Volkswagen of South Africa Taking e-Learning to its Staff
of South Africa (VWSA) is proving to be not only a leading automotive
manufacturer, but also an industry leader in skills development. The
company’s achieved a significant take-up from staff during the first
phase of its newly rolled out e-Learning curriculum.

To-date 1 200 of the company’s employees are engaged in the curriculum.
As VWSA continues to roll out the project, it will become accessible
and go live to everyone within the company – including the operators
who build the cars on the factory floor.

The Uitenhage-based company launched its e-learning initiative for
employee personal and professional development in May. “E-learning is a
new and exciting way of learning that puts all employees in the driving
seat of his/her own personal and professional development,” says
project leader, Liza Wilmot.

The name given to the learner management system is iCan, which provides
VWSA and its employees with the system and tools which supports the
growth and implementation as envisaged in the Learning Organisation.

The difference between the e-learning initiative and other learning
initiatives at VWSA is that employees can access learning online by
viewing their personalised, job-specific learner paths and launching
modules from any computer within the organisation. The e-learning
courses give employees the opportunity to study in their own time and
at their own speed and at a place of their own choice.

Having completed four of his seven registered learner path courses to
date, Siseko Plaatjies, a paint shop operator, is iCan’s most frequent
user to date, and is well on his way to completion in the near future.
The reason for his enthusiasm is two-fold: “iCan gives you the
opportunity to do new things and there is no time pressure involved,”
says Siseko.

The self-paced aspect of iCan is a major advantage. He enjoys the fact
that individuals can decide for themselves how much they want to learn
and when. Siseko has been sacrificing his 25 minute lunch breaks to
complete his courses in record time.

Wilmot believes the successful roll-out of the project can be
attributed to the team effort, energy and passion to benchmark best
practice from systems to content in implementing the best learner
management system and e-learning platform. “Because VWSA designed its
e-Learning programme from its inception, we were able to leapfrog way
ahead of most of our competitors and the market in general in terms of
our e-learning implementation,” says Wilmot

She says “Each employee now has focused, targeted learning at their
fingertips, giving them the edge in terms of their own development and
careers, but also providing VWSA with the required technology to shift
our learning and performance to new heights”.

Volkswagen AG Board Member and chairperson of VWSA, Dr Jochem Heizmann,
recently commended VWSA on setting a trend within the VW Group. “VWSA
is doing a great job with the training academies and the training
itself. VWSA is the benchmark within the Group”, he noted.

The Volkswagen Learning Academy is tasked with training, and
incorporates five different sub-academies (Production, Technical, Sales
and Marketing, Commercial and Leadership) to accommodate the specific
training and development needs for the different divisions and staffing
compliment at VWSA. Additionally, many of these offerings are aligned
to the South African Qualifications Authority, which ensures that
skills gained provide employees with a nationally recognised

During the learning process, employees are provided with knowledge and
skills training that is performance based, across four key areas i.e.
Foundation Skills, Basic Fundamental Skills, Technical Fundamental
Skills and Generic Skills, each providing a critical set of
competencies required to build quality vehicles.

of South Africa
has a long history in the area of people
skills and development. The company has qualified over 1 600
apprentices since 1970, qualified the first black artisan in South
Africa as a motor mechanic in 1981 and invested over R130 million in
people skills development since 2005. Since 2007, the average training
days per person per annum at VWSA has exceeded six days. 

Source: PERCCI.

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