Uitenhage based Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) is celebrating the success of its Learning Academy which, after six years and hundreds of millions of rand in investment, has become the industry benchmark for employee education and training.
This in-house initiative, which focuses on up-skilling the company’s over 4 300 employees, saw VWSA has spent more than R47-million on skills development last year alone.
Headed by Dr Lesley Lee, the academy was officially launched in 2008 with the purpose of giving employees world-class training in the latest technology developments within their respective departments.
VWSA spent R100-million on setting up the Learning Academy, which has five focus areas: production, leadership, technical, national sales and commercial. The investment also included the opening of state-of-the-art training areas – complete with the equipment required to maintain global production standards and curricular tailored for each focus area.
The training areas are equipped with the latest information technologies and simulated production lines for employees to get practical experience of the production environment.
The academy uses various approaches to train employees, called blended learning. This includes instructor-led, online learning, on-the-job training, coaching and mentoring as well as simulated exercises.
In 2009, the Learning Academy introduced a Learner Management System (e-Learning) that has made learning more accessible to all VWSA employees. The e-Learning system is an online, web-based platform which provides training modules from videos to articles to generic and customised content.
The e-Learning system allows employees to go online either from their office computers or, in the case of production employees, at one of the seven specifically-designated learning facilities, with facilitators on hand to guide them.
“The online training modules are accessible any time of the day and allow employees to work at their own pace. It has moved the focus of learning in the company from trainer-centred to a more learner-centred approach,” explained Lesley Lee.
“Learners are now also able to manage and track their own learning on the system and ensure that they meet the requirements of their individual development plans.”
Not only is the academy dedicated to internal development but it also assists employees in giving their children a good education. Last year 508 employees received grants towards the costs of their children’s school, college or university education.
“Through our educational spend, VWSA contributes towards the socio-economic development of the Eastern Cape. This is a strong acknowledgement of the value we place on education and the support for our employees,” commented David Powels, Managing Director of VWSA.
“As a certified Top Employer for 2013/2014, VWSA is striving to be the most admired employer and is putting its weight behind the advancement of its people.”
Some interesting facts:
- 57 818 – Total number of modules completed since 2009 to date
- 7 681 – Number of modules completed in 2013
- 336 – Number of modules developed in-house
- 524 – Number of modules available
- 4 225 – Number of employees using E-Learning
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