May 14, 2024

IISA unveils Youth Accelerator Programme to tackle skills shortage in local insurance industry

In a bid to bridge the skills shortage in the sector and prepare matriculants and graduates for employment in the insurance industry, the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA) recently launched its Youth Accelerator Programme.

IISA CEO Thokozile Mahlangu notes that the programme is aimed at upskilling and training learners on hard and soft skills, providing experiential learning and preparing them for entry-level jobs within the insurance space.

“The insurance industry is experiencing a shortage of skills in entry-level positions which impacts service delivery and productivity, often results in a loss of income and competitive edge. Yet, our country’s youth unemployment rate averaged 55.55% from 2013 until 2022,” says Mahlangu.

“At the same time, it has become increasingly evident that the insurance sector has for some time struggled to fill the talent gap from a shrinking pool of qualified candidates. Hence, one of the most obvious ways for the industry to address these skills-related challenges is to adopt a proactive approach.”

She points out that not only is the South African insurance landscape currently seeing a brain drain, but it is also finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain top-quality talent, which means that industry players have to rethink how they address the skills shortage within the sector.

"Embarking on a programme to accelerate skills acquisition by youth is rational for our industry for several reasons, including the building of a talent Pipeline. By investing in youth, the industry can build a pipeline of skilled workers who are trained according to the industry's needs, ensuring a future workforce that is well-equipped to contribute effectively,” says Mahlangu.

“Secondly, it drives Innovation. Young people often bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the table, which can drive creativity and help the industry stay competitive in a rapidly evolving market.”

She adds that long-term sustainability is the cherry on top for the industry, as training and developing youth can lead to long-term sustainability ensuring continuity of skilled personnel and reducing the skills gap/shortage in the insurance industry.

Mahlangu notes that a clear spin-off out of all this is diversity and Inclusion in the insurance industry – as the programme actively promotes engagement with youth from diverse backgrounds, leading to a more dynamic and innovative industry culture.

“As leaders in the insurance sector, it is imperative that we empower the next generation of professionals. It is not just a responsibility, it is our commitment to shaping a resilient and innovative industry for the future," she says.

“It is envisaged that on completion of the Youth Accelerator Programme, graduates will be part of a trained pool of resources the insurance industry can tap into to fill entry-level posts. The training will focus on the fundamentals of insurance with soft skills training aimed at shaping professionalism.”  

IISA Chief Revenue Officer Tumisang Moduke notes that one of the drivers for the IISA to launch the Youth Accelerator Programme is that the training of new job entrants by the insurers typically takes away the focus from their core business and has the potential impact on the productivity of these organisations.

“One of the significant contributors to the local scarcity of skills is expensive tertiary education resulting in a smaller proportion of the population being able to receive tertiary education,” says Moduke.

IISA’s Youth Accelerator Programme will target unemployed matriculants and graduates in metropolitan, urban and rural areas of South Africa. Its targeted reach will be 50 matriculants or graduates per year.  

On completion of the 12-month programme, learners will acquire an NQF Level 5 qualification with work exposure. Subsequently, graduates will be converted to IISA professional members. The programme will seek to cover the five critical competency requirements as legislated by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), as well as the inclusion of digital literacy competencies.

“We expect that it will prepare unemployed youth for entry-level positions within the insurance sector, while also addressing youth unemployment through education and upskilling initiatives. This initiative will create a pool of skilled insurance professionals which will ultimately help to address the skills dearth that our industry is experiencing,” says Moduke.

IISA would like to call on industry players to get involved and support its Youth Accelerator Programme.

For more information, please contact Tumisang Moduke, at

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