In a bid to elevate the professionalism of Supply Chain Managers, Cabinet has stipulated that government will only employ qualified SCM practitioners and assist to plot their career paths within a system of excellence.
To facilitate this new culture of success, the Department of National Treasury (NT) is on a path of significant capacity building, Kevin Naik, Director for Supply Chain Policy Training at NT, told delegates at the SmartProcurement World Conference.
- standardising specific practises for both Provincial and National Government departments and their personnel;
- improving overall SCM capacity and the levels of competency of the cadre;
- developing partnerships with all relevant stakeholders; and
- instilling a culture of learning and continuous improvement throughout all organs of state.
NT will require input from executives and managers to further identify the appropriate education and training programmes that will lead to formal qualifications such as the Higher Certification in SCM level 5, and the Postgraduate Diplomas at SCM level 8.
Furthermore, Naik explained the enormous need that exists for Treasury to provide central leadership and set the standards; many government departments are experiencing:
- inadequate competency levels;
- inconsistent competency and knowledge levels;
- non-adherence to a common competency framework for all occupational levels; and
- a diversity in skills levels for specific functions across government.
To cater for this dilemma National Treasury has entered into strategic partnership arrangements which will, in the medium term, assist to escalate the pace of education and training reform:
The Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (Palama), tasked with facilitating training on approved SCM learning programmes; making use of SETA accredited training providers for accredited SCM programmes; and appropriate tertiary education Institutions.
NT recognises the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Southern Africa (CIPS Southern Africa) as the professional representative body for SCM in South Africa.
NT’s actions tie in with the launch of the third National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS3) by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
Central to the NSDS3 is a drive towards occupational-specific training and addresses the need for need for intermediate and higher level professional qualifications.
“We need to focus on quality if we are going to improve this country’s skills base. For instance, even though the system supposedly delivers about 9 000 artisans a year, we are still hopelessly short of artisans,” said DHET Minister Blade Nzimande at the launch of the strategy.
There are very distinct learning maturity levels to which that each practitioner needs to aspire and must achieve over the course of a career [see graph alongside]. It is noteworthy that elsewhere in the world, procurement professionals now need a license to operate, ensuring that each individual has the competency, qualifications and skills which are fit for task, said Andre Coetzee, CIPS Southern Africa CEO, who joined Naik on the SmartProcurement World podium.