Skills Development – Claim your Mandatory Grants

As companies involved in the printing, packaging, paper, pulp, print media and publishing industries you are all represented by the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing (FP&M) SETA. This statutory body manages all mandatory and discretionary grants relating to skills development in the FP&M sector. When you provide training to staff members, whether through internal training programmes or external courses, you are eligible to apply for grants towards the cost of the training. However, in order to qualify, you have to meet the criteria for the grants. The FP&M SETA has announced that the closing date for submissions for Mandatory Grant Applications is Wednesday 30 April for the 2014/2015 financial year. There are a number of prerequisites for submission of a Mandatory Grant Application. Firstly, it must be accompanied by a Workplace Skills Plan for the period April 2014 to March 2015. Secondly, it must be accompanied by an Annual Training Report for the period April 2013 to March 2014. This applies to all companies irrespective of size. For companies with more than 50 employees a PIVOTAL Training Plan and Report must also be included as part of their submission. PIVOTAL stands for Professional, Vocational, Technical and Academic Learning programmes. All mandatory grant applications will be submitted by Skills Development Facilitators (SDFs), whether internal or external. In small organisations, the role of SDF will be carried out by an administrative person. In larger organisations, the role will form part of the function of the human resources or training department. However, external organisations will also be able to offer SDF functions to their clients. The FP&M SETA offers Sector Skills Advisor (SSA) services free-of-charge to small companies to assist them with their mandatory grant submissions. SDFs are reminded that all applications must be submitted via the FP&M SETA Management Information System on the www.fpmseta.org.za website. This can be accessed via the Stakeholder Login Page. ALL SDFs must register on the management information system in order to gain access to the system. The system typically takes a minimum of 48 hours from time of registration before submissions can be made. The SETA recommends that the best place to start with the submission is the collection of all the relevant information. SDFs can follow the same process as the previous year as the online MIS application is similar to the format used in 2013/14 and the OFO codes have remained unchanged. The workplace skills planning process should include a training needs analysis to establish the skills which are currently available, the skills requirements and the skills development programmes that will address the gap between current skills and future needs. SDFs should also gather evidence of training conducted in the previous year for the Annual Training Report. This is a reflection of the commitment by the company to employee development. For companies with more than 50 employees, the PIVOTAL Plans and Reports are the key to unlocking Discretionary Grant funding opportunities in the coming financial year. These need to reflect all planned and completed interventions related to training which results in the achievement of qualifications. This includes planning for and reporting on tertiary studies, learnerships, apprenticeships, internships and credit-bearing skills programmes. The Department of Higher Education and Training has placed great emphasis on Work Integrated Learning which involves structured programmes that integrate theory and practise in the workplace as part of vocational, occupational and professional programmes. The purpose of Work Integrated Leaning (WIL) is to develop applied competence and increase employability of learners. The FP&M SETA has identified WIL as a skills development priority and has allocated discretionary funding to encourage the placement of graduates and learners from Further and Higher Education and Training Institutions in manufacturing companies. Companies in the FP&M sector are encouraged to include WIL initiatives in their PIVOTAL Training Plans to demonstrate their shared commitment to this initiative. Should you need assistance with any of these aspects please contact your local FP&M SETA office. Johannesburg 011 4031700, Cape Town 021 4620057 or Durban 031 7024482 or visit the website: www.fpmseta.org.za