Training and Development
Our Vision is “To enhance the value of our People”. In order for us to achieve this vision we have a number of processes, principles and a set of guidelines that we apply. True empowerment is about acquiring knowledge and we have a clear strategy whereby we facilitate a process to enable our shareholders to have the opportunity to take responsibility for themselves and their families.
All Beneficiaries are members of a Provident Fund and a Funeral Plan.
1. Employment Process
- Vacancies for Fixed-Term employment are advertised by way of posters displayed on our notice board and distributed locally in the settlements and surrounding shopping outlets and places of gathering.
- Pro-forma written applications are filed for scrutiny by a Screening committee comprising of existing permanent staff and management. The Screening committee compiles a short-list of potential fixed-term employees.
- The Selection Committee, comprising existing permanent staff and management interviews the applicants after which the committee will recommend prospective candidates for a 12 (twelve) month fixed term contract period.
- The employee signs a 12 month fixed-term contract. (Refer HR Manual). The employee is graded in accordance to our grading system and gets inducted by the Training Facilitator. See Orientation Checklist in Annexure HR1.
- Applications for Permanent Employment are advertised on our farm notice board and 12 Month Fixed-term employees are invited to apply for vacancies as advertised. The same process as is (b) and (c) above is followed.
- When an employee signs a “Permanent Contract” he/she becomes a beneficiary (Refer HR Manual for Permanent Workers Contract). The beneficiary will be inducted through a similar Orientation Checklist but in addition will be taken through a workshop process regarding the Sun Orange Farms Workers Trust of which he/she is now a beneficiary. The Trustees representing the workers on the Sun Orange Farms Workers Trust Board are present during this orientation process together with the Training Facilitator.
Together with a Labour Resources Practitioner and a Labour Lawyer we have developed an extensive Human Resources Ma nual that covers every aspect of employment as required by the Labour Act. This manual can unfortunately not be distributed but may be viewed at our office. The HR Manual is available at all times to the shareholders and the Workers Committee has received dedicated training regarding the contents of the manual.
A comprehensive orientation process is conducted with each non-seasonal or casual worker. This process is facilitated by our Training Facilitator who spends up to 5 hours with each beneficiary explaining each process and procedure all as per the pro-forma Orientation Checklist as per annexure HR1. The induction process exposes the employee to the contents of the HR Manual.
2. Assessment Process
This process is applied to each beneficiary of the Sun Orange Farms Workers Trust. This in-depth and very comprehensive assessment process takes about 7-8 hours to complete (conducted over a 2-3 day period) and includes a visit to his/her home to meet with their family and to compile a socio-economic profile on the shareholder.
This profile forms the basis to determine the gap analysis and also to use as a means to measure and monitor progress on an annual basis. The assessment process is conducted by the Training Facilitator who uses a scientific application designed for Sun Orange Farms (Pty) Ltd by a specialist Human Resources Practitioner. (See Employee Assessment Document – Annexure HR2
3. Training, Development and Capacity Building
The success of the Sun Orange Farms venture will be determined by realizing our vision – To enhance the value of our People. Training, Development and Capacity Building for our shareholders is the single most important aspect to successful Economic Empowerment. We have developed a document – See “Training and Developing People” (Annexure HR3) that incorporates our strategy to achieve our vision.
Our “Training and Developing People” document clearly allows any beneficiary (male and female) the opportunity to achieve Entrepreneurial Status within the company structure. Our beneficiaries know that the only obstacle in the way of their personal goals is themselves. We encourage and promote self-advancement for any beneficiary that wishes to achieve management level.
All aspects of training are of equal importance with some categories of training regarded by the industry as non-core business training but determined by Sun Orange Farms to be vital in the quest to allow the beneficiaries the opportunity to develop personal confidence and self-esteem as valued beneficiaries and contributors to the long-term sustainability of this Company.
The 12 month Fixed-term employees also take part in a number of these initiatives to determine their motivation and willingness to participate in self-development. For instance, all 12 month Fixed-term employees are enrolled for the ABET initiative. This allows us the opportunity during the 12 month fixed-term “probation” period to more accurately evaluate any potential beneficiaries.
Where possible all our Training is conducted within accepted accredited unit standards as determined by the National Training Initiative and Agri-SETA. We have also developed a number of our own training modules tailored to comply with our specific requirements.
Herewith an outline of the different categories of Training, Development and Capacity Building initiatives in which all beneficiaries are expected to participate. (See Training Map annexure HR4).
- Technical Training. Technical training is a given within most industries and the Agricultural Industry is no different. The emphasis is to ensure many of the existing staff including new recruits are accredited with documented proof of their technical skills.
- Soft and Life Skills Training. We regard this training category as an essential ingredient and also the most challenging. (See Personal Life Skills Programme – Annexure HR5) This programme took us 18 months and a great deal of money to develop. This programme emphasizes the importance of the individual together with their families and includes a social profile of the beneficiary together with a personal needs analysis to enhance the beneficiary’s home environment. This is an on-going process that requires constant re-assessment and maintenance social assistance. This category of training is very challenging because it involves a number of social and cultural issues. The voluntary co-operation of the shareholder is required for best results and it is for this reason why we involve the entire family in the counseling procedure. In order to monitor progress we re-apply the Assessment Process as re ferred to in (2) above. Our HR Facilitator conducts this re-assessment on an annual basis – a very time-consuming but rewarding exercise.
