PiCompany - talent development is key to economic growth

This year the national taxi associations in South Africa (SANTACO and NTA) will start pilots in setting up new businesses in express parcel delivery in cities like Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. The launch of new parcel companies is the result of a talent development initiative of the Dutch/South African PiCompany.

“Structured international knowledge exchange leads to a higher quality of workplace based education and training. It also leads to creating employment”, says Sybe Rebel, PiCompany’s managing director. In 2014, his Johannesburg-based enterprise organised a knowledge exchange program to The Netherlands for South African taxi entrepreneurs that was intended to enable them to start up small businesses in express parcel delivery. “We cooperated with EVO, the Dutch transporters organisation”, Sybe Rebel explains. The taxi and parcel case is a good example of PiCompany’s efforts in the area of knowledge exchange between South African and European businesses and their executives.

Need for talent development

There is strong need for the exchanges and the talent development that Rebel and his staff initiate. “Developing countries like South Africa have a need to improve the quality of their education and training as well within the public sector as within sectors and companies. Education is the key to economic development, especially workplace-related education and training.”

At the same time, Rebel adds, South Africa struggles with logistics and supply chain infrastructure, technology and knowledge. The catch up with infrastructure – building roads, train, ports and airports – has started but the knowledge is lacking or concentrated within a small group of professionals. And what’s more, says Rebel: South Africa is aware that it needs to transform the economy in order to include the population in economic activity and, especially in senior and executive leadership. A quality improvement is needed for this particular group in terms of experience and knowledge. “A large part of the population has experience in trades but did not have the chance to translate this into formal qualifications which make them better suited for the labour market. A better-qualified workforce stimulates economic growth.”

Knowledge exchange programs

PiCompany offers knowledge exchange programs with The Netherlands on logistics and SCM (Supply chain management). “We support the transport sector and companies like Maersk, Transnet, Imperial, TNT and DHL in upgrading their management and leadership talents. This is an extremely educational program that entails a three-week stay in Rotterdam. A similar program was executed for the banking Industry from 2009-2012.” PiCompany also focuses on the agriculture sector, with the design and organisation of study trips that include company visits and lectures.

Recognition of Prior Learning

An interesting area is the improvement of the qualifications of the workforce. “We offer Recognition of Prior Learning programs for the water sector and banking industry. These programs offer relevant qualifications to candidates, based upon evaluation of their work experience.” Sybe Rebel is proud of the results. “Our involvement in Recognition of prior learning (RPL) in South Africa resulted in the founding of the Ministerial Task Team on RPL in 2012 at the Department of Higher Education in South Africa. We also are in the process of training 40 professionals who will take 300 learners through a RPL process.”

“Our International Leadership Program (ILDP) for the banking industry resulted in 75 graduated potential executive managers between 2010 and 2012. Our ILDP for the transport and logistics sector resulted in 75 graduated managers (between 2012 and 2014) and created a pool of future executives and senior managers for different companies and the sector. Several managers were promoted after the program. Obviously we are proud of the results we achieve. Our success proves that education truly is the key to economic development!”

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