The role of training and skills development in promoting performance improvement by municipalities in the Free State Province
The introduction of training and skills development legislation, such as the Skills Development Act No. 97 of 1998, and the Skills Development Levies Act No. 9 of 1999, has forced organisations to invest in the development of skills of its employees in South Africa. The National Skills Development Strategy, the Human Resource Development Strategy for South Africa and the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA) are other legislative measures introduced by the South African government to contribute to the importance of training and skills development in organisations. It is necessary for the public sector organisations to train and develop the skills of its personnel in order to improve organisational, team and individual performance. Training and skills development should also assist in forming the basis for lifelong learning and to increase productivity and quality of work. A comprehensive human resource training and development strategy should be linked to the business strategy and the human resource management strategy in organisations. The primary objective of this study was to analyse the views of employees and to determine their level of awareness regarding training and skills development and how these can improve performance in the Free State Province municipalities. To reach this primary objective, a number of secondary objectives were considered as relevant. These included exploring the concepts of training, skills development and performance management. An analysis of statutory and regulatory guidelines pertaining to training and skills development and the assessment of structures, procedures and processes that exist in municipalities for the promotion of training and skills development were also highlighted. The effects of adequate training and skills development on performance in the Free State Province municipalities were analysed. Lastly, guidelines and recommendations regarding training, skills development and performance management were developed for municipalities in the Free State Province. The research was conducted in the Free State Province municipalities. It comprised of a literature study and an empirical survey using questionnaires and interviews to obtain information from managers, supervisors and frontline staff in the Free State Province municipalities. The respondents were tested on their views regarding the impact of training and skills development programmes in improving performance in their workplace. The findings of this research demonstrated that training and skills development enhances performance of personnel in specific functional areas in the Free State Province municipalities, and for this to be more effective on performance in municipalities, it should be provided adequately in specific areas of the Local Government Five Year Strategic Agenda, particularly to the Free State Province municipalities. Some of the most important findings of this research are the following: •that most of the managers and frontline staff in Free State Province municipalities received adequate training and skills development programmes; •that most of the trainings and skills development programmes received by managers in the Free State Province municipalities were related to their job tasks; •that managers and frontline staff in Free State Province municipalities felt motivated to do their job tasks after they were provided with training and skills development programmes; •that managers in Free State Province municipalities still find it difficult to ensure public participation by their communities even after training and skills development programmes were provided to them; and •that adequate training and skills development of personnel improves performance in many functional areas in municipalities in Free State Province. The study ends with recommendations for management actions on training needs, and for further research on this topic.