Onsite vs Hosted Learnerships

Four simple questions to gauge if your business has the capabilities to host a learnership

If your business has decided to offer learnerships to young, unemployed People with Disabilities (PWDs) you may be faced with the BIG decision of whether to host your learners on-site at your business or off-site at a training provider.

“This is a question that is often faced by companies when they first decide to offer learnerships. There’s no simple answer as there are pros and cons to each option,” says Sean Sharp, Executive Head of Sales at EduPower Skills Academy. “We advise companies facing this dilemma to find the best solution for both the business and the learners… because in order to offer truly life-changing learnerships, the company has to implement the programme in a way that will deliver the best outcomes for everyone involved.”

A learnership is a structured, work-based programme that is directly related to an occupation and usually takes place over one year, leading to a nationally-recognised qualification. “Learnerships give people – generally young people – the invaluable opportunity to gain work experience in a chosen career while studying for a formal qualification,” Sean explains.

He adds that on-site learnerships are where the learners are hosted by the sponsoring company in their facilities for the duration of the learnership. “The employer sponsors the training they require, developing learners with the requisite skills they need for the future while the learners have the opportunity to apply the skills that they learn immediately, in a real work environment.”

Sean says that a hosted learnership is a partnership between two companies where the sponsor provides the funding while another company, generally a training provider, hosts the learners at its facility for the duration of the learnership. “This host company is responsible for providing theoretical training, workplace experience as well as dedicated mentors to assist and guide learners.”

Before deciding which option is best for your company and learners, especially when they are People with Disabilities (PWDs), Sean says you should gauge your business capabilities against the following criteria:

1. Your Facilities

Do you have the space to host learners in your business? Do your facilities cater for PWDs? Take a careful look at your building’s entry and exit points, lifts, toilets, and office layout as well as the availability of desks, computers, software and so much more. Put simply, can you accommodate the number of learners that have been identified?

2. Reasonable Accommodation

Learners with disabilities should not be included in the workplace out of a sense of charity. Many PWDs have the potential to perform as well (if not better) than their able-bodied counterparts, provided their disability is not a limiting factor. The limiting condition of a disability should be overcome using appropriate equipment, facilities, and practices so there is a level playing field that allows the PWD to flourish and reach their full potential.

3. Workplace Experience

While the prospect of extra hands is attractive, having learners in your workplace and providing meaningful work experience that will enhance their employability does necessitate careful planning. To give them an opportunity to apply their classroom learning, your learners should be gaining relevant experience that is directly linked to their qualification that will also contribute to your company’s bottom line.

4. Coaching and Mentoring

To maximise the benefit of the learners for both your business and your learners, they will need to be coached and mentored. Do you have an employee who will be able to dedicate their time to do this and do they have the right attitude and aptitude to work as a mentor?
Sean says that after careful consideration of these criteria, you will know whether an on-site or hosted learnership is the right choice for not only your business but for your learners too.

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