- Business Skills Training. Business Skills Training includes a wide range of applications that are applied on a more selective basis depending on the individual. There are a number of universal modules to which all beneficiaries are exposed in accordance with the National Training Initiative. We have developed numerous additional modules within this category of training that enables our beneficiaries to fulfill their role and function within their category of employment. (Refer to Training Map – Annexure HR4) Our Training Map clearly shows the different modules ranging from basic management to entrepreneurial specific training including the full range of computer literacy training. (See Computer Center below)
- Generic Training. Generic Training covers all aspects of employment and their rights as citizens and employees within the South African Constitution and the Labour Act. We encourage our beneficiaries to be responsible for themselves and to be conversant with laws and regulations governing conditions of employment. We have a Workers Committee consisting of beneficiaries elected by the workers. The Workers Committee has a Constitution and regular meetings are documented and the minutes displayed on the company notice board. The Workers Committee received more dedicated training regarding labour law, conditions of employment and the HR Manual. The Workers Committee also performs the role and function of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee. Generic Training includes dedicated training regarding the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Official handbooks and a range of standard documentation, procedures and processes as provided by the Department of Labour form part of this portfolio.
- ABET Training. Adult Basic Education and Training is a back to basics literacy and numeracy training intervention that is crucial to the success of our HR, Training, Development and capacity strategy. This initiative receives strong support from the National Training Initiative and Agri-SETA. This is an audio-visual computer training course using Media Works software. Although computer driven the candidate need not be computer literate as the computer is the “Teaching medium” only. The computers, facilitator training, and workbooks are supplied by Agri-SETA. Sun Orange Farms provides the venue (Computer room), employs the accredited facilitator and all ABET training is done during work-hours. All beneficiaries are assesses by the facilitator. The assessments are forwarded to Agri-SETA head-office in Pretoria where the candidate is registered. The candidates commence with ABET Level1 and progresses to ABET Level 4. All candidates write an external exam (on the premises) for every level. When the candidate achieves ABET Level 4 he/she is able to read, write and speak English to the equivalent of our National School Grade 12 Level. This is an incredible initiative that is very willingly supported by our beneficiaries.
- Learnerships. Learnerships form part of the National Training Initiative. Candidates can progress from National Certificate in Farming Level 1 to Level 4. Application is by NMMU (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) lecturers who deliver the training at a suitable training venue in the Sundays River Valley. The entry level required qualification for a candidate is the equivalent of the National Education Department Grade 7. A course will only be conducted when 12 learners are registered at one time. Each module is an advancement of three basic components:
- Numeracy and Literacy
- Business Management Training
- Electives – Parts (1) & (2) are universal to all learnerships in all industry sectors and the Electives deal with specifics with an industry – in our case, the Citrus Industry.
- Sun Orange Farms initiated the first Learnership with the citrus industry and this course was successfully completed in April 2006. We have 2 candidates who have successfully achieved their National Certificate in Farming Level 1. Existing education levels amongst our beneficiaries for continuous learnership training is a limiting factor which we are addressing with our ABET initiative.
ABET Class in progress
- Occupational Health and Safety. Although this is a specific category, this training is broadcast within a number of the previous training categories. We do however keep a score-sheet specific to Occupational Health and Safety issues and use this category of training to top-up on more dedicated modules. The Occupational Health and Safety Committee (4 Beneficiaries) are all appointed Safety Officers who are responsible for the implementation and maintenance of all basic requirements within the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The Department of Labour conducts an annual audit on the farm and also meets with this committee for capacity building and consultation purposes.
Computer Training Facility
We have an established computer training facility on the farm. This is the small beginning to our vision of later establishing a more sophisticated inter-active training center incorporating various functions including an up-grade of our present facility. Our computer centre consists of one computer room with 6 computers, 3 ABET Computers and 3 Multi purpose computers. The Multi-Purpose Computers are Microsoft based and are used for Basic to Advanced computer literacy application, a Magic Math’s Programme, English Reading Programme, Typing Programme and numerous Personal Programmes including Household Budget and Personal Finance Programmes. The Computer Centre also includes an office for our HR Facilitator who is also the Accredited ABET Facilitator. Our Computer Center is an enormous success and plays a pivotal role in the application of our Training, Development and Capacity Building Strategy.
Grading and Performance Appraisals
Our beneficiaries are monthly paid according to a grading system. The grading system is reviewed in consultation with our beneficiaries to include recognitions for different training and personal achievements. We are developing a Performance Appraisal procedure in consultation with our beneficiaries. The Performance Appraisal will be scored in three categories on a monthly basis:
- Task related score-sheet for every category of employment. Each category of employment will have all the tasks relative to that position listed. Each task will be scored on a simple “acceptable” or “not acceptable” basis. Tasks performed as “not acceptable” will give us the opportunity to determine if training intervention or counseling is required.
- Application of our disciplinary code of conduct. We have a company code of conduct and a comprehensive step for step disciplinary procedure (Refer HR Manual). Minor and less serious offences are scored on a monthly basis. An accumulation of similar continuous offences can result is a full disciplinary hearing. Serious offences attract a full disciplinary hearing.
- Recognition performance on activities not related to (a) or (b). This score-sheet takes into account numerous performances such as attitude, attendance record, appearance, management of personal finance (not forever having to borrow money) willingness in various training initiatives, communication applications, willingness to work overtime when required, team spirit etc. These score-sheets are determined in consultation with the beneficiaries and will make a big contribution towards balancing employer/employee expectations.