When A.W. Milne died the tribe members of the New Hebrides in the South Pacific, with whom he lived for thirty-five years, buried him in the middle of their village and inscribed this epitaph on his tombstone:
When he came there was no light.
When he left there was no darkness.
We stuck to what we knew best for a long time.
A very... long... time...
This learnership thing looked scary and we were not sure that it was worth the bother. Maybe. we were just not ready to make a change and adapt. or maybe we did not have all the facts. Whatever the reason, we resisted. We argued against it. We said never.
Yes, you guessed it. Your mom probably also taught you: "Never say Never!"
Well, we had to eat humble pie.
Kabelo joined the team and she asked: "Why? Why are we not doing learnerships?"
It is expensive.
It is admin intensive.
The companies are not crazy about it... we think... (We thought wrong.)
Then she asked us: "What is our long term training vision?"
We said: "We want to change lives - not just train - but through training change lives. Be true to our name and bring light into darkness, hope into hopelessness. Be the link in a chain of partners making a difference - a real difference. Not a say so difference. Or think so difference. Or numbers difference. A real difference. Change people's lives for ever - better - difference.
And she said: "Well?"
That was the start of our journey into the world of learnerships.
Yes, learnerships have a nasty rap. I spoke to a high end manager at one of the leading cellular networks in the country and she was absolutely SCATHING about learnerships. About how much money they have invested in learnerships and how little return on investment there was in terms of the human capital invested in and invested IN. And my heart broke...
We tendered for a national learnership initiative and the bottom line - the cheapest price for the most learners - was the victorious winner. A sausage machine investment. A how many can we fit into one group, how little can we do with them, what are the ABSOLUTE minimum requirements to show them as competent and how much profit can be made from this was the winner. And my heart broke...
Failure for the outcomes of the tender.
Failure for the learners who think this is their opportunity for hope.
Failure for everybody who will get burned by a bad learnership investment and implementation strategy.
BUT, we discovered, learnership is an amazing opportunity if done right.
it is a win-win if all the dots are connected.
it is a game changer for the training provider, the business who buys into it, the community where the learners come from and MOST of all for the learners who walk out the other side - out of the darkness of hopelessness, into the light of hope.
That is why we ate humble pie and realised that the day of never has arrived. It was now and we are loving what we can do with a simple learnership.
More importantly - our learners are loving what they can do after the simple learnership.