The current decade of digital disruption, rising of artificial intelligence, and the gig economy intensifies the need for developing a workforce with the right skills and knowledge to stay relevant. That is why organisations attempt to implement the alignment of employee development strategy with business strategy. In these current years, the demand for learning and development personnel has been increased for developing knowledge levels of employees across various industries, and swiftly it turns out to be a lucrative career opportunity.
Professionals can choose this career path at any stage of their career. It provides a wide range of opportunities both at the junior and senior levels. Some common L&D roles are as follows:
- L&D Advisor
- L&D Manager
- Head of L&D
- L&D practitioner
- Learning project/programme coordinator
- Learning facilitator
- Work experience practitioner
- Skills development practitioner
- Assessment practitioner
A career in L&D is a specialised area where demand is high, but the supply of talent with the required skills is very low. It is anticipated that a high percentage of companies will increase their effort and spend on the growth of the workforce in the near future. Companies are expanding their businesses globally. It becomes essential to increase the investment in L&D to enhance the skills level of employees at per global standard.
To this point SAQA has registered the following valid qualifications to qualify in the L&D profession:
- SAQA ID 118774: Occupational Certificate: Learning and Development Advisor level 7, 195 credits
- SAQA ID 101321: Occupational Certificate: Training and Development Practitioner, level 5, 190 credits
- SAQA ID 50330: Bachelor: Occupationally Directed Education Training and Development Practices, level 6, 360 credits (to be replaced with an Occupational Qualification)
- SAQA ID 50331: National Certificate: Occupationally Directed Education, Training and Development Practices, level 6, 145 credits (to be replaced with an Occupational Qualification)
- SAQA ID 50332: Further Education and Training Certificate: Occupationally-Directed Education Training and Development Practices level 4, 120 credits (to be replaced with an Occupational Qualification)
- SAQA ID 50333: National Diploma: Occupationally Directed Education, Training and Development Practices, level 5, 240 credits (replaced with SAQA ID: 101321 Occupational Certificate: Training and Development Practitioner, level 5, 190 credits)
- SAQA ID 50334: National Certificate: Occupationally Directed Education Training and Development Practices, level 5, 120 credits (replaced with SAQA ID: 101321 Occupational Certificate: Training and Development Practitioner, level 5, 190 credits)
Besides a qualification, a professional must have some essential skills and personal traits to establish him or herself in this field.
The following skills are essential to succeed in the L&D field.
- Interpersonal skills: The learning facilitator must have good interpersonal skills to make the learning program interesting and effective. It is recommended to have good listening skills to realise the audience’s requirements. If the facilitator must improve the quality of social perception, which helps to empathise with others’ reactions and can adjust messages and approach accordingly. The professionals in the L&D field have to develop a constructive working relationship with others rather than working as a consultant in their organisation.
- Communication and motivational skills: The professionals who have decided to enter the L&D field must develop excellent oral and written communication skills. Because as a facilitator, he or she may address a large or small group of people and write effectively for a large group of viewers. With giving training for skills or knowledge development, the facilitator must motivate the audiences with inspirational speech or story sharing as well as game playing.
- Initiative and creativity: L&D professionals think creatively to design new programs and approaches for communicating information effectively to the trainees. That is why they need to take the initiative for the implementation of a new design or approach.
- Planning: The L&D professionals have to be capable to chalk out detailed plans for an effective learning program and collect materials accordingly.
- Technology skills: It is important that L&D professionals must have technological skills. As a facilitator, he or she should have knowledge about the operating of technology in the classroom as well as effective use of the learning management system and online meeting platform.
Apart from that, a professional must develop some personal qualities to become a successful
- Extrovert: Most of the training professionals are extroverts than introverts as they engage with training delivery. But introverted persons also become successful professionals if they choose to teach a small group of people or to use an online platform for providing training.
- Flexibility and problem-solving skills: As facilitators do their own planning and pay attention to detail, they must have to think on their feet and quickly adjust to any unwanted situation. This Learning and Development field has so much diversity that all types of personal traits can get the opportunity.
- Time management: The professional designs the entire training program within an estimated time frame, and he or she should not deviate from the time schedule.
There are a lot of opportunities in the L&D field, but jobs are unfilled because of the lack of skilled workers. Even the organisations should enhance their training function by investing time and budget to upskills the training team. This investment will help the training team to traverse the challenges of today’s business environment to deliver world-class training.
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