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Open Access Factors influencing increased expertise for a sustainable workforce at a research centre in South Africa

Setting: The Desmond Tutu Tuberculosis (TB) Centre (DTTC), Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

Objectives: 1) To determine whether access to designated funding is associated with the development of expertise in employees, and 2) which other factors are associated with the development of expertise in employees.

Design: This was a retrospective study. The target population consisted of all employees at the DTTC during the period 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2011. Improvement in expertise during employment was the primary outcome; the secondary outcome was an increase in educational level linked to the National Qualifications Framework.

Results: There was no association between access to funding and expertise development, but an association between the number of months employed and improvement of expertise during employment was observed (OR 1.03, 95%CI 1.02–1.04, P < 0.001), controlling for age at appointment, sex, access to designated funding and education level.

Conclusion: The study shows that almost a third of employees increased their expertise, more than 90% had access to designated funding and personnel employed for a longer duration were more likely to experience improvements in expertise. We encourage research organisations in low- and middle-income countries to implement strategies to retain employees in order to build their expertise.

Keywords: capacity building; employee retention; training

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa 2: Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France

Publication date: December 21, 2014

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