Speech by Mr Marius Meyer at BMT College Graduation Ceremony

Qualifications and Quality in HR: Raising the Bar on Professionalism and Standards by Mr Marius Meyer at BMT College Graduation Ceremony

Today you are receiving your certificates as qualified HR and other students from BMT College. Congratulations on achieving another major milestone in your life and career journey.  I always say:  HR and ETD practitioners spend so much of their time developing other people that they often forget about their own development.  The business world has changed significantly over the last couple of years. However, the sad news is that according to top economist Azar Jammine, a lack of skills development remains the biggest obstacle to economic growth in South Africa. We cannot afford to perpetuate the current unemployment rate of 25%.  Skills development is key in this regard, and your role as candidate practitioners is thus of utmost importance for the economic growth of the country.

Additionally, we need to realise that the world of work has changed. As the medical profession has advanced, it is predicted that the next generation will be able to reach and exceed the age of 100. This is good news, but if we consider that only 6% of the South African population has enough money to retire, the economic and social impact could be serious. What does it help us if we live longer, but we can’t sustain ourselves?  Furthermore, knowledge doubles every six months, and a certificate or diploma in itself is not sufficient to remain at the cutting edge.  BMT helped you over the last few years to become qualified, but what about the next twenty to thirty years?  These days, people also move much easier between jobs and employers.  In the old days you would work for forty years for one employer, now you move on at regular intervals, but yes, President Mugabe is an exception to this rule. Also, you need to manage your own career, your employer or BMT will not do it for you.

As the professional body for HR professionals in South Africa, the SA Board for People Practices has a dual role, i.e. to execute its mandate to quality assure universities and other learning providers of HR programmes,  and secondly to act as a professional body for HR professionals. We therefore also accredited BMT College and you can thus be assured that we have evaluated the quality of learning provision and assessment practices at BMT.

But what is professionalism?  Professionalism is the act of continuously meeting standards of ethics and professional practice in a chosen profession. Good news is that in accordance with the NQF Act, HR professionals can now register with SABPP and their designations are being uploaded on the National Learners Records Database at SAQA. More good news is that HR Professionals registered at the top four professional categories of SABPP (MHRP, CHRP, HRP, HRA) have now been approved by the Minister of Justice, Advocate Michael Masutha as Ex-officio Commissioners of Oaths. Thus, no more standing in queus at Police Stations or the office of an accountant to get your certificates and documents certified.  This is a major achievement and significant milestone for us as qualified HR professionals.

According to Meister and Williard the 2020 workplace will be radically different from that we are used to today:

  • You will be hired and promoted based upon your reputational capital.
  • Your mobile device will be your office.
  • The global talent shortage will be acute.
  • Recruiting will be done on social networking sites.
  • The world will be networked and you will need a networked mindset.
  • Corporate social networks will flourish and grow inside companies.
  • Lifelong learning will be a business requirement.
  • Work-life flexibility will replace work-life balance.
  • Diversity will be a business imperative.
  • Social media literacy will be required for all employees.

Lastly, I want to end with 5 tips for qualified professionals in view of lifting our game in 2015:

  1. Make a list of the top 5 high-impact things you have learned from your studies at BMT and develop an action plan to make them work in your daily work as a professional.
  2. Embrace technology: Blended learning is in, but e-learning and m-learning will drive learning.
  3. Join the social media revolution. Get linked-up on linked-in, twitter and other social media platforms. You will learn and share faster and more effectively than ever before.
  4. Focus on stakeholder relations and customer service. Imagine what all of us can achieve if we dedicate one year of exceeding customer expectations.  We could start a revolution that will make South Africa better.
  5. Get yourself registered as a candidate or professional with a professional body in accordance with the NQF Act (No 67 of 2008). Use the new National HR Competency Model and National HR Standards to benchmark yourself against the best.

The successful organisations in the 2015-2020 era will be those who become people-driven entities based on the notion of corporate citizenship – sustainable organisations who are driven not only by business needs, but also by the human and stakeholder needs of society. These companies are able to adequately respond and position themselves strategically to grow, leverage and optimise people, both in and outside the organisation.

Hence, it is all about change. You are changed people after today. You came here without a qualification, and you are walking away with a qualification.   Also, I want to thank the BMT College management and  staff for the hard work and dedication to build a talent pipeline of qualified candidate professionals for the South African market.

And lastly, but most importantly, to you the BMT students:  While you are surely proud of your achievement today, the bad news is that the world owes you nothing.  Rather, you owe a contribution and value to the world for the space you occupy.  Make us proud of you, your families, your organisations, sectors and BMT with your achievements, become the best employee and professional you can be. You are the change agents who will rewrite the history and future of your organisation, and leave a legacy for the next generation. I congratulate and salute you today, but please join me in changing the world tomorrow.


Marius Meyer @MariusSABPP

Marius Meyer is CEO of the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP), the HR and HRD professional body and ETQA for HR and HRD learning provision. Previously he was qualification leader for the HR honours degree programmes and lectured in HRD at the University of Johannesburg and University of South Africa. He has been an HRD professional, consultant, academic and thought leader for the last 21 years.  He is a regular speaker at local and international conferences and author of several articles and books.  The three most recent achievements of his team are as follows:

  • South African HR Competency Model
  • National HR Standards for South Africa (first set in the world)
  • HR Professionals recognized as Commissioners of Oaths by Minister of Justice

More information about SABPP is available on their new website www.sabpp.co.za you can also follow them on twitter @SABPP1.



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