Owner of The Facilitation Workshop which is focussed on training individuals in the financial services sector (including the banking sector), gives us the low down of why she built up a company to help educate young individuals on a career in the banking sector.
Firstly what are the core functions of The Facilitation Workshop and why did you start the institution?
The Facilitation workshop is a specialist consultancy focussed at enabling organisations to meet their compliance requirements. We deliver this service to our clients through three platforms – Auditing; Training and Consulting. We are able to offer services across industries around the following pieces of legislation that are applicable to all organisations i.e. : Occupational Health and Safety; Skills Development and Employment Equity; Environmental Management and a series of others. In addition we have a niche market within the financial services sector and provide a series of learning programmes (full qualifications) as well as consulting and auditing services to the banking and financial services sector in terms of FAIS compliance. I have been involved in FAIS compliance since 2003/2004 when the Fais Act was first passed. Whilst the regulatory environment is intended to create a baseline level of competence it does create both opportunities and challenges. From a challenge perspective, the FAIS act has set minimum qualifications as a requirement for people currently employed in the sector as well as new people entering the sector. (FirstStep.me says: Awesome and hectic!)
When was the institution started and how has it grown since its inception?
The Facilitation Workshop was established in 2009 as a result of my retrenchment from a large international corporate when the economic crisis hit in 2008. I wondered at that stage whether I should go back into formal employment or return to the world of being an entrepreneur as I had been before my brief foray into a corporate environment. The shocking manner in which the retrenchment of my team and I was handled was enough to convince me to go back to being my own boss.
Have you always been involved in this sector and since your involvement what have you seen in the industry that needs to be addressed?
I have been involved in the financial services sector since 2004 when the FAIS act was passed. My role has always been within the context of developing the talent in the sector in order to meet the compliance requirements of the legislation and realising the incredible opportunity that this scenario presents for new entrants into the market. The word competition has as its root word the word – to compete- the legislation presents an opportunity for competition between new and existing players in this sector. I believe that through this competition, the sector will see a substantial raising of the bar – in all of this, the sector and the consumer can only benefit.
We have to realise that not everyone is university material and that a university degree is not the only avenue into a substantial career opportunity. Despite the wealth of information available in the public domain, our generation ready for entry into the tertiary sector are unaware of the opportunities available in the world of work. One of the key questions every school leaver should be asking is the following: "Is this a qualification in demand - can I be assured an opportunity at employment – either self-employment or employment within the formal sector?"
In the financial services sector, there is a combination that I believe will prove to be a winning combination for those who have it – the minimum qualification and the RE 1 examination successfully completed. I believe that this combination over the next 4 years ( remember we still have to get through RE2) will indeed by a combination in demand by the sector and I believe employers will be looking for individuals with these credentials in place.
In terms of the banking industry are young individuals doing enough to secure their careers in terms of education or has there been a shift towards quicker goals of salaries and lifestyles?
I don’t believe young people know enough about the opportunities presented in this sector and extent to which they can use it to secure their futures. The RE1 examination is a good case in point. The young people in the sector that I have encountered are waiting for their managers to TELL them when they should write the examination. Given the poor turnout of people who have written to date ( approx 149 000 were expected to write by the deadline date of December 2011 only 11% had written and the pass rates have not been published. Given this poor showing the FSB has had little option in my opinion but to grant an extension to June 2012). Given the fact that this is a non-negotiable by the regulator and the fact that so few people have written the examinations, as an entrant into the market place I would have written of my own will… this credential is in great demand at the moment and this opportunity should be used to secure their futures.
Where do you see The Facilitation Workshop in 5 years time?
I would like to see The Facilitation Workshop as the preferred provider of compliance solutions to the financial services sector within South Africa. We currently have an 80% pass rate on our qualifications and we even provide our corporate clients with a performance guarantee. We commit to a particular pass rate and our clients retain a percentage of the contract value until we have met the target. Obviously both parties have conditions they have to meet and so far we have been very successful because we have taken the view of partnering with our clients in meeting their compliance needs. We are also reluctant to train for the sake of training and generally audit existing qualifications held by candidates in order to understand whether it meets the FSB’s criteria. Where it does, we exempt the candidate and focus instead on supporting them through their preparation for Regulatory Examination 1.
Do you kick-start your day with a coffee?
Unfortunately I do – in fact as long as I have a cappuccino… I can face any challenge that life throws at me with a smile and a wave! (FirstStep.me says: Nice One!)
What is the coolest thing about running your own business?
Being able to watch every game that the springboks have played in the 2011 RWC so far irrespective of the time the game is played!
If you could name your own planet what would it be called?
Will get back to you on this one!!!!
Your message to the youth of the world?
Remember that you can have as many careers as you like…just make sure that whatever career you choose that entrepreneurship is one of them ;-)
Find out more about The Facilitation Workshop on: tfwshop.co.za