The local financial services industry received a much-needed skills development boost earlier this week, following the graduation of a 2020 learnership intake. The programme was offered by the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) as part of the association’s ongoing strategic skills development and transformation programme.
In opening the virtual event, Ms Gugu Mkhize, CEO of INSETA said that the 2020 learnership programme owed its success to the sound partnerships between the FIA, INSETA, Invuya, and the various FIA members. She extended a special congratulation to each participant for completing the programme, and applauded the majority who had been offered ongoing employment or internship opportunities. “Whatever personal experiences you have gone through, and whatever hurdles you have overcome to achieve success, you deserve to celebrate yourself, and you deserve to be celebrated today,” she said.
The learnerships, funded by the Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA) and managed by the Invuya Institute of Learning, saw 40 qualifying candidates put through their paces by FIA member firms conducting business in the financial planning and non-life insurance advisory sector. “The learnership programme’s objectives are clear: we want to see the intermediated market, whether focused on financial planning, life or non-life insurance, investment, health care or employee benefits, growing and developing on the back of a future group of skilled employees,” said FIA CEO, Ms Lizelle van der Merwe, reflecting on the programme outcomes.
Learners were exposed to the entrepreneurial flair on display at South Africa’s advice and broking communities, and will emerge from the programme having gained valuable insight into what it takes to run a business in a tough economy. “We believe that our advisory businesses are the gateway to entrepreneurship within our sector; and many of our members have a proven track record of running successful businesses for more than 30 years,” she said.
The FIA believes that internships and learnerships served at its advice-focused members are a valuable entry point for young South Africans who are considering long-term careers in the financial services industry. The association adds that its advisory business members offer learners the unique opportunity to gain experience at the frontline of the financial services industry, where insurance and investment products ‘meet’ the end-consumer.
Van der Merwe had some valuable advice for the 2020/21 learnership graduates.
“You need to be open to continuous learning,” she said, before commenting on the benefit of being able to study while gaining ‘on the job’ experience. Other top tips included to take positive lessons from customer complaints and criticisms; to embrace and learn from competitors, both at a personal and corporate level; and to never make the same mistake twice.
Ms Veni Munsamy, Managing Director of Invuya, was on hand to congratulate the successful 2020 candidates and announce the handful of top achiever and merit awards in each of the learnership categories. “We are very privileged to share this momentous celebration with our graduates and would like to congratulate each of the learners on their success and commitment, especially during the challenging and extraordinary period we have just lived through,” she said. The 2020 honours went to:
- Meritorious achiever in the FETC Short Term: NQF 4 category was awarded to Nonhlanhla Ndlazi, Compendium Insurance Group and Khulekani Mpungose, Freshfields Insurance Brokers.
- Top achiever in the FETC Short Term: NQF 4 category was awarded to Mogau Ramothole, Marara Risk Solutions.
- Meritorious achiever in the FETC Wealth Management: NQF 4 category awarded to Siyamthanda Soga, Bespoke Wealth Management.
- Top achiever in the FETC Wealth Management: NQF 4 category awarded to Karl Singh, Flexiplan.
- Top achiever for the Most Deserving Learner in the Wealth Management: NQF 4, Work Readiness Programme was awarded to Shaneva Hendricks, Origin Financial Services.
“My heartfelt congratulations to the learners who graduated our 2020 programme for completing their learnerships under very tough conditions,” concluded Van der Merwe. “Your dedication is what got you here, and the industry bears witness that you can achieve anything you wish in your life, because you have the opportunity and the ability to do so”.