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Leaving a lasting legacy; the power of skills development

By in Education, Research, Policy on August 25, 2016

A Chinese Proverb wisely indicates that: “If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” To fulfil its mandate to develop the skills necessary to bolster economic participation, the Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Fasset) has vowed to leave a “Lasting Legacy” – and it aims to do so by following a carefully mapped, strategic plan.

With the message that “You are the next big thing”, Fasset encourages partnerships and buy-in from industry employers, in order to embrace change and build a skilled, equally represented workforce. “Fasset, together with employers, Professional Bodies in the finance and accounting services sector, and institutions of higher learning, has weaved a tapestry of learning and development in South Africa,” confirms Fasset’s Chief Executive Officer, Cheryl James. “An investment in our people today will benefit people in the future.”

Fasset aims to increase the flow of new finance and accountancy entrants into employment, develop and grow skills required in the sector and facilitate the transformation of the finance and accountancy sector. “To achieve this, partnerships must be formed and the sector must work together,” believes James.

To deliver on its mandate, while remaining effective and relevant, Fasset went back to the drawing board to develop a strategic plan that would ensure positive results. In consideration of stakeholder needs, and in response to the changing SETA landscape (as proposed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande); Fasset developed #LastingLegacy strategy.

This new strategy presents a more focused approach, rather than a change in direction. The strategy hinges on two pillars: placement (direct placement into employment, including learnerships and internships), and academic support (supporting learners to complete their degrees, professional qualifications and/or designations).

Fasset recognises that if it is to leave a lasting legacy, it needs to build a robust and sustainable skills pipeline. “Engaging on issues of transformation is important to us,” says James. “We aim to foster an employer population that is engaged.  Our funding policies have been revised so that we are able to enhance employer participation and to increase participation of African Black and Coloured learners in the sector.”

With a noted under-representation of African Black people in all nine provinces and Coloured people in the Western and Northern Cape provinces, Fasset has honed in on these areas to facilitate the transformation imperative. This means that Coloured learners in the Western and Northern Cape provinces can now access Fasset’s bursary schemes, apply for grants and be funded on discretionary projects. Resultantly, Western and Northern Cape Province employers also benefit, as they can now fully utilise the grants available to them.

Fasset’s #LastingLegacy strategy strives to benefit the sector, the learner and the employer. “We have reviewed the systemic problems in the skills development system and came up with innovative solutions with the aim to ensure that both the Learner and Employer benefit in the pipeline,” concludes James.

To get more information about the revised interventions, please visit our website on www.fasset.org.za  to access more information.