When it comes to training staff, there is a great question and answer that never tires:

CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in training our people and then they leave us?”
CEO answers CFO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”

This should give us all pause for thought when deciding on budgeting for training staff; however, in a South African context, there are a number of good reasons to upskill staff and an important one is to help your business save energy, and saving energy helps the bottom line!

Energy Training can mean a number of things, but to keep things simple I am referring to:

  • Intensive training that offers specialised skills in Energy Efficiency and related subject matter with some form of accreditation. This is typically training for small groups of people; or
  • Awareness and behaviour change training to improve general subject knowledge without accreditation. This is often a one-to-many auditorium or workshop environment.
  • Energy Awareness

An often quoted statement is that poor energy behaviour change alone can save a business 10% of its energy bill. These savings might be hard to quantify at first, but instinctively I feel 10% underestimates how much is actually possible having seen what ‘poor’ energy behaviour looks like in a variety of environments from commercial offices, retail spaces and manufacturing sites over the last 5 years visiting 100’s of clients’ sites.

Spending the small amount of time required to educate staff on easy to understand, improved energy behaviour not only pays dividends many times over for your business but also educates your staff on how to save energy in their own home!

  • Specialised Energy Training

A challenge faced by many operational and technical staff in the manufacturing sector is that they are increasingly being asked to reduce energy consumption as electricity prices escalate while doing their primary role which is to ensure production figures are maintained or improved. These two objectives can often be seen to be in conflict.

I have met many highly qualified and experienced Professional Engineers who simply weren’t taught how to consider or take energy efficiency into consideration in their respective roles and without additional training, just don’t have the skills to identify and quantify energy saving opportunities.

  • State and Tax Incentives

Closely linked to the above, is the knowledge businesses can gain from Specialised Training in understanding what incentives (Government Departments and SARS) might be available to them when upgrading existing equipment or building a new facility, especially in the manufacturing sector. Imagine being able to credibly claim that new equipment being purchased is great for production, but will also save on energy, and then on top of that, some of the CAPEX will be subsidised or a rebate could be earned!

  • Skills Development and Supplier & Enterprise Development

BBBEE, a uniquely South African policy, has resulted in certain minimum requirements that need to be met by most organisations if they wish to do business with the public sector and most large corporates. Of the five priority BBBEE elements on the scorecard, two elements can be addressed through training, namely; Skills Development for 20 points and Supplier & Enterprise Development for 15 points out of a total of 118 points.

What this means is that you can not only get your staff trained that will result in energy costs being saved, but you also get to use this training to meet your BBBEE Skills Development spending – in part or in full – without having to send staff on alternative training that may not address a cost to your business.

You can also support your suppliers or 3rd party qualifying organisations by offering them training which may in turn result in savings that you can enjoy once they have optimised their operations. This is done through Supplier & Enterprise Development.

These requirements and spending targets have become more and more stringent over the years – 6% of payroll on BBBEE Skills Development alone. It’s time to leverage these requirements to your business’s advantage as well as to your staff’s benefit!

So there you have it, 4 distinct ways that your business can save money by upskilling your staff! If you want to find out more about the courses Terra Firma Academy offers or how we can help you with your BBBEE scorecard, please get in touch!