short courses

A helping hand goes a long way!

There is a saying by James Keller which says, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”.

Siphiwe Ngwenya (23) is a prime example of a young man who has risen above the challenges he’s faced in life, not solely of his own doing, but through the care and help of several guiding hands.

After graduating with an NCV certificate, Ngwenya was faced with a financial stumbling block, which meant his hopes of enrolling to a higher education institution were somewhat derailed.

He chose to remain undefeated by the predicament, and applied for what would be his first job, in 2012 at a UTI Warehouse. It was through this opportunity which the young man heard about African Bank’s learnerships.

“The turning point in my life was when I actually completed my 12 months learnership via I-Fundi Customer Solutions and became permanently employed by African Bank as supervisor, from being a consultant”, he says.

“When I think of people who have shaped my life, outside of my mother, I think of a woman called Ros Rome, who worked as a facilitator at i-Fundi. I admired Rome’s work ethic, and the woman encouraged me to have a target driven mentality. I have carried what she taught me to this day”, he says.

“I looked up to my facilitator because she believed in my abilities and made me believe that I could achieve- and so I did”, he continues.

African Bank’s Learnership Manager, Karmini Pillay (28) has been employed at African Bank for five years.

Pillay, in her position as Learnership Manager recognises the importance of being a mentor to the pupils, as she herself was groomed by another to finally take up the position of Learnership Manager and facilitator.

“I had a wonderful mentor whom I admired deeply and will forever be indebted to”, she explains. That woman was so strong, yet soft – in a motherly and nurturing manner. Her name is Esmë Britz. She absolutely changed my life and career path, as I became her successor when she left the post”, she says.

“At African Bank, learnerships have become entrenched in the company as the only way in which we recruit our employees”, says Pillay.

Pillay says that African Bank launched the unemployed learnership programme in 2011 and it has been a, major success. “Not only do learnerships lower the company’s attrition rates, and contribute to the unemployment rate in the country at large, the very good news is that – of the pupils who go through our learnerships, we have recorded an average of 77% hire rate through the years”, she says.

“I love the fact that as a company, we are invested in community growth. Learnerships are not just an easy way to increasing our BEE scorecard, – to the contrary. We implement strategies which will shape the future of South Africa. Beyond that, I love waking up knowing that I will be a mentor- a positive guide in someone else’s life”, she concludes.


Stand a chance to win a bursary with i-Fundi!

i-Fundi would like to offer a learnership bursary to one deserving person. You are invited to submit a motivational letter of no more than 350 words, motivating why you should be awarded the opportunity to be placed in a learnership with one of the host employers in our database.

Three lucky winners will be announced and placed in a 12 month learnership. The announcement will be made on Monday, August 31, 2015. i-Fundi staff will be in contact with the three winners who best motivated their reasons why they should be selected as winners.

Email the motivational letter to: nyeleti@i-fundi.com.




CEOs reflect on spending the night on a freezing Joburg street for charity

CEOs reflect on spending the night on a freezing Joburg street for charity

Article written by Mpho Raborife.

Johannesburg – According to News24 , one mining boss slept for three and a half hours on the cold hard ground, a media head honcho slept on an empty stomach and a mayor managed to find a bench to nap on during the chilly early hours of Friday morning. This was all in the name of raising funds for a non-profit organisation called Girls and Boys Town.

By the end of the event at 06:00, more than R20 million had been raised. “It was freezing cold, but it didn’t get to us because we were already dressed for the weather,” Lonmin CEO Ben Magara told News24. “But it didn’t prepare us for the floor, it was hard and cold.

You were tossing and turning, it was a really humbling experience.” The CEO SleepOut initiative, hosted by Talk Radio 702, began at 18:00 on Thursday. More than 200 chief executives took part from the mining, banking, media and telecommunication industries. Participants were each given a cardboard box, a sleeping bag, a bread roll and a mug of soup for the night. There was a hub of activity as well as entertainment for the participants until lights went out at midnight. “I went to bed after 1 am and I was up by 4.30am.

The cold hard floor was a humbling experience,” Magara said. He described the initiative as good fun and a time to reflect on one’s own life and circumstances. “I grew up poor and you tend to forget. We really should do our part as citizens of this country … It was well worth it and I would do it again.”

CEO's from across SA spent a night on the Joburg streets as a part of the 702 Sun International CEO Sleepout challenge, which aimed to to raise money for Girls & Boys Town.

CEO’s from across SA spent a night on the Joburg streets as a part of the 702 Sun International CEO Sleepout challenge, which aimed to to raise money for Girls & Boys Town.

PHOTO: Gauteng Premier, David Makhura alongside i-Fundi Customer Solutions Managing Director, Stefan Lauber.

PHOTO: Gauteng Premier, David Makhura alongside i-Fundi Customer Solutions Managing Director, Stefan Lauber.



