Are you aware of the importance of the OFO’s

Learning at work involves many different learning processes and can be long term or short term depending on the specific requirements, goals and objectives of the company and the specific employee.

Learning needs to be related to a specific job or occupation each of which requires specific skills and competencies in order for the employee to be able to do the job.

The NQF provides for a fully integrated and needs driven occupational learning system that will meet the needs of industry. To achieve this, extensive use will be made of an “Organising Framework for Occupations” (OFO’s).

The OFO will set the base for linking various occupations to specific skills and will assist in identifying further training needs. The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) will use the OFO as the basis for developing occupational qualifications to meet the needs of specific industries.

The OFO is a skill-based coded classification system, which encompasses all occupations in the South African context. The classification of occupations is based on a combination of skill level and skill specialisation which makes it easy to locate a specific occupation within the framework. It is important to note that a job and occupation are not the same.

Job is seen as a set of roles and tasks designed to be performed by one individual for an employer (including self-employment) in return for payment or profit.

Occupation is seen as a set of jobs or specialisations whose main tasks are characterised by such a high degree of similarity that they can be grouped together for the purposes of the classification.

Skills related to specific jobs and competencies which in turn are aligned to the “Organising Framework for Occupations” (OFO) are more narrowly concerned with the business goals of the employer.

Job profiles and skills audits should now be re-designed and looked at more critically in the light of OFO’s. This may be the opportunity for HR divisions to integrate many functions and processes thereby making a more visible and positive contribution to improve overall company performance and profit.

The goal of ongoing training at work is to enhance and upgrade the knowledge of the employee while at the same time empowering the employee in terms of specific positions, personal progression and succession planning.

Making use of OFO’s it is possible to make a comparison between the skills level of an occupation and the general education level associated with that occupation on the NQF.

In addition we can identify with the entry, intermediate and advanced levels referred to in the National Skills Development Strategy.

This will be to the benefit of all employees in terms of education and training and will add greatly to the ease of achieving a qualification by means of RPL assessment. In addition it will have advantages in terms of competency based recruiting and selection efforts.

Learning at work involves many different learning processes. These are difficult to categorise and compare as they are grounded in different paradigms of learning, have different goals, are associated with different kinds of activities, and are centred on different levels of the organisation.

Learning may be primarily oriented towards employee development, Skills related to specific job functions or more narrowly concerned with the business goals of the employer.

The outcomes of learning may be viewed by the employee as knowledge or skills development. This knowledge may, over time, be incorporated into company routines and procedures through a cycle of continuous improvement and knowledge creation.

The goal of ongoing training at work is to enhance and upgrade the knowledge of the employee while at the same time empower the employee in terms of specific jobs, specific career paths or in progression planning.

This is where the “Organising Framework for Occupations” (OFO) comes to the fore and plays a vital role if understood and used to the advantage of all.

Des Squire

For information on workshops related to Skills Audits, the NQF and OFO’s contact des@amsiandassociates.co.za

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