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With 21 Sector Education & Training Authorities (SETAs) established under the Department of Higher Education (DHET), there is a SETA for every industry. The Banking Sector Education and Training Authority (BANKSETA) serves the broader banking and microfinance sector in respect of skills development needs.

Caroline King, Acting CEO of BANKSETA says that since the establishment of the SETA, the organisation has continuously fulfilled its mandate and exceeded the targets as agreed with the DHET.

“The BANKSETA is committed to making a contribution to the transformation agenda of the country and specifically, to the banking and microfinance sector. The manner in which we drive skills development in the sector has yielded positive results; largely due to our robust research that informs the BANKSETA of sector needs and our response to them, the ongoing partnerships with the various stakeholders and innovative programmes. We pride ourselves particularly with our flagship programmes such as the Letsema and Kuyasa learnerships amongst others. The support provided for the different interventions varies depending on the needs of the targeted beneficiaries, says King. She explains that the Letsema learnership programme addresses the needs of the unemployed post-matriculants, while the Kuyasa learnership programme addresses those of the graduates. ‘In both instances, the beneficiaries are exposed to theoretical and work-integrated learning,’ says King.

‘These interventions led to beneficiaries securing permanent employment within and outside of the banking and microfinance sector.” According to King.

The BANKSETA has introduced a youth induction programme, which has a work-readiness component that focuses on the provision of soft skills training such as business communication, teamwork, financial management and professional appearance. The intervention is geared towards preparing first-time workplace entrants, as the experience can be daunting. This is a critical aspect of the programme as the success of the beneficiaries relies greatly on them being socialised to the new environment.

Another youth-focused programme which the BANKSETA funds is the Virtual Bank Work-Readiness Programme. With this programme, the youth are trained to develop credit and risk assessment skills for personal and business bankers. A simulated banking environment exposes participants to soft and technical skills over a six month period, and culminates in them obtaining a formally recognised banking sector certificate.

The Maths and Science Programme which provides the learners with academic, mentorship and leaderships skills - is rolled out in the various regions, covering KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Free State and Gauteng. This programme is aimed at improving the academic results of the learners, thereby qualifying them for entry into institutions of higher learning. The programme also builds capacity among the educators of the two subjects in historically disadvantaged schools.

However, the youth is not the SETA’s only focus. The BANKSETA’s International Executive Development Programme focuses on upcoming executives in the sector to increase the leadership pool within the industry. While it may not seem innovative given that there are many such programmes available, it is innovative with regards to the expert coaching provided to the individual future leaders, global exposure in banking and the networking afforded.

Through vigorous research and in partnership with the banking sector, the BANKSETA has implemented the African Expansion Programme which is aimed at supporting South African banks with their expansion plans for Africa. The programme will provide the groundwork and blue print for expansion into Africa focusing on 10 themes. The themes include Future focus, leadership, cultural intelligence, global risk, disruptors in banking, ethics, strategy and systems thinking, sustaining networks, optimising operations and customer centricity. This intervention is a highly targeted one, with the specific aim of providing the local banks with an opportunity to create a high level talent pool of individuals who can head the establishment of a new bank in any selected African countries and enable the transfer of knowledge and skills.

A pilot programme for the training of compliance officers, whose role is to ensure that offerings are in line with the statutes, regulations and standards applicable to the banking fraternity has been implemented by the organisation.

There is increasing pressure on the banking and microfinance sector to ensure that their business activities are compliant to legislation. Furthermore, the regulatory environment has become more complex. As a result, the BANKSETA has implemented a consolidated and harmonised approach to achieve compliance without overlaps, duplication or wasted resources.

The partnerships that the BANKSETA has and seeks are those that embrace the SETA’s mandate. The organisation’s success lies in the ongoing stakeholder engagement with its committed employees. This is achieved through various information sharing sessions.

“On an operational level we have a number of steering committees and engage with our government representatives regularly to ensure that government particularly the Department of Higher Education and Training is also on board with our efforts,” says King.

Another area where the BANKSETA is active is in the Inclusive Banking arena where skills development programmes are offered to stakeholders that would not typically be able to access banking services and/or choose to follow alternative means of banking outside the formal institutions of banking, such as and not limited to stokvels. The Inclusive Banking services offered extend to the capacitation of financial cooperatives SMEs and so on.

The organisation also focuses on the capacitation of skills development facilitators to develop the skills needed to put together workplace skills plans and annual training reports in line with the training needs of the organisations they represent. The BANKSETA has, over the years, hosted the Skills Awards Campaign, which is a project implemented to recognise best practice in skills development implemented by organisations within the banking and microfinance sector.

Career guidance workshops are also hosted nationally focusing on the capacitation of Life Orientation (LO) teachers. ‘We pride ourselves in the exceptional achievement of set targets since the organisation’s inception’, says King.

The BANKSETA is a well-oiled machine that functions in a seamless fashion. When we talk about results, we are confirming that we are meeting our strategic goals across the board. We are confident that the preliminary results of our assessments and achievements are in compliance with the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) III, and are impactful.

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