Mail & Guardian CEO Hoosain Karjieker, who is observing the month of Ramadan, said the event was timeous as he is already going through a period of reflection through fasting. “It’s good to know that there’s a wide group of people pulling for a similar cause. The fact that we raised a large amount of money from it was great. There was no romanticising it, it wasn’t made soft for us.”

Karjieker said feeling the cold hard ground, even though he was dressed warmly, made him think of those who slept on the streets daily, with even less clothing on their backs. “It was really tough. I had no idea of the pain one goes through in such cold weather and a hard surface. I don’t think I got a good sleep. “It highlighted the pain and suffering that people actually do go through. It’s really been implanted in my mind. Hopefully when we’re all back at our desks we will think about this.”

City of Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau and Gauteng Premier David Makhura were the only top government officials at the event. Tau praised the private sector for leading the initiative. He said he managed to nap on a much sought-after bench in the vicinity for a short period.

“The opportunity was good, we got to interact with some of the country’s business leaders.” “We’ve never seen something like this before where the private sector went out of their way for a good cause and came out in their numbers,” said Tau’s spokesperson Phindile Chauke.

Article sourced from News24. 

Take a look at me now! i-Fundi’s graduates share their trials and tribulations

Take a look at me now! i-Fundi’s graduates share their trials and tribulations

JOHANNESBURG – They say you measure progress by looking at how far you have travelled in your journey.

For millions of people across South Africa, every dawn presents a new challenge. When the sun rises, in the East, bringing an African warmth and the hope of new possibilities, many others wake up to face defeat and rejection in a harsh socio-economic landscape. Unemployment is a crippling reality in South Africa today. Granted there are governmental strategies put in place to attempt to bridge the desperately gaping unemployment cavity, however, it is a fact which cannot be ignored.  There is a lack of educated, skilled workers in the market.  The bottom line is simply; the demand fails to meet the supply.

Undoubtedly, it is a struggle to bridge this gap because poverty and unemployment have made the future of the African child as fickle as the temperament of a new born.

Understanding the plight of adversity, i-Fundi undertook a project which followed the lives of its alumni, to see how big the strides education has made in their lives. A wise man once said, “Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think”. That wise man was Albert Einstein. For these pupils, education and opportunity have definitely been their saving grace.

Comfort Moeketsi Sebatie (24) worked as a construction worker, until he decided to change his circumstances. In 2012, he pursued a NQF 2 contact centre certificate with i-Fundi. Sebatie says deciding to pursue the qualification changed his life significantly. No longer a construction worker, Sebatie is currently employed and was recently made a permanent employee by his company, Altech Autopage Cellular.

“I had never worked in a call centre before so it was a great challenge to decide to study and start something new. The transition was vast as I was moving into a completely different field as I worked before. The change was very good for me because I got to learn a lot about customer service values, self-discipline, and the industry as well”, he says.

Reflecting on his journey, Sebatie now realises that he is in control of his dreams, and by proactively going after the life he has imagined, his mind has shifted to accommodate positive thinking; “obstacles are opportunities to thrive”.

Another one of i-Fundi’s graduates is Mpumelelo Ndalane (29), who shares her success story. Ndalane’s story is synonymous with the millions of students in South Africa who completed their matric qualification, but lacked the funds to study further at tertiary level. “i-Fundi gave me a good stepping stone to a better future”, she says. When Ndalane’s host employer, Standard Bank offered her the opportunity to study further, she grabbed the opportunity with both arms, and she thereafter obtained an NQF 2 Contact Centre Certificate. “I am currently an analyst at Standard Bank and further pursuing my studies in Contact Centre Optimization. Everything I have achieved is because of the experience I have gained from working since qualifying. The certificate I obtained from i-Fundi definitely opened doors for me”, she says.

Reddy Preeshan’s success story proves the fact that education really does open doors for you, and how far you climb the ladder to success is entirely up to the efforts you put in. Having also studied a qualification in Contact Centre Operation NQF 2, he is amongst the successful students who believe they would never have it if it wasn’t for the opportunity he received to pursue a learnership with i-Fundi. “Today I am proud to say that I am a Software Testing Manager. Before, I worked as a call centre agent, and was thereafter promoted to management level as a Service Delivery Manager”, he says. His journey to the top is certainly am inspiring one, which should be a point of reference to anyone who doubts their capabilities.

Remember, we want you to share your life journey with us. If you are interested in being part of this ‘success stories’ project, kindly email: nyeleti@i-fundi.com.

Visit our  website and have a look at all the various accredited courses and qualifications we have on offer. If you are interested, don’t hesitate to contact us on: 011-290-5900.

Join us on our social media. Our Facebook name is i-Fundi, and i-Fundi Learners. Follow us on Twitter, our handle is @ifundisa. 

Human Capital as a Force Multiplier

Commitment to the ‘People, Process, and Technology’ (PP&T) concept has never been more prevalent among businesses. Large firms, small firms, service firms, product firms, global firms, and regional firms alike – all, it seems, have adopted this likeable phrase as a presentation staple.

