National Skills Development Strategy
The National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) is the tool used by the Department of Labour to drive
the process of developing the skills of the South African labour force. Six conceptual pillars: Inclusion,
Relevance, Sustainability, Creativity, Quality and Quantity inform its key aims and objectives.
The NSDS is under-pinned by three key pieces of legislation: The Skills Development Act, 1998 (amended
in 2008); the Skills Development Levies Act, 1999; and, the Employment Equity Act, 1998. These Acts
have different purposes: the Skills Development Act introduced implementing agents for the NSDS; the
Skills Development Levies Act established a funding system; and the Employment Equity Act is used to
determine the performance of the implementing agents and whether they provide skills development
support to members of all social groups equitably.
To transform the racial and gender inequalities of the labour force. This is done through
extending opportunities of skills acquisition (and potential employment) to previously excluded
and disadvantaged groups. Self-employment is also promoted.
To create a greater alignment between the skills developed and the needs of the South African
To increase levels of investment in the training of the labour force, to improve the quality of
training accessed, and to establish nationally accepted standards.
The trend is seeing senior management turning to HR and T&D to build closer relationships with
high-performing workers and to use development as a means to improve retention and
engagement as organizations face increasing employee turnover. Employees are expecting
greater openness from top management, expecting more transparency on opportunities for
career advancement through understanding changes in corporate strategy, performance review
criteria, and even management succession.
Organizations are specifically interested in multi-skilled managers with an understanding of
business and the industry in which they operate. The combination of technical skills (relevant to
the specific industry), business and financial skills and people skills (e.g. leadership and the
ability to manage organizational change processes) are often cited as being in short supply.
Experienced and skilled black managers are hard to find, while stricter labour legislation
increases the pressure on organizations to employ more black people in the higher skills
categories. The scarcity of these managers puts upward pressure on remuneration packages.
As the complexity of the South African Labour Law continues to grow increasingly sophisticated,
it necessitates the appointment of knowledgeable HR professionals with an up-to- date, thorough
understanding of the labour law.
Social organization — how a business thinks, feels, behaves
The social organization of a workplace is the way the business operates around people. Its
construction is reflected in its values, policies, procedures and behaviors.
“The social organization of a business can either be inclusive or exclusive of diversity and
disability,” she says. “If we are prepared to reflect over the social organization of our companies,
we will see we have the power to revert the focus from the impairment of the person with a
disability to where it actually belongs—to the changes that can be made to accommodate this