Training: Training ideas from across the seas

Training ideas from across the seasWhat can we learn from the German trade union training experience? Numsa VW educator, Xolani Tshayana asked Keith Andrew, from German metal union, IG Metall, how his company and his trade union organise training for workers.


Time running out!The deadline for companies to submit their Workplace Skills Plans (WSP) is the end of June.Current regulations do not require the company to get the signature of shop stewards before they submit to the Merseta. So if workers want their companies to train according to their needs, warns training coordinator, Malebo Mogopodi, they should “start engaging with their employers now.”

Training – back to basics!”Transform our workplaces through training and through enforcing employment equity targets,” says training coordinator, Malebo Mogopodi. She says that training demands submitted to the National Bargaining Conference show that there is a lack of adequate information or adequate knowledge around skills development in Numsa.

She stresses that workplaces should make sure that they have functioning training committees and that no training takes place outside of these committees. “We must achieve our vision “from sweeper to engineer”, she says.

What type of training does Volkswagen (VW) and the IG Metall offer?The Volkswagen Coaching offers internal training on the following topics:

Information technology
Technical issues
Communication and cooperation
Robot academy

In each of the four categories there are a number of seminars ranging from classical vocational training through to personal coaching.

IG Metall offers trade union educational courses that cover all relevant topics ranging from the history of the trade union movement through to expert training for members of Youth Committees, Shop Stewards Councils, Works Councils and Economic Committees. Educational training takes place at local, regional and national levels.

Who benefits from your training?Both the participants and the providers benefit from educational courses. The target of trade union education is to bring increased benefits for officials and members.

How do you accommodate the unemployed youth?There are a number of local/regional apprentice programmes that support unemployed youth by financing additional apprenticeships through donations collected from local and regional institutions.

How does VW recognize workers after training?Every form of education is a gain for individual persons (possible promotion) and their organisations (efficiency). The quality of educational measures is shown in the implementation of the results.

How do you deal with the issue of releasing workers from production to attend training?At VW this depends on the question of whether it is a necessary vocational training or an issue of personal development. In the first case, the workers are released in coordination with their supervisors. The supervisor and the worker decide together which measures are necessary and report the demands and requirements to the educational coordinators of the VW Coaching.

Personal education can be obtained within the framework of the Adult Education Act. This allows workers to take five days paid holiday per year to take part in educational training. This Education Act does not apply to all federal states in Germany. Another possibility is to visit a technical college or school after working time to achieve a higher vocational qualification. A Factory Agreement allows for up to five years unpaid leave of absence for private education measures.

Trade Union education can also be obtained within the framework of the Adult Education Act, which allows for workers to take five days paid holiday per year to take part in educational training. Various working groups, courses and weekend seminars are offered through the local, regional and national offices of the IG Metall. Members of the Works Council can be released from duty for educational measures without loss of pay (§37.6 Works Constitution Act)

How do you involve the trainees in decision making about their training issues?The framework for the vocational training plan is laid down by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (responsible for the preparation of apprenticeship training programmes and examinations). There is little or no involvement of trainees in the decision making process.

How do you integrate women workers into your programmes? The various educational courses offered at Volkswagen and in the IG Metall are open to both men and women.

Do you train and employ disabled people and where do they work in Volkswagen?Some 6% of the workforce of the Volkswagen AG are classed as disabled workers. They work in various parts of the factories, and are employed at workplaces that are suited to their individual disability. There are no extra training programmes for disabled workers at VW.

Name and contact details of institution providing bursary and deadline

Areas of study it covers

Who can apply


Contact: e-mail: 011 484 9310Facsimile: 011 484 9319

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Deadline for Technikon second semester studies – June 30

University degrees – October 30

University undergraduate degrees and technikon diplomas and B Tech in the fields of engineering, production management, metallurgy, polymer technology and sales and marketing

If you work in a company that is paying skills levies to the MERSETA:

you or
your spouse or child can apply.
Pre-employed applicants will also be considered.

Numsa’s Mbuyiselo Ngwenda Bursary Scheme

Contact: Gezile Gumede Tel: [011] 7833578

Bursary Administrator, Mbuyiselo Ngwenda Bursary Fund, PO Box 787352, SANDTON, 2146.

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Deadline: 31 July

B Com Accounting, Auditing and Financial Management
BSc/B Eng (Engineering Degree and National Diplomas):- Computer Science, Biomedical Science, Civil, Industrial, Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, Metallurgical and Information Technology.
B Education (majoring in maths and science)

If you are a Numsa member or a Numsa staff member and you or one of your dependants would like to study, you can apply.

If you want to do a degree, you must have Grade 12 with a symbol C in Higher Grade, Mathematics and Physical Science or Accounting.
If you want to do a diploma you must have Symbol D in Higher Grade Mathematics and Physical Science.

Reminder – don’t forget to apply for bursaries in time!

Note: There are many other bursaries available. Look at the Umsobomvu Youth Fund web site at or look for a book in the CNA called The Bursary Register.