Like most popular business terminology, it has become a familiar inclusion in PowerPoint decks worldwide because it is grounded in a degree of truth. Any firm’s success or failure can usually be attributed to one or more elements of this triad, or more precisely, how one element worked exceptionally well with the others—or failed to do so. But given the ease with which “people, process, and technology” rolls off the tongue, it can be easy to begin to continuously group them together as three equal and homogeneous concepts. In reality, the most successful businesses consider each element—and its proper weighting and role in organizational execution—individually and carefully. Increasingly, organizations are realizing that people, process, and technology do not carry equal weight in organizational design. People, process, and technology do not require the same type or degree of attention and interaction in order to succeed. In this white paper, we examine each element of this triad and establish a working framework that a company in any industry can use to grow revenue and profit, increase customer satisfaction and retention, and develop a sustainable competitive advantage…

Human Capital Multiplier

On Track for Growth

On Track for Growth

The contact centre industry is one of the few sectors of the economy that has been creating jobs in the last few years. Over 100 000 jobs have been added to the economy between 2003 and 2008.

Even though the growth of the industry has slowed down recently, finding good people is still a challenge. Leading companies have taken the currently reduced workload as an opportunity to explore more cost effective ways to attract and develop talent. The success of such programmes suggests that the time has now come to increase their scale so that the industry continues to have the people it needs to grow.

During the boom years preceding the recent recession, many contact centre managers preferred looking for experienced agents that could be hired with little lead times and who were ready to perform the moment they arrived. Hiring and developing people was done with little foresight, mostly in response to operational pressures. The poaching of staff was a common practice – agents would change jobs for only a small increase in salary.

This has changed. Most contact centres report reduced attrition rates. In the current economic climate employees are far more concerned with job security and no longer move around to the extent they used to. Companies, which want to hire good people, have no choice but to develop their own people or as a manager put it, Lto grow their own timber”. Nearly 90% of the company’s surveyed will recruit staff with no prior experience.

The development of people is high on the agenda of companies, the industry and government. Pilot programmes, such as Monyetla or SETA learnerships aimed at introducing new talent into contact centres have been enthusiastically adopted and have received positive feedback. Over 56% of the respondents do currently run learnerships. 87% of which are considered to be a success. Given the incentives offered by government this is no surprise:

  • Salary savings: Company can significantly reduce their salary bill. A learner allowance typically is R1500 per month.
  • Tax breaks: Government offers a tax break of up to R60 000 per learner which means a company pays up to R 16 800 less tax per learner.
  • Generous training grants: The recruitment and training of these learners can often be funded through grants.
  • Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE): If structured properly a company can earn up to 15% of its BBBEE score from learnerships.

In essence, a learner comes at no costs to a company if grants are available. Learners are highly motivated individuals who appreciate the opportunity of employment and typically match more experienced agents in terms of retention and are on par in terms of performance within three months.

As the results from this study show, most of these programmes are implemented as mature partnerships between the in-house and external training providers. There seems to be a clear understanding of each stakeholder’s strengths. External providers offer mainly generic training that meets the onerous standards set by the SETAs. 78% of external providers are therefore SETA accredited. In-house training on the other hand focuses primarily on company specific issues and therefore does not need to be accredited. Only 31% of in-house training is accredited.

Training is not only limited to new agents. Contact centres spend at least one day a month training their existing staff. Almost 50% of all contact centres are concerned with providing their agents with a formal industry qualification through Recognition of Prior Learning programmes.

A ladder of learning of formal qualifications exists across progressive levels on the National Qualifications Framework that matches the career path of an agent progressing to the level of supervisor, and then manager. This bodes well for the professionalization of the industry and will, in the long-term, alleviate the current shortage of qualified supervisors and managers.

This report clearly shows that the major pillars for the sustainable development of talent in the industry are in place. The challenge now is to roll out these programmes on a larger scale, which will require an increase in funding available for such initiatives and the continued collaboration of the industry, the SETAs and government.

The contact centre industry is committed to develop its staff. A request for proposal by the industry association BPeSA for the development of entry-level agents and supervisors was oversubscribed by a factor of ten in early 2009.

This is all good news for the country. Companies need well-trained agents that serve their customers well. The industry is able and willing to absorb many of the country’s school leavers, a sector of society bedeviled by unemployed.

The industry has proven its ability to make a contribution to the development of South Africa. It has doubled in size and created over 100 000 positions from 2003 to 2008. Considering that the industry often serves as a springboard for other careers, the number of people who found their first job in a contact centre is therefore actually much higher.

The prospects for continued growth are positive. Customers need to be served even in a recession. Contact Centres will continue to grow as they are one of the most direct and cost effective ways of interacting with customers. South Africa’s chances of attracting international outsourcing work are better than ever. Telecommunications costs are dropping and several of the world largest outsourcers such as Genpact, Teleresources, Teletech and Aegis, have already set up local operations, which is will attract others.

The challenge now remains for the industry to remain proactive and mobilize the necessary resources to scale up many of successful skills development initiatives so that it will not be caught off-guard when new staff are required as growth accelerates.