The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the FIA. The article below was supplied by INSETA.
For the past 15 years, the Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA) has actively partnered with the industry to address challenges around full qualifications and FAIS credits. People within the industry have been provided with ongoing training over the years, but some never achieve their full qualifications. This has created a serious threat for future employment, both for current members and for people looking to join the industry.
NSETA’s mandate is to promote skills development in the insurance and related services sector. Employers whose annual payroll is over R500 000 per annum are compelled to pay skills development levies through SARS. All employers, regardless of whether they are levy payers or not, can participate in skills development programmes. INSETA offers a number of funding mechanisms to the sector for learnerships, internships, bursaries and skills programmes.
A learnership is a structured, work-based learning programme that includes both theoretical learning with an accredited training provider and practical experience in the workplace, leading to a registered qualification. INSETA qualifications take approximately one year to complete.
Learnerships are therefore granted for a one-year period. Workplace employers are expected to apply timeously for approval and financial support (if required) to run a learnership. Employers may fund learnerships themselves, but will still be required to apply for approval with INSETA via the normal processes.
Applications are accepted during open application windows only. This happens between April to June annually. These windows are communicated on the INSETA website and via the INSETA call centre to all registered INSETA stakeholders.
The communiques will include the hyperlink for employers to access the online application form. INSETA registers and funds learnerships for the employed and unemployed. The funding is for tuition costs and stipends (for unemployed) only.
INSETA conducts site visits to employer premises to ensure their working environments are conducive to learnerships. We also conduct regular monitoring sessions to meet with employers and learners to track progress and make sure everything is running smoothly.
An internship is a period of work experience offered by an employer to give students and graduates exposure to the working environment, usually in a specific industry that relates to the intern’s field of study.
Internships can be as short as three months, or as long as 12 months. Workplace internships promote access to work experience for unemployed youth. The expectation is that employers provide space and equipment to enable the learner to apply their theoretical training in the work environment.
Employers are expected to enter into a fixed term contract with interns. The relevant HR policies and procedures will then prevail in respect of intern conduct in the workplace. Unemployed interns are paid a stipend, which is not a salary, but covers expenses like travel and meals. Employers may top up the stipend, but are not obligated to do so. No deductions from the INSETA stipend portion is allowed. The stipend is provided by INSETA after successful application and subsequent approval of an internship programme. Employers are not obligated to employ the interns on completion of the internship, but placement is encouraged.
Bursaries and short-learning programmes
INSETA also offers bursaries and short learning programmes to address the shortage in credits, which is a major problem faced by employees in the industry.
Accessing funds takes place in two phases:
- PHASE 1 – Compliance
Employers who fall within the insurance sector and who wish to apply for funding first need to register with INSETA by sending an email to registrations@INSETA.org.za.
You will then be required to submit an online workplace skills plan (WSP), which you will need to do each year should your application be successful. The WSP should reflect the current profile of the organisation and inform us of your skills development plans.
INSETA’s skills planning division can help you to complete this report online. Simply call 011 381 8900 for assistance.
Once we have received all your information, we will evaluate the reports and provide you with feedback.
- PHASE 2 – Funding application
Funding applications can only be submitted during INSETA’s application window period. We run workshops each year before the funding window opens to explain the requirements in detail.
All applications must be submitted online and will only be considered if you have successfully passed through the compliance phase. Once we have received all the necessary information we will evaluate your application, based on a set of fixed criteria and guidelines, we will communicate our decision once the evaluation process is complete.
We encourage all FIA members to participate in one of these educational programmes in order to help uplift the skills base across the insurance industry. This is one of the ways in which we can help to drive economic growth and make a positive contribution towards transformation in our country.