Mutual & Federal committed to staff development

12 April 2011 Mutual & Federal

The insurance industry must make a concerted commitment to staff training and development in order to overcome severe skills shortages and meet Employment Equity (EE) targets. This is the view of Hannes Smith, Group Manager - Human Capital Development at Mutual & Federal, a member of the Old Mutual Group, which has long been dedicated to skills development.

Mutual & Federal believes in an integrated approach to skills development, holistically combining theory and practical training to ensure well-rounded, competent staff members. The company aligns training modules with the National Qualification Framework (NQF), ensuring that learners receive national qualification credits recognised by INSETA (Insurance Sector Training Authority) up to the NQF Short-Term Insurance Level IV qualification.

Among its programmes, is the Mutual & Federal Foundational Certificate in Short-Term Insurance which was runner-up in the Finance Sectorcategory of the 2010 Achiever Awards. This certificate programme consists of an Introduction to Insurance module, supplemented with clusters of in-depth short term insurance skills programmes.

“We are also proud of our relationship with the UNISA Centre for Business Management. The fact that our Foundational Certificate is recognised as a bridging programme to the IISA Programme in Short Term Insurance at NQF Level-5 adds a new dimension to promoting continuous learning”, continues Smith.

Mutual & Federal has also featured in the Empowerdex surveys as one of the insurance industry’s top trainers and staff developers.

“Success in the skills development pillar is key, as training a new generation of knowledge workers is central to the Financial Sector Charter,” says Smith.

“Our development model is about long-term commitment through proven mechanisms. A quick fix to suit scoring methodologies is not appropriate. Mutual & Federal does not outsource staff development, all training is customised to Mutual & Federal requirements with industry-wide applicability to give learners on-the-job competence, marketable skills and strong CVs.”

Smith says Mutual & Federal is comfortably within the Financial Sector Charter (FSC) EE guidelines requirements (6.69 as at October 2010), and staff who have been in programmes over the last seven years since the Charter was first drafted, are now progressing through the company’s various junior management levels.

Mutual & Federal offers learnerships, internships, and graduate development programmes that involve intensive training, coaching and job shadowing to develop talent from within, rather than recruiting externally.

Smith notes that in 2009 there were 255 interns completing internships at Mutual & Federal – arguably making us one of the industry leaders in offering learning scheme initiatives. In terms of BEE, the company’s most recent scorecard shows improvements in the areas of Management Control, Employment Equity and Enterprise Development, while Skills Development remained positive at 11.59.

“Long-term sustainability through internal skills capability is a strategic business imperative” concludes Smith.

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