Bankseta increases project spending to R120 million

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Bankseta, the banking and microfinance sector education and training authority, has announced its results for the financial year ending 31 March 2013.

It has also announced that, for the thirteenth year in a row, it has received an unqualified audit from the Auditor-General.

In the 2012/13 financial year, BANKSETA’s administration, mandatory and discretionary levy income increased by 28%, from R450.3 mil in 2011/12 to R574.7 mil in 2012/13. Income received from SARS levies and interest on investments also increased by R9.2 mil, a 164% increase from the previous financial year. The increased cash balances from the levies also caused our investment income to increase by 69% from the prior year, resulting in a total investment income of R17.8 mil.

Due to higher levy receipts, BANKSETA’s mandatory grant expense for qualifying employers increased by 35%, from R260.4 mil in 2011/12 to R351.4 in the 2012/13 financial year.

BANKSETA has also maintained its mandatory grant payout ratio of 97% of all levies received. Due to a number of new project initiatives that BANKSETA is doing, it has also increased its spending on discretionary projects, from R98.2 mil in 2011/12 to R120.7 mil in the current financial year – a 23% increase.

As at 31 March 2013, the accounting authority had approved future project to the value of R285.1 mil, of which R85.9 mil was committed in signed contracts. On the operational side, though the administration expenditure has increased by 17%, the BANKSETA is still within its legislated limit of 10% of levy income.

During the year under review, the SETA faced the prospect of managing the new legislation on mandatory grants. All surplus funds at year-end needed to be transferred to the PIVOTAL grants fund to be allocated to levy payers for the achievement of PIVOTAL programme qualifications – PIVOTAL programme as defined by NSDS III.

This necessitated a review of the short, non-credit bearing courses so prevalent in the sector, including those aimed at developing high-level skills. However, the SETA is confident that the pivotal grant is a positive development and that it may allow levy payers to access even more funding than previously.

BANKSETA has made significant strides during the under review in many of the SETA’s strategies and initiatives. Notable amongst these was the recognition of prior learning (RPL), an element of skills development in which BANKSETA has excelled in recent months. “Our original target of 600 people taken through RPL assessment by end of 2013 has been increased to 2000, and we will invest a further R20 million in assessments in the coming year.” adds Makhubalo.

The move to capacitate Further Education and Training (FET) institutions to enhance the calibre and employability of graduates stepped up a gear during the past year. BANKSETA was appointed lead-SETA in a project to upgrade Free State FETs and has launched an office at Motheo FET College in Bloemfontein.. Much work is still to be done, but the SETA believes that the benefits of the investments being made will be evident within five years.

The 2012/13 year also heralded a new focus on inclusion into the sector of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMEs) and cooperatives, with the SETA capacity building and developing organisations with the potential to become financial services providers. Going into 2013/14, we will concentrate on finding suitable training solutions particularly for small and micro enterprises (SMEs), which often are not able to release their staff for training and may not have the infrastructure to support e-learning courses.

One of its flagship projects, Letsema now its ninth successful year, produced 819 graduates in February/March 2013. It was active in Kimberley, Bloemfontein, Klerksdorp, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Pretoria and Johannesburg and benefited from the input of a steering committee comprising representatives from the following banks; Absa, FNB, Nedbank, Standard Bank, the South African Reserve Bank Ltd and African Bank.

Another highlight of the AGM was the announcement of the 2013 winners of the Skills@Work Awards. The BANKSETA has since 2009 been running these awards which are designed to encourage companies that have implemented ground-breaking skills development initiatives to showcase and share their programmes with the industry.

This year’s winners are Nedbank Limited – category for companies with a minimum of 150 employees), Cashwise – category for companies with less than 50 employees and Compuscan – category for Bankseta -accredited training providers. Special commendations were paid to Absa Bank, African Bank and Masoyi Financial Cooperative for their notable contribution to skills development.

Congratulating the winners, Bankseta CEO, Max Makhubalo said: “We will honour those that foster best practices and implement skills development initiatives that ultimately raise the standard and efficacy of skills development through the banking fraternity. We appreciate the effort contributed by the organisations that have submitted their applications. These are the pioneers committed to prioritising skills development in this fast paced and technology dependent sector.”

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