Financial Data
Updated 29 Feb 2020

Training + time = money

Skills development can be costly, especially for SMEs, where the people who do the training are also responsible for generating the profit.

02 April 2012  Share  0 comments  Print

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The Oxenham Incorporated case study shows you do it without impacting on your turnover.

"Giving away a percentage of our business would do nothing but create unrealistic expectations, waste, poor morale and culture. Instead, we are developing much-needed skills that will contribute to real growth in South Africa," says Devon Oxenham, owner of Johannesburg-based Oxenham Incorporated, an industrial automation software engineering business.

Cost-effective training is possible, but not easy, is his warning. "Mentoring seemed like the most logical way to make a real BBBEE contribution to the industry, but with only five employees, our time is very precious," he says.

"Initially, bringing on BBBEE staff was hugely time-consuming. It took perseverance, close monitoring and some very, very long nights and weekends.

We started to realise the benefits when tasks could be left with staff in the office, freeing me up to attend to other clients or business needs."

Devon says he was lucky in that he had assistance from a friend who was able to offer a month or so of mentoring. "We are now in a position where we hope to be able to 'cycle' students and use the more experienced ones to train the newcomers.

Although we are only a small operation, we are now able to provide the industry with highly-trained, young black engineers who can make an immediate contribution to the market.

"The downside to this is that we develop some very 'attractive' employees for much larger companies to poach. Nevertheless we are sure we are still doing the right thing and just hope the big wheel will turn our way one day."

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