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INSETA exceeds disability targets by 299% and trains 22 364 workers

02 July 2009 The Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA)
Participants on the Glenrand MIB Limited learnership programme in 2008

Participants on the Glenrand MIB Limited learnership programme in 2008

The Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA) has exceeded the targets set by the Department of Labour for training people with disabilities by 299% during the past financial year, according to INSETA performance information released this week.

INSETA also far exceeded targets in several other areas during 2008/09, with a total of 7464 workers entering learning programmes, and 22 364 workers completing learning programmes.

Sharon Snell, Acting Chief Executive Officer of INSETA, said the excellent results, particularly in the number of people with disabilities who achieved qualifications at NQF level 3, 4 and 5, show that the industry is well geared to take on physically disabled workers – and that companies in the sector are increasingly trying to do so.

Said Snell, “Where we have been very successful during the past year is in marketing our learnerships, particularly to disabled learners and workers. Our overachievement by almost 300% shows that as a SETA we are doing very well in including those with disabilities.

“It also shows that the insurance industry is well geared to take on learners with physical disabilities – and companies must be commended for their efforts in this regard,” she added. At a recent graduation ceremony, Michael Brand of Santam advised that Santam had employed over 77% of the disabled learners who successfully completed their learnership.

Snell, however, said that more could still be done to include those with intellectual disabilities – who have not been well assimilated into the sector thus far.

“We have been successful in meeting the needs of physically disabled workers, but the needs of those with intellectual disabilities have not been as well taken care of. These individuals need to be brought into the formal economy and we are currently setting up a task team to look into how this can best be achieved,” said Snell.

This move would require increased investment from the Inseta and the industry to succeed, she added.

INSETA has highlighted Glenrand MIB Limited as one of the sector’s high performers with regards to the transformation agenda – with the company having launched one of the industry’s largest learnerships for disabled people in 2008. A total of 32 learners, 24 of whom are disabled, enrolled onto the Glenrand MIB Learnership Programme last year.

Derek Watson, Glenrand MIB Transformation Officer and Member of the Executive Committee, described the move as “historic”.

“As a company, we have resolved to do our utmost to ensure that we play a meaningful role in the transformation of the insurance industry so that the industry is representative of and correctly reflects the demographics of the South African population. This historic learnership initiative is a further, and important, step in our contribution to the transformation of the sector,” he said.

“We were very excited about this learnership as we have had such a resounding success with them in the last 5 years,” he added. Glenrand MIB is currently working to find employment for all of the people – disabled and otherwise – who completed their learnership last year.

Commenting on the overall performance figures – 7464 new learners signed up and 22 364 workers having completed learning programmes in 2008/09 – Snell said this was due in part to INSETA’s renewed efforts to market its various learning programmes, which include learnerships, bursaries and study vouchers.

“Our targets for bursaries and vouchers were exceeded by 1000% but going forward we want to look at issuing fewer bursaries of a higher quality. We want these learning programmes to improve the skills in the sector and have conducted a stakeholder survey to find out exactly what it is that the industry needs in respect of bursaries– which will be implemented in the current year.”

Snell said that the organisation is currently working with higher education institutions to expand the scope of its learnerships and internships – which includes adding more programmes at the NQF 6 and 7 levels.

“This will enable the sector to develop its own talent from within, and will address succession planning, skills shortages and transformation in the sector,” said Snell.

In terms of employment research the insurance industry fills 2500 – 3000 new jobs per year. However, with the world economy struggling and South Africa now officially in recession – the target will be a tough one to meet.

“President Zuma recently came out saying that we will create 500 000 new jobs by the end of the financial year. We greatly welcome this initiative as it is in line with what our industry is already trying to do,” explained Snell.

“We do not want job-shedding, we want to job creation. Our learning programmes are important in this instance as we can re-skill people in employed learnerships to fill other jobs if they are retrenched, and in that way retain employment within the sector.”

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