OLG Making a Difference in a Skills Scarce Southern Africa
“We want to make a real difference by enabling individuals to realise their career dreams through quality education, thereby contributing to building a better educated and skilled Africa.”
The CEO of the Open Learning Group (OLG), Rian Breed, adds that OLG plays an important role in the Southern African education landscape, as it assists a large number of students in both urban and rural communities to access quality educational programmes through effective and appropriate technology.
Registered and accredited
OLG, a registered institution with the Department of Higher Education and Training, is a private higher education institution in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Higher Education and Training (HET). OLG is also registered as a skills development provider with the Quality Council of Trade and Occupation (QCTO), with extension of scope with the Transport SETA (TETA) and the Wholesale and Retail SETA (W&RSETA). All HET qualifications are accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) for distance learning, and all TVET qualifications are accredited by the relevant SETA’s.
Education enabler of choice
“OLG is an experienced education enabler, particularly in distance learning, supporting the learning journey for other education institutions and assisting them to increase the throughput of graduates within Southern Africa,” Breed adds. “In essence, we help to offer an accessible and affordable alternative to campus-based programmes.”
OLG currently provides administrative and operational support to a number of education institutions, which offer distance learning programmes in the fields of Education and Teaching, Policing and Nursing.
OLG provides an articulation pathway of its own qualifications within the Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LSCM) field of expertise. Accredited and specialised LSCM qualifications ranging from National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 2 learnerships to an NQF Level 7 degree, are designed to equip students with relevant skills and knowledge as required in the workplace, and to advance individuals’ careers to the next level. Accordingly, OLG has established itself as the preferred education and training provider for several leading logistics companies across South Africa and Namibia. “Since the introduction of the first qualification in 2010, we have been on a learning journey with more than 3 500 students,” says Breed.
OLG’s specialised LSCM programmes include:
- Higher Education and Training Qualifications: Fully-accredited Higher Certificate, Diploma and Degree qualifications that are designed to prepare and develop individuals for the dynamic world of logistics and supply chain management.
- Short Learning Programmes: These programmes are ideally suited to individuals who want to up-skill in a specific area in the logistics and supply chain industry, who have successfully completed a tertiary qualification in a different field of study, but whose career path has developed within the field of logistics and supply chain management.
- Learnerships and skills programmes: OLG offers learnership qualifications from TETA and the W&RSETA. This focus allows both companies and employees to derive utmost benefit from the practical workplace components that comprise vocational qualifications.
Investing in skills development
By investing in skills development across the logistics and supply chain industry, OLG aims to:
- Improve the general standard of those wanting to pursue careers in the industry.
- Create a body of knowledge through its research arm for the benefit of all stakeholders in the industry.
- Create opportunities to gain knowledge, skills and competencies in the form of a specialist articulation pathway.
- Create employment opportunities for its graduates, as well as an avenue for its industry partners to recruit highly qualified and competent employees.
Through skills development, students can obtain recognised qualifications by means of professional development programmes that will lead to invaluable work experience and personal growth. Skills development also allows individuals to up-skill (or even re-skill) according to their career aspirations and/or needs, which will provide the employee with increased motivation and confidence to fulfil his or her duties in the workplace.
As a result, improved efficiency, effectiveness and eventually business operations will emerge, as businesses will have better skilled employees working at a higher level of productivity, completing work faster and more accurately.
OLG recognises the challenge of throughput rates in the TVET and HET sectors, and has aligned its business to promote student success throughout the student life cycle. Distance learning can be challenging and OLG wants to provide all the support required for students to succeed. “Proactive, continuous engagement with students is fundamental to the successful completion of their qualification, all the way from enrolment to graduation. We are constantly looking for innovative ways to support students on their learning journey,” says Breed. “One such way is the introduction of regional Learning Hubs, where students will have access to additional learning support.”
Accessible, affordable, relevant
“Our blended learning model offers a flexible and user-friendly solution to students through effective and appropriate use of technology. This approach does not only promote accessibility to education, but also makes it much more affordable for students. OLG is a forward-thinking institution, committed to making a difference by offering individuals the opportunity to obtain a relevant qualification that will advance their careers, and delivering qualified and competent employees. We want to provide education that is accessible, affordable and relevant,” concludes Breed.
As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Open Learning Holdings (OLH), OLG was established in 1997 and has played a part in the education of more than 500 000 students over the past 19 years.
The challenge of high unemployment rates and skills scarcity persists. Through its support to other education institutions, and provision of its own qualifications, OLG is facing up to the challenge.