Learnerships: an INSETA success story

31 October 2007 INSETA

Traditionally, apprenticeships were not done in the Insurance Sector. So learnerships were a 'new' concept, introduced with the advent of SETAs. "It is so encouraging", says Mike Abel, CEO of INSETA, "to see just how the Sector has embraced learnerships and given it their full support".  The FSC has also had a role to play in that companies are required to work towards meeting employment equity targets, but again, voluntary support by the Sector has been substantial.

Employees who were learners and are now permanently employed by the same company that gave them the learnership opportunity, say the support they received from their colleagues was immense. Audrey Mothupi, HR Director of Liberty, believes that the success of learnerships is that learners become an integral part of the company. The same performance expectations that the employer has of all its permanent employees also applies to the learners. Learners confirm this and say that from the outset, they are made to feel part of the family.

Learnerships have a theoretical component and work-based experience. This gives the learner an understanding of and valuable working experience in the job. In a learnership,  an experienced person guides or coaches  the learner through the work as well as providing a mentoring aspect to the training.

INSETA has a number of differentiated types of learnerships for employed learners, unemployed learners, for new graduates and unemployed graduates. INSETA is also a pioneer in the introduction of an Internship programme, working closely with Higher Education and Further Education and Training institutions. New graduates are introduced to companies as interns, giving them a start in their working careers and improving their chances of  employment when the Internship ends.

Learnerships are a key offering of INSETAs Discretionary Grant Funding. Over the years, INSETA has channeled millions of Rand into this area of skills development and has thousands of learners on various learnership and skills programmes. The national skills development agenda is further supported by the criteria against which this funding is allocated to 85% black, 54% women and 4% disabled learners.   

Erwin Pillay, who worked at Glenrand MIB on an INSETA learnership and who is now employed there, gives us an idea of what his learnership has meant for him. "My learnership fast-tracked the learning and work-based experience. Teamwork was an integral part of my learnership and the ready acceptance of learners when we first arrived, really boosted morale". "The pipeline of new entrants to the sector is a key objective of INSETA's skills development initiatives", says Mike Abel. "This is what INSETA strives for and clearly is making a reality in the Insurance industry".

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