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Fasset’s AGM and thank you function impresses

10 November 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Fasset
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Author: Fasset

Addressing skills formation across the post-school pipeline remains a focal point for Fasset.

Fasset (the Seta for Finance and Accounting Services) hosted its fourteenth combined Annual General Meeting and Thank You function at the Randpark Country Club on 11 September 2014. The theme for this year’s AGM, and a focal point for Fasset’s actions going forward, is "addressing skills formation across the post-school pipeline.” 

Guests included representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training, Board members, Committee Members, service providers, members of professional bodies and employers within the sector.

The Chairman’s Report, delivered by Acting Chairman, Professor Amanda Dempsey confirmed that Fasset remains a performance-driven organisation. 

One of the highlights during the period was the fact that Fasset received an Award from the Auditor-General of South Africa for a clean PFMA Audit Report in category National F. Fasset was one of only five public entities to be recognised. 

Fasset received R419 million in Skills Development Levies; R85 million was disbursed by way of Mandatory Grants and R327 million was disbursed by way of discretionary grants and projects. All unclaimed funds amounting to R164 million have been allocated to strategic projects identified by the Board and reflected as a surplus in our financial statements. 

Generally Recognised Accounting Practice (GRAP) does not permit committed funds to be reported as a liability. This unfortunately creates a misconception that there are unspent funds: this is not the case. Fasset would like to emphasise that 100 percent of budgeted funds have either been spent or allocated to approved projects currently in progress and for which payment is only due on completion of all deliverables. Such funds are held in trust and reflected in the Seta’s bank accounts as finalisation of all deliverables can take up to four years.

Fasset continues to serve as a cross-sectoral skills incubator for the development of a pipeline of post-school accounting and finance skills for the entire economy. As at 31 March 2014, Fasset had registered 30 learnerships; 4 273 learners were signed onto Fasset learnerships during the period. 

Of the 59 292 learners registered on Fasset learnerships; 792 are 18.1 learners (previously employed), and 3 481 are 18.2 learners (previously unemployed). Some 33 820 learners have already completed their Fasset learnerships. There are currently 35 792 learners from other sectors on Fasset learnerships. Fasset employers have registered 2 317 learners on learnerships from other sectors.

The demographic profile of learners on Fasset learnerships improved from 29 percent in Year 2, to 40 percent in Year 5, but decreased marginally to 39 percent in Year 13. A consistent placement rate of 100 percent on completion confirms the relevance of Fasset learnerships.

The Seta has adopted a pipeline approach to skills development. In keeping with this approach, the Seta funds Bridging Programmes for Access into Higher Education (NQF Level 5), Bridging Programmes for Access into Employment (NQF Level 6-7) and Academic Programmes which lead to the completion of a qualification and or a professional designation (NQF Level 6-8). 

Approximately 100 learners benefitted from Bridging Programmes for Access into Higher Education; over 900 learners benefitted from Bridging Programmes for Access into Employment; approximately 70 percent of the learners have been placed in employment, internships or learnerships. 

Another highlight during the period is the innovative work which Fasset is doing in TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) (previously FET) Colleges. Fasset has not operated in this space historically, as employers generally hire graduates with postgraduate qualifications. However, inroads are being made, and many Fasset employers, who may not have previously considered such candidates, are providing them with the workplace experience required to complete their TVET qualification; they are also viewing these learners as an alternative pool for mid-level recruitment. This augurs well for the future.

Fasset continues to build its workplace skills pipeline and support continuous professional development through the Seta’s Lifelong Learning programme. Twelve seminars were held during the period: 17 135 delegates attended, bringing the number of attendees since inception to 116 046. 

The Seta has always subscribed to the view that "the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” With the AGM and all formalities dispensed with, what better way to showcase the success of Fasset skills upliftment initiatives than through learner testimonials? 

Angel April and Katlego Malakane have been appointed Fasset Brand Ambassadors at the Gert Sibande College and the Sekhukhune TVET College, respectively, for the second year in succession. They said it was a privilege to be appointed as Fasset Brand ambassadors. The experience has proved life-changing as they are viewed by their peers and their community as role models. 

Sandra Ngubo is a beneficiary of the Fasset-funded Phadisa program. Ngubo wanted to complete a B Com Accounting, but was unable to enroll due to a lack of funds: "I found myself not at school at the beginning of the 2013 year  and I was very disappointed. I came across the Phadisa program. Being part of the program was the best thing that has ever happened to me. At the end of the program I was goal-driven. I knew what I wanted, but unfortunately I was not accepted into the NSFAS bursary scheme and couldn't enroll again this year.” 

She has been accepted to study BCom Accounting at UJ in 2015. In the interim she is tutoring accounting to grade ten and eleven learners on the Kliptown Youth Programme and is working on obtaining funding for her academic studies at UJ. 

Thandikhaya Mditshwa is a beneficiary of the 2012/2013 Fasset-funded Ukuthemba programme. Like thousands of young South Africans, Thandikhaya dropped out of university due to financial pressures: "Employment prospects were poor in Umtata. I relocated to Gauteng where I found employment as a cashier I thought I would be able to save some money in order to further my studies, but this never happened. Fortunately, the Ukuthemba project came to my rescue. I was able to resume my studies when I was accepted onto the Ukuthemba programme. Ukuthemba gave me a chance to study. I associated with people who shared the same values and goals. English is not my first language. Through soft skills and accounting skills, I have learnt to express myself better.” Thandikhaya is currently employed by PetroSA as a Management Accounting Trainee. 

Magare Annita Bambo is a beneficiary of Fasset’s TVET Workplace Experience Project: "I am happy to be the one of the first TVET learners to be flying this plane. I am happy that the TVET learners placed at KPMG are as passionate as I am about making this work, flying the plane so high, with pride, to make it possible for those who are still at college and wishing to be where we are today, to have the same chance.  We are indeed grateful and we grabbed this opportunity with both hands and told ourselves that we need to do our best so that we can open doors for other TVET learners. My personal experience at KPMG is wonderful as they created a safe and comfortable environment for us to learn and develop when we joined. A brighter future is what I am positive about as we are being developed by the best firm and its people.” 

The MC for the day, Lukhanyo Macaula is a beneficiary of the Fasset-funded Thuthuka programme: "I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Fort Hare. Fortunately in 2006, I was able to maintain focus on my post-graduate degree at the University of Johannesburg due to the Fasset-funded Thuthuka programme. One would have to be in a similar position to understand how it feels to be sponsored by people who take the time to make sure that you are not just another student but a well-rounded individual. This funding I received not only helped me through my Honours year, but reduced my student loan.”

Fasset tries to instill a sense of the importance of lifelong learning in all of its learners and project beneficiaries: "I am very proud to say that I am currently attending the Middle Management Development Programme (MMDP) at Gibs. My plan is to study for my MBA at Gibs once I have successfully completed my MMDP.”

Macaula is the Group Reporting Accountant at AECI Limited. 

Fasset would like to encourage all of its stakeholders to avail themselves of every opportunity to empower and upskill their employees through Fasset’s various skills initiatives and incentives. It is only by doing so that it will be possible to address skills formation across the entire post-school pipeline. 

This article first appeared on the November/December edition on Tax Talk.


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