Beefing up the skills gap

Upskilling the workforce in the agricultural sector has been critical, says HR manager Cindy Nkgoeng.

Investing in the training and skills development of the workforce is critical for the success of agricultural operations for future generations.

This is the view of Cindy Nkgoeng, HR manager at Beefmaster Group, who says that upskilling the company’s workforce has been critical.

“Although training and development have always been a high priority, in the last two years we have seen a significant need to increase this investment, given the pivot in skills required during Covid-19,” Cindy explains, “The training does not only extend to growing skills in the workplace, but also the social, intellectual, and emotional wellbeing of our staff.”

She says that the pandemic created challenges to the traditional classroom-type training and development environment in 2021.

“Our work environment at our beef processing plant is mostly workstation-based, which creates a high level of speciality, but this can also lead to employees losing an understanding of the entire golden thread of the abattoir process,” explains Cindy. “This is why it is important to us to focus on how the functions of the various departments – like communication, animal welfare, animal illnesses, health and safety and quality assurance – are interconnected, so as to improve employees’ ability to address daily workplace problems.”

The company also provided legislative training to staff, including drivers, boiler operators and first aid officers.

Cindy added, “Training is critical to improving our employees’ skills and building their competency. It has also proved key to bridging the gap that often exists between the classroom and on-the-job performance.”