National Youth Development Agency invests in skills development and legal compliance in the workplace
"As a result of a management meeting [of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA)], as a collective we realised the need to have some sort of training in disciplinary enquiries. Our HR department did the necessary research and found [the course in Disciplinary Enquiries at the Workplace] to be the most relevant."
Kevin Govender, senior manager in charge of all NYDA branches, deals with all issues relating to staff members and disciplinary hearings in a national agency aimed at creating and promoting co-ordination in youth development matters. Elected as the employer representative (prosecutor), he relates to the relevance of attending training in the correct management of and compliance to disciplinary proceedings that affects employees.
NYDA plays a key role in ensuring that government, the private sector and civil society make youth development a priority by identifying and implementing solutions to address youth development challenges. Established in 2008 to help address the problems facing South African youth, such as skills development and unemployment, NYDA is the result from a merger of the National Youth Commission and Umsobomvu Youth Fund.
Attending the course, delegates from NYDA were provided with valuable practical training on their respective roles and functions as applicable during any disciplinary process. Fair and impartial disciplinary enquiries have many positive effects in the workplace and assist with the establishment of trust in management. It also helps avoidance of consequences of an unfair dismissal referral, as well as all the cost and time involved in litigation disputes.
"It adds immense value to what I do, and I would recommend this [training] to anyone I work with," Govender added conclusively.
Dr Paul Smit, course leader and lecturer in the Department of Human Resource Management at the University of Pretoria, noted that the group of delegates from NYDA exhibited a lot of enthusiasm and interest in the course.
"You can definitely see there is a need to learn more, but what is also clear is that many of [the delegates] say, 'We can now go back to the workplace and confidently implement the right procedures.'"
Coming from different backgrounds and as far as the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo, Dr Smit addressed the fact that the delegates' different roles in their workplace, especially among senior employees, prompted many questions regarding the disciplinary process.
Vusumzi Makinana, branch manager in Port Elizabeth, stated, "The course is very relevant, especially in managing staff. We frequently come across dealing with employees' issues and we have to make sure that we follow the correct procedure and that everything we do is within the confines of the law."
"It gives us insight to be comfortable in instituting disciplinary hearings whether we act as witnesses, initiators or even when chairing hearings," he said about the benefits of the course.
Dr Smit further noted, "I received very good feedback [from the delegates]. People had certain perceptions on how things should be done, but quickly realised it is not necessarily the right way."
"Introduced in 2006, I present this course three to four times a year - and I am honest when I say, this was one of the best group of delegates I have had since its inception."
NYDA senior and branch managers from eight provinces attended a customised (client-specific) short course in Disciplinary Enquiries at the Workplace at the University of Pretoria during the first quarter of 2015.