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INSETA and Wits partner to develop SMME leaders

10 November 2010 INSETA and Wits

Wits Business School and the Insurance SETA (INSETA) have partnered to design and launch a new programme aimed at advancing business and leadership skills in insurance sector small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs).

The Certified Programme in Leadership Development (CLPD) is a first of its kind programme for the sector and will give SMME leaders the important skills to deal with the many challenges they face. The overall objectives are to give managers a broad exposure to the fundamental nature and process of management and human behaviour within organisations, and to facilitate the transition from management to leadership.

The programme is designed for people in leadership positions in SMMEs in the sector and for high-potential employees who have been identified by the organisation as potential leaders. Previous tertiary level academic qualifications are preferable although not essential to apply; the programme thus opens doors to many people who many not yet have the qualifications, but do have experience and leadership potential. It is also run on a part-time basis.

Doug Cairns, the programme’s director at Wits Business School, says that the programme is designed to develop management and leadership skills across a broad range of disciplines required in SMMEs.

“We looked at three particular objectives when outlining the skills to teach in this course. Firstly, these leaders should be able to systematically explore opportunities and threats, appraise strengths and weaknesses and evaluate alternative courses of action. In this regard, they need to develop an increased awareness of the economic, political and social factors which affect business management in South Africa.

“Secondly, we impart the importance of the ability to innovate, which is a fundamental element for success in highly competitive environments, such as the insurance industry. And thirdly, we position leaders in a larger context; leaders need to be more than just effective individuals, they should also demonstrate a superior ability when interacting with team members and in getting the best out of people,” explained Cairns.

The programme content is ultimately designed to show leaders and managers in SMME environments how they can run their own small businesses more effectively and efficiently.

“The overall aim driving the programme is to develop the insurance industry as a whole. Part of achieving this will come from transitioning the SMME sector from being driven by talented individuals, to one that is led by cohesive teams of professional strategic leaders who are not only strong individually, but can also work exceptionally well with their staff and create successful businesses,” said Cairns.

Sandra Dunn, Chief Executive Officer at INSETA, echoed these sentiments and explained that the programme is an important new training initiative for the SETA.

“INSETA is excited about this initiative. There is a great need for training of this nature in the insurance sector; small businesses and entrepreneurial ability are key ingredients for growth and development in South Africa and with this programme we aim to develop leaders who can put their organisations on the path of sustainable success, who can innovate and create new products and services, and who can create jobs,” she said.

Programme participants all receive a bursary from INSETA covering all tuition and material costs. Visit www.inseta.org.za/ for details or call 0861 130 013.

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