9 - 11 May 2023
Johannesburg Expo Centre (Nasrec), South Africa

Knowledge and training – attitude, investment or journey?

Opinion piece by Nadine J Goliath

Knowledge and transfer of it is one of the cornerstones of our existence yet it’s importance and impact in modern society is often overshadowed. There are various learning paths that we come across in our journey as members of society. From infancy our interaction with things in specific environments, as children our social interaction and exposure to various norms, as adolescents and young adults our formal schooling and having to navigate various societal pressure and as adults the consistent journey of development, self-awareness and adding value to various facets of our lives.    

As a student I was exposed to the philosophical notion that change is the only constant. Although at first glance a bit contradicting but upon a more deeper view there is nothing closer to the reality of what we face within in our personal and professional capacities. As people, we are creatures of routine and habit as this is our brain’s way of increasing a sense of satisfaction and efficiency.

Research shows that those in our society that are deemed as influential have some distinct habits that amoungst other things include being confident in their abilities, identifying development opportunities through their good and bad experiences and ultimately graciously embrace disruption from a position of broaden their understanding of themselves and the environments they are exposed to better prioritise and focus their energy.

As South African’s we are rich in culture, unique experiences and social learnings. Through a global lens, we have become known for a variety of controversial matters. Politics, socio-economic considerations from a developmental and strategic perspective and our array of cultural ques really sets up our workforces on a platform of diversified perspectives and demands. Post-COVID-19, our people and economy has morphed into a society of concern and pressure to remain healthy, relevant and active as contributing members in our families, our working environments and ultimately for ourselves from a position of well-being. The concept of value has shifted in paradigm for so many of us that training and learning has not changed its demand or highlighted its neglect but rather reiterated its importance of who we are as people.

Training and knowledge should be accepted as an integral part of who we are, what we need and edge to consistently and graciously embrace disruption. This acceptance sets us apart to be better equipped to navigate our actions, values and parameters of impact and understanding ourselves in a world of consistent and often unexpected change.

Enriching our knowledge and training through exposure and deliberate action towards deepening the depth of our expertise and understanding of our position within society should be a necessity yet it is treated as an undeserving luxury. Our ability to develop is accelerated when accompanied by an attitude of willingness but flourishes when embraced as a continuous self-journey as appose to an obligation or external commitment that has no position in sustainable prospects. 

In the working environment, training and knowledge is deemed as a tool to establish competitive advantage or in some circumstances a mandatory activity to comply with processing relevance. However, its true worth lies in its ability to develop a mutual commitment and insight between employee, employer and various participants in the business and societal value chain. Often these opportunities related to knowledge transfer is has limited access with main contributing factors linked to cost, location and capacity restraints related to production demands dictating lack of participating or is can it be accounted to a limited perspective and interpretation of impact?

As a society are we not better off seeking out occasions of knowledge transfer and investing in training? As organisations fulfilling the triple bottom line reflecting on people, the environment and the moment of financial position. All of this, individual views and business positioning, rotates and become critical in our ability as socio-economic players to make meaningful moves during disruptive times and equipping ourselves continuously yet deliberately to be adaptable when change strikes.  These moves only become poignant when our attitude towards knowledge enhances self-realisation and when training is adopted as an investment within the journey of professional and personal life.