The financial viability of the training and development of pharmacist's assistants
Van Rooyen, Surika
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Skills Development through education and training has always formed an integral part of the development of individuals and the productivity and competitiveness of institutions. Education in South Africa, especially in the Apartheid Era, was a hotly contested area. Since the African National Congress (ANC) came into power in 1994, a new skills strategy was introduced and three important pieces of legislation were passed into law, namely the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Act, the Skills Development Act and the Skills Development Levies Act. The Skills Development Levies Act in effect forces organisations to provide their employees with training and provides for the reimbursement of their skills levies in the form of grants only if certain training criteria are met. The financial implications of the training and development of employees in South Africa comprise of costs and benefits. Human resource managers are under increased pressure to validate the, often substantial, expenses and the effect they have on the bottom line of the company. In an environment where competition is ever increasing and in the light of the financial impact of the new legislation, the financial viability of an investment in training and development is being questioned. A corporate pharmacy group raised a similar question. The general objective of this research was to determine the financial viability of the training and development of pharmacist's assistants in this corporate pharmacy group. The study consisted of a literature study and an empirical survey by means of a survey questionnaire to measure the impact of training as perceived by pharmacist's assistants and their supervising pharmacists and a questionnaire used during structured interviews with the key personnel of the corporate pharmacy group. The results of the interviews and an examination of the financial records of the pharmacy group were used to calculate the financial viability of the training programme for pharmacist's assistants. The results showed that the training programme for pharmacist's assistants in the corporate pharmacy group is financially viable for the group. Furthermore, a performance evaluation on the training programme indicated that the programme adds value to the group by yielding a return in excess of the required rate of return. Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that the pharmacy group should continue providing the pharmacist's assistants with in-house training because it is not only financially viable, but provides other intangible benefits. It is further recommended that the personnel of the pharmacy group have to be informed about the benefits of determining the return on investment of a training programme and trained in the implementation thereof. More effort should be put into the measuring of improvement as a result of the training programme at different stages of implementation of the programme. Further attention should also be given to the allocation of training costs within the pharmacy group.