?In the greater scheme of things, R11,3m is not a lot of money, but for the indigent and historically disadvantaged learners who qualify for the bursaries, it makes the world of difference?, says Sandra Dunn, INSETA?s CEO.
Professor Shirly Hyland, University of the Free State?s Law School agrees, ?The University is very grateful for INSETA?s bursaries and highly values the partnership with INSETA. Understandably negotiations with them are tough, but we have an excellent relationship with INSETA. Without their bursary programme, the sponsored students who all have excellent academic prospects would not be able to continue their studies. It would be a great loss to them, their families, the university and the economy if their studies were discontinued due to a lack of finance. The university is indeed also in a much better position to manage the risk posed by the potential non-payment of fees.?
Scarce and critical skills in the insurance sector include:
- Management & Leadership
- Claims assessing
- Business and systems analysis and development
- Advice and sales
As an enabler of skills development, INSETA relies exclusively on partnerships to roll out its strategies, and in the case of bursaries or academic programmes, the role of tertiary institutions such as public universities and FET colleges is of critical importance.
Other strategic partnerships with the sector include:
- Professional Associations: programmes supporting professional enhancement, eg certified financial planner
- Internships and learnerships: work based experience for graduates and FET learners who require work experience
- Vocational: generically vocational programmes such as the National Certificate Vocational (education and development)
- Occupational ? programmes related to occupations
- Technical ? programmes of a technical nature
Dunn explains that the strategy to boost learners studying at public higher education institutions is very important.
Two years ago, INSETA launched its programme to support unemployed youth to achieve full qualifications in scarce and critical skills in the insurance industry. The project is for Bursaries for Youth not in Employment and the aim is to support youth not in employment who show great academic potential to obtain qualifications required in the insurance and related sectors.
This year, INSETA extended the invitation to all public universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges. The response was good considering that this was the first time that this funding window was opened to public universities and TVET colleges.
INSETA received applications from 10 institutions for a total of 433 unemployed learners.
This compares very favourably with the target of 300 unemployed learners to be supported with bursaries to acquire scarce and critical skills.
While 405 bursaries (totalling R11,3million) were approved, the balance of the applicants (28 bursaries) is pending final approval, subject to the submission of outstanding information from the tertiary institutions. No applications were therefore declined.
The learners must study qualifications in the following streams:
- BComm (Insurance, Risk, Finance, Investment) stream
- Financial planning stream
- Actuarial Science stream
- TVET college NCV in Financial Management, IT, Business Management, Sales & Marketing
They must be in their 2nd?year or higher education including post-graduate learners and must have an academic average of 55% or higher. The universities or TVET colleges must identify the learners using their respective means tests.
Research shows that tertiary education automatically increases a learner?s chances of being absorbed by the job market ? yet tertiary education is not an option for all learners who work hard at school and earn a bachelors pass. This is mainly due to a lack of financial support, which underlines the importance of INSETA?s bursary programme.
Dunn says, ?While we are therefore very happy that we have exceeded our target, more TVET colleges need to be brought on board so that their learners can also benefit and be drawn into the talent pipeline for the insurance industry.?