Progression was eager to be a part of and help drive this journey of transformation.
“We had never implemented such a programme before and were unsure what to expect when integrating learners with disabilities into our workforce, but felt that it could potentially add value to the overall organization. What I did know was that the journey we were about to embark on would be one filled with an abundance of learning curves, opportunities to improve and would pave the way forward for future endeavors” says Hamilton Sithole, HR Director, Babcock International Group - Africa.
Most corporates implement these learnerships for the sole purpose of B-BBEE points. Progression has come across many corporates whose main objective is to fill quotas and gain points, which pose certain challenges when implementing transformation-driven strategies. “A lack of “buy-in” from top management can lead to failure” warns Beth Cook, Progression CEO.
However, Hamilton soon made it clear that Babcock was committed and deeply invested in this project. “Babcock’s overall vision was sustainable transformation rather than just ticking a box, getting the points and forgetting the learners,” admits Hamilton.
He goes on to say: “It was extremely important for us to make sure that this programme was fully integrated, acknowledged and supported throughout Babcock. Looking back today, I am proud to say that, with the support of Babcock’s leadership, the help and guidance of Progression, we have succeeded.”
During the first two years of the overall three-year programme, the learners were placed on Business Administration (BA) Learnerships NQF level 3 and thereafter level 4. This Learnership is often implemented when embarking on skills development initiatives for previously unemployed or unskilled individuals. “The BA learnerships provide learners with a solid understanding of the working world and how business operates. Once completed, the BA learnerships provide learners with the perfect opportunity to advance on to a more focused and specific learning field” adds Veroshni, Business Development Consultant at Progression.
As the learners rotated throughout the various departments of Babcock, their strengths and passions were soon realized. Thus, the next step became an obvious one. Learners were advanced on to learnerships that were aligned with their relevant interests and skills and started paving their way forward in terms of their career path.
“Towards the end of the programme we focused on developing the learners around the Babcock culture. It was important to us that, while the learners had successfully gained the relevant skills and knowledge to succeed in their field through these learning programmes, they also needed to understand and embrace the Babcock culture and ways of work in order to be successful and fully integrated permanent employees,” comments Hamilton.
“I am very proud to admit that, four years down the line, we have wonderful learners who are now equipped with so much knowledge and experience and we are thrilled to welcome them into the Babcock family as permanent employees. We look forward to the value that they will continue to bring to our organisation.” “We also look forward to watching our new learners grow and flourish as we continue with our journey of true transformation,” says Hamilton.
Veroshni believes that Babcock’s commitment to sustainable transformation made this project a huge success, paving the way for future projects. “At Progression, we underpin all our service offerings with the Metamorphosis Model, which is characterised by our vision, ‘We see the Butterfly where others see the caterpillar’. We thank the Babcock team for sharing in our vision and partnering with us over the years to allow the Butterfly in each of these individuals to flourish. Babcock’s commitment to transformation has provided access and entry to the workplace for learners with disabilities and contributed to reducing the unemployment rate within South Africa. They are an amazing role model for other corporates in South Africa” concludes Veroshni.