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Fasset sector profile 2002

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In October 2002, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) completed in-depth research into the Financial and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority's (Fasset's) sector in order to obtain an accurate and up-to-date profile of the needs, trends, skills shortages and even obstacles to skills development within the sector. 'Midway' through the Sector Education and Training Authority's (Seta's) five-year tenure seemed an opportune time to review developments within this dynamic and important sector. In-depth research into the sector was last conducted in 2000 when Fasset completed its first Sector Skills Plan (SSP) submission. The research findings obtained through the HSRC research will inform Fasset's SSP to be submitted to the Department of Labour (DoL) in 2005. In some instances, the research confirmed what the sector 'suspected', in other instances; 'new needs' surfaced. The research confirmed that representivity remains a key challenge for the sector. Currently, some 65% of workers within the sector are White, 17% are African, 8% are Coloured and 10% are Indian. More than 80% of managers and owners of businesses and 70% of professionals are White, while some 93% of labourers and people working in other elementary occupations are African or Coloured. Intensive efforts are clearly required to transform the sector. The research also revealed that despite the efforts of role players, such as professional institutes and larger employers, to improve access for previously disadvantaged communities to the sector, financial constraints, a lack of good Mathematics and Accounting education at school level, poor levels of proficiency in the English language, a lack of computer facilities within educational institutions and inadequate career guidance at school level continue to inhibit access to the sector. Furthermore, a serious shortage of Black candidates in specialised areas such as accounting, auditing, economics and statistics was identified. Skills shortages in these areas may not only inhibit, but also potentially stifle growth within the sector. Accelerating the development of certain categories of professionals and specialists, without compromising standards of practice or education and training, presents a major challenge for the sector. Research also confirmed that involving small organisations in education and training remains an ongoing challenge for the sector. Management and leadership skills, financial skills, information technology skills, client service, support and administration skills and personal development skills were identified as priority areas for skills development within the sector.

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