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In an effort to increase the availability of scarce and critical skills in the financial services sector, Santam, South Africa’s largest general insurer, today announced the establishment of a Skills Development Academy.
Over the past few years, Santam has been known for its investment in training and skills development, which includes insurance technical skills, leadership development, employee assistance for academic studies, learnerships, quality assurance and internal training programme costs. In 2017 alone, this investment amounted to R104 million.
Within Santam South Africa, for 2018 the initiative will target the training of 120 young people in scarce and critical skill areas such as actuarial science, underwriting, relationship management and insurance assessment. These, and other, technical skills are much sought-after and critically low in the financial services industry.
The Skills Development Academy will on an annual basis offer a graduate programme to train 20 candidates, the appointment of 90 learners on a learnership in specialist areas of the Santam business and the introduction of a bursary scheme to sponsor 10 university students. These programmes vary in duration, with the graduate programme running for 18 months and learnership for one year. The initiative is open to South African citizens. All applicable fees and material will be covered by Santam, with the company reserving the right to employ programme participants at the end of the training.
Lizé Lambrechts, Santam’s CEO, said the initiative was established as part of an effort to ensure South Africa had the required skills to grow its economy.
“Through these initiatives we intend to produce a steady stream of skilled, high calibre graduate trainees and young people, with core technical skills, behavioural competencies and role-specific requirements,” said Lambrechts.
Milpark Education, one of South Africa’s premier further education and training institutions, will provide support and accreditation to the academy on the graduate programme and the African Resourcing Training Group (ARTG) on the learnership. On completion, learners will be registered with The Insurance Institute of South Africa, for continuous professional development.
“We have been in existence for 100 years, especially because we have continually planned for the future. Through this initiative, we want to build a sustainable supply of talent in core and critical skills, in order to meet current and future business needs. This is a contribution towards the achievement of Santam’s transformation objectives, regarding employment equity and skills development,” she said.
“This is just the beginning. We will intensify our training and development initiatives over the coming years,” she added.
Santam celebrates its 100-year birthday in 2018. The company was established on 1 May 1918, and opened its first office at 10 Burg Street, in the Cape Town Central Business District. It was founded by seven men, who offered 200 000 shares at R2 each to potential investors. Today the company is South Africa’s largest short-term insurer and boasts a staff complement of nearly 6 000. Listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the company has more than one million clients and an intermediary base of 3 680 brokers. Santam enjoys a 22.5% market share of the South African general insurance industry. Our group also writes annual premiums of R30bn and has a strong group net asset value of R7bn.
Regarded as the country’s leading insurance company, Santam has over the years won numerous accolades that include the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) rating for South Africa’s top insurer. Others include Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa awards for personal, commercial and corporate short-term insurer of the year. Santam has over successive years also been conferred with the ‘Best Company to Work For,’ certification. In 2009 Santam became the first South African insurer to join ClimateWise, the international network of leading insurance companies committed to fighting climate change.
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