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INSETA commissions research to support skills

INSETA commissions research to support skills
07-05-14 / Staff Writer

INSETA commissions research to support skills

Previous research conducted by INSETA shows that there has been progress with transformation of the insurance industry.

Transformation efforts in medium and large enterprises in the categories Sales Workers and Admin Workers are paying off. For Sales Workers, Africaans constitute 65.3%, Coloureds 8.7%, Indians 5.8% and Whites 20.1%. For clerical and admin workers, Africans comprise 40.8%, Coloureds 23.7%, Indians 10.6% and Whites 24.8%. While these rations are closer to reflecting SA's demographics, improvement remains a challenge.

The converse is true for small enterprises. In the category Sales Workers, Africans comprise 21%, Coloureds 8.4%, Indians 7.2% and Whites 63.2%. Blacks make up an even smaller percentage of total employment in small enterprises - this means that we have far too few black entrepreneurs in the industry. Whites constitute 63.8% compared with 36.2% for blacks.

The poor status of transformation in small enterprises means that much effort and substantial resources are needed to promote and support black small businesses, with a focus on both skills development and business support.

Black entrepreneurs complain that there remain structural barriers of entry into specialist areas of the profession. It is therefore important that these be identified through research.

Ms Sandra Dunn, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of the Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA), says her organisation has commissioned Len Deacon and Associates to conduct research on its behalf.

Ms Dunn says: ";We encourage all INSETA's stakeholders to give of their time by participating in the research, which shall prove significant to all in the sector."

"Whilst we have achieved much in the twenty years of South Africa's democracy, the outcome of the research shall further enhance INSETA's strategic planning process and take our organisation and its stakeholders to new heights in terms of transformation and developing scarce and critical skills."

The research is expected to provide information on the insurance industry to identify:

The state of transformation;

Available skills and skills shortages;

Areas that offer job creation opportunities, across all levels;

Gaps between qualifications and skills, that may be addressed within the INSETA mandate, and

Interventions, to address the identified gaps.

The research will also provide a thorough and meticulous profile, including an executive summary of the state of skills in the insurance sector and its sub-sectors. The latter comprises of short-term insurance; life insurance; risk-management; unit trusts; funeral insurance; reinsurance; insurance and pension funding; health care benefits administration and activities auxiliary to Financial Intermediation.

Ms Dunn adds: "We at INSETA are passionate about transforming the country and empowering young people. We look forward to the expected outcomes of the research."

The service provider is expected to deliver an analysis of the research data, compile a report and support INSETA, in its dissemination of the data, in all nine provinces. INSETA says it was agreed that research would commence in the short-term insurance sub-sector and then proceed to other sub-sectors. Len Deacon and Associates will engage with stakeholder forums of INSETA that may wish to consult in guiding the content or direction of the research.

In the past, INSETA has funded transformation in the insurance sector through a number of projects and programmes; a prime example is INSETA's support of the South African Actuaries Development Programme (SAADP). INSETA's sponsorship helped to increase the number of black female actuaries from 2% in 2002 to 5.5% in 2013.

INSETA has also supported learnership candidates for SMMEs, hosted training workshops for burial societies and supported first-year BComm students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

"At INSETA, we are constantly striving to find new ways to empower youth and transform the landscape of professionals in South Africa. We look forward to discovering new market pools which we can train innovative youth to work in,"concludes Ms Dunn.

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