Qualifications and training - ask the right questions

01 February 2017 Inseta
Nadia Starr, Learning Division Manager at Inseta

Nadia Starr, Learning Division Manager at Inseta

The South African financial services industry has a long, credible history of doing business in a specific way.

In an effort to reinvigorate the industry, the Financial Services Board (FSB) has encouraged the industry to embrace a culture of Treating Customers Fairly, putting it at the heart of their business.


This has brought a renewed focus on education and training and specifically, the question of whether the education and training system is in fact supporting the industry to achieve its regulatory and business imperatives.


Asking the right questions


The formal South African education and training system is among the most mature in the world. With the introduction of democracy 22 years ago, and the associated necessity to recognise previously ‘informal’ learning as well as the impetus to create a system of parity between qualifications, came the establishment of the South African National Qualifications Framework.


This does not mean that we do not have challenges in the education and training space. One of the challenges that Inseta recognises is that, just as insurance has its own jargon and policy wording, so too does the education system and thus brokers are not always able to engage critically with the system and are not able to asking the right questions of the right people.


Firstly, it is important to clarify the roles of certain entities in the skills development and broker support space. The role of the FSB - the industry regulator – is the establishment of regulation and monitoring of compliance. INSETA – the Insurance Sector and Education Authority, looks after the regulation and monitoring of accredited qualifications and training providers and the funding of training in the industry. While the compliance officers and training providers tend to play the intermediary role in respect of advice and training, respectively, with regards to credit requirements. This clarity is important as many brokers find themselves frustrated after contacting the INSETA to establish how many credits they may require to obtain a specific license – this is not our role and therefore we encourage brokers to ask this question of their compliance offices.


Get value for your money


Another challenge that we have identified is that brokers are not asking the training providers the right questions. While the learning that they receive is largely of high quality, some brokers are possibly not getting sound advice when it comes to their learning needs and their compliance requirements.


Inseta has also identified that while brokers are aware that they need a certain amount of credits to receive a qualification, for example 120 credits, they are not always given good advice and end up achieving small packages of credits through skills programmes from different providers and may then end up having achieved in excess of 120 credits that are not in fact relevant for the achievement of the qualification. We therefore urge brokers and training providers to firstly establish the qualification that the broker needs to achieve and then work together closely to achieve the requirements of the qualification and not focus on incoherent skills programmes.



The simultaneous challenge


A simultaneous challenge at the moment is attracting new skills to the industry. While we have one of the best recognised learning systems in the world, the standard of primary and secondary education in this country is making it challenging to find new entrants and the misperceptions about the industry make it difficult to attract top skills into the industry.


We have noticed that high achieving students are deciding to pursue careers as doctors and lawyers rather than to pursue careers in the financial services industry. This is a major challenge as the industry ages and remains largely untransformed


The positive side


Despite the challenges we need to focus on the positive initiatives available. Inseta is doing a lot to support skills development and offers bursaries and learnerships to small business in support of full qualifications for their already employed staff.


In addition, we also offer learnerships where companies are provided with funding to support unemployed matriculants to achieve a full qualification and get work experience within the company. Inseta will pay their stipend every month as well as their tuition costs and companies are expected to provide work stations and mentoring support in the workplace. When the learnership is properly implemented it can be used as an effective recruitment tool as well.


We also have a management and leadership programme which is tailor made for the insurance industry and has captains of the insurance industry mentoring attendees through a tough university programme that focuses on leadership.


We work tirelessly to produce employable skills for an industry that we love and we are fortunate to support an industry that is largely taking up the challenge of providing skills and work experience for the many unemployed youth that are currently not in education and training. With continued support and robust engagement we believe that INSETA through partnerships with industry can make a real impact on the industry and the communities that we serve.


Quick Polls


How confident are you that insurers treat policyholders fairly, according to the Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) principles?


Very confident, insurers prioritise fair treatment
Somewhat confident, but improvements are needed
Not confident, there are significant issues with fair treatment
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