Omega Learnership Program Q&A with Stuart Pringle

Omega has recently embarked on an exciting learnership program. Learners will participate in a year-long program where they will receive on-the-job training and formal classroom education. In the Q&A below, Omega COO Stuart Pringle provides in-depth insight into the objectives and nature of this program:

How did the Omega Learnership Program come about?

At Omega, we have always believed in educating our staff to enable them to perform their jobs better, but also to uplift those who are part of the Omega team.

Initially the drive to start a learnership program came from our B-BBEE initiatives. Very quickly I realised that learnerships are a fantastic way to actively participate in the upliftment of our country.

Give us a brief outline on how the project works?

Learners are either current Omega employees or previously unemployed learners. For those who are unemployed, we offer them employment for the initial year of the learnership as the program has both formal classroom learning as well as on-the-job training.

The classroom training consists of 3 to 4 days of lectures per month as well as assignments and assessments to ensure and prove competency.

We have offered two courses for our learners:

  1. End user computing – a course to teach learners to be able to make effective use of the IT environment in the modern corporate office including training on desktop applications and business communications.
  2. Project Management – training staff on project management concepts, methodologies and processes.

Both courses have NQF level associations which means that they are well recognised in the job market as well as by the ICT SETA.

When not in lectures, each learner has a full-time position at Omega where they get to use their new skills in real-world scenarios. They are also able to pick up on many other learning opportunities that the business world provides.

Duration of the project?

The learnerships themselves are done over a period of 1 year, but the results will be far more long-lasting. The plan with the learners is that at the end of the initial year they are either included in another learnership or are hired permanently, either by Omega or by a company looking for their newfound skills.

Where were learners recruited?

We have 17 learners on the program, 10 of whom were exiting employees and 7 who were unemployed. We looked far and wide for the right candidates to bring in to our organisation. We used our recruiters, our B-BBEE consultants as well as our existing staff to find potential learners. Many interviews were conducted to find the best of the best. We wanted to find learners who would be suitable for the courses on offer, have a passion to learn and grow, and would fit our company culture.

I was amazed by the quality of the young individuals who I interviewed and at times wished I had space to include more of them in the program.

What are the opportunities for learners?

In my opinion, money spent on education is always money well spent. The only thing that is better is to get top-class and functional education when someone else is picking up the bill.

Our learners have the opportunity to get recognised qualifications under their belt that they may not have been able to do without the learnerships.

The learners also get working experience in a leading ICT company, giving them both experience for future employment, but more importantly, the ability to excel during their learnerships and get permanent employment with Omega, a company which provides constant growth opportunities to its top performers.

What is the preferred outcome of this project?

I am hoping for 3 main outcomes:

  • The skills, knowledge and experience gained by the learners will allow them to positively participate in the South African workforce thus uplifting themselves, their families, and their communities as a whole.
  • Omega hope to find great staff to help us maintain our leadership position in our industry and create the next wave of thought leaders in our business.
  • We will maintain our commitment to the transformation of our country via our B-BBEE initiatives, especially skills development.