Why Employer Based Training is Key to Economic Success

Employer Based Training (EBT) is at the foundation of a nation’s economic success. It wants to make every employer a training campus and every employee a part time learner.

It will take time and resources, but the training partnership between employers and institutions is underway and EBT will be an excellent addition to any TVET system. 

Singapore is a regional model in EBT that is interesting and important to study. While no one country’s model fits easily in a second country, we can look to those with vibrant economies for lessons to be learned. 

Singapore began EBT operations in 1961 when skills development was moved from Singapore Polytechnic to its own management framework. 

Over the next 20 years, the partnership between TVET and Employers was strengthened until the training system was virtually an extension of the human resources development departments of Industry. 

By 1990, this system was clearly paying off, and a country with no natural resources except the talent of its own people became a world leader in productivity in a range of manufacturing and service areas.

EBT locate most of the training in the workplace or on the job with only the supporting theory or underpinning knowledge taught in the usual way in the institutions. 

EBT programs recognize that entry level employees may not be immediately productive and they may need an opportunity to learn the specific skills, knowledge and abilities necessary to be successful in a specific job. 

EBT also helps the school in the employment transition process, which for recent graduates and those who have never been employed, is often difficult to manage. 

Key to EBT success is the provision of incentives to both employers and trainees. EBT programs may offer employers a range of incentives for hiring and training new workers. They may offer trainees incentives to begin skills development and get on the first step of the career ladder. 

Providing incentives encourages employers to:

  1. Hire and train entry level workers 
  2. Create job openings in locations with limited employment
  3. Become competent in and supportive of training.
  4. Accept their role as partners in overall workforce development.

Providing incentives encourages trainees to:

  1. consider employment, self employment or work team membership
  2. test out different skills areas to determine their interest
  3. develop basic employment skills
  4. leave home to go to a training site

6 Steps towards developing EBT programs in your TVET institution:

1. Appoint one of your staff as EBT coordinator. He or she should be senior enough and part of the decision making process. If this is not possible, put this as an important function in the institution’s director general’s office.

2. Make EBT and important agenda in your school strategy.

3. Develop strong links with industry to find out interest in EBT programs as well as the capability to deliver such. Also, identify the need for the industry to do EBT programs so that you can tailor your EBT to respond to what they need. Chances are if they see the value they get from these programs, they will be more supportive.

4. Find out success stories in EBT and visit these. Learn how they started and start your own after that. There is often no perfect start. Programs grow as they are implemented.

5. Involve your Board of Directors if you have and let them work with industry on developing EBT programs.

6. Identify industries in your area with EBT experience in other countries and start with them.

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