49 unemployed graduates from the North West province can now look forward to a bright future running their own business advisory firms.
This is thanks to the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA), the Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism (DEDECT) and the Services SETA.
On 21 April 2022, the three parties presented Internet routers and a 12-month data plan to each of the graduates at Mafikeng, North West.
Says Faith Ngwenya, SAIPA's Technical and Standards Executive: "The devices and data will allow the candidates to commence their online studies towards a Business Advisory Technician (SA) professional designation through SAIPA's Centre of Business Advisory (CoBA)."
The candidates will also intern at a SAIPA-nominated business advisory firm in North West to gain practical experience as part of the 12-month course's hybrid learning model. Learners holds various qualification(s) in commerce, management, marketing or related fields.
The routers they received will be theirs to keep after they graduate from the course.
Along with Ngwenya and other SAIPA representatives, the presentation was attended by Ms Happy Mokone, Director for Enterprise Development at the DEDECT, and Mr Tebello Mokoena, Head of Qualifications Development at the Services SETA.
The candidates' studies through SAIPA are being fully subsidised as part of the Services SETA's Business Advisory Services Candidacy programme, which is funded by the DEDECT.
SAIPA will assist those who successfully graduate from the course with registering and setting up their own business advisory firms.
Why business advisory?
A key objective of the programme is to increase the pool of affordable, skilled business advisors in close proximity to SMMEs in North West.
"Despite the evidence-based benefits of business advisory services, small and start-up businesses struggle to afford these services," says Mokoena.
In addition, those who hold themselves out as business advisors often don't possess qualifications specific to this role. Business advisory competencies should not only include management and technical proficiencies but also consulting, professional and interpersonal skills.
To address concerns over competence, quality of services, and compliance with minimum ethical and service delivery standards, the industry has been calling for the professionalisation of business advisory services through membership in recognised professional bodies.
However, there are relatively few skills development providers (SDPs) who, like SAIPA, offer occupational and higher qualifications for business advisors.
"In the past, entry into this space was largely opportunistic," says Mokoena. "We want to transform this model so that candidates are deliberately selected based on their skills and passion for the profession, both of which are vital to becoming a well-rounded business advisor."
SAIPA's Business Advisory Technician (SA) designation aligns to this goal, promising SMMEs access to qualified but affordable specialists who are accountable to an established and respected professional institute with a proven track record.
"I am assured by the fact that SAIPA's desire to protect its good name and brand will ensure that candidates of the highest calibre graduate from the course, so I know the learners are in good hands," says the DEDECT's Mokone.
She also notes that feedback from the candidates has been positive, and they are excited about this learning opportunity.
Mokone encourages private sector companies to invest their CSI wisely by collaborating with institutes like SAIPA.
"You can expect your return to be maximised because the benefits of the course will be replicated across the businesses these candidates enrich," she says.
"We know how difficult it is for graduates and those living in rural areas to stay connected and, as champions of digital transformation, we were determined to ensure these candidates could access our lectures and remain online as they grow their businesses," says Ngwenya.
The Institute also offers an advanced Professional Business Advisor (SA) designation for established business advisors with a proven track record.
Interested parties can visit SAIPA's business advisory web page - www.saipa.co.za/centre-of-business-advisory - or contact the Institute's national office through its website's contact page.
Those wishing to learn more about the Services SETA's programmes can visit its website at www.servicesseta.org.za.
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