As we look back on 2017, we may be forgiven for thinking... 'What just happened?' There was Trump, there were hurricanes and tornadoes, terrorist attacks and scandals involving numerous celebrities. Locally there's been the crippling Cape drought, the devastating Knysna fires and, of course, the ailing economy and dreaded ratings downgrades. Yet we have all made it to the finish line, intact and in the hope of slightly smoother sailing in 2018.

As you will be aware by now, Fasset has had a particularly challenging year, with the bedding down of new projects that were introduced in 2016 and the rolling out of a revised strategy to address the shortcomings in our processes identified over the last couple of years. We have said farewell to some of our colleagues this year, but we are looking forward to new talent in various areas that will enable us to meet the objectives we have set out ourselves.

The year has brought some exciting developments, not least the growth of our career portal for accounting and finance, which has been exceptionally well received by an eager audience of employers and job seekers. So much so that the number of current users stands at almost 3 800. These are not only people who have visited the site for guidance on careers and advice on the job market, but those who are looking to recruit or be placed.

We now have 130 employers registered to advertise available positions and scout for appropriate talent, and 530 hopefuls have created resumes using the site's CV builder. We are confident that interest will snowball in the year to come, as word of mouth of the resource's value spreads.

The Fasset team will be taking its festive break from 22 December, but will be back in full voice on 2 January 2018 to kick off another year of building on its #LastingLegacy.

As we draw the curtain on 2017, we acknowledge the tremendous support of our employers and other stakeholders in not only bearing with us as we charter a new path, but for their unending support of the skills development cause, whose ideals must transcend the obstacles and drawbacks that are sometimes encountered in an environment with so many variables. And we commend our many learners who, spurred on by the assistance they receive and willing to put in the effort and hard work required, are one step closer to finding their niche in their career of choice.

To everyone in the extended Fasset family, we wish you a blessed festive season and the gift of time to reflect on the year gone, review personal and professional goals and resolve to give 2018 your all.

We will be right by your side.

Zandile Skosana

Marketing and Communications Manager


If, a couple of years ago, someone had mentioned the considerable changes that Fasset would experience during 2016 and 2017, it would have sounded more than a little improbable. But change crept up on us, as it tends to do in life, and we chose to view it is as an opportunity for introspection and an impetus for improvement.

Having been with the Seta since 2001 and having walked every step of the organisation's journey, I was extremely honoured recently to have been appointed Acting Chief Executive Officer, an office previously held by Lesego Lebuso, who has moved on to explore new prospects.

Although I have had limited time to adjust to the addition of CEO responsibilities to my existing research portfolio, I am clear about the immediate priorities that we face going into 2018.

As we near the end of 2017/18, we will turn our attention to rolling out our strategy for the year to follow, and we're confident that we can count on you - our employers, academic and workplace training providers, professional bodies and learners - for support as we address the persistent shortage of scarce skills in our sector.

We can expect another busy year, as only a year in a Seta can be, as we implement our performance targets to the satisfaction of the Department of Higher Education and Training and ensure seamless grant application systems, now that we have converted fully to online submission.

Employers, please note our grant deadlines for the year - discretionary grant applications must be submitted by 15 February and mandatory grant documentation submitted by 30 April 2018.

We have a number of key posts to fill, including CEO and COO, Projects Manager and Director of Processing and Quality Assurance. These positions are the mainstays of any Seta and it is paramount that we select the right talent.

We will also continue the review of our IT and finance processing systems, with a view to bringing certain functions in-house rather than outsourcing, as we have done previously. This new approach will enhance control of activities that are crucial to the effective delivery of our skills development mandate, but are not necessarily core to this mandate. Management and specialist skills will be sought in these areas.

The 2018/19 financial year will bring a change of scenery for Fasset. The lease has expired on the Blackheath offices we have called home for many years, and we will greet new premises during the new financial year. Details of the new premises will be communicated in due course.

The backbone of our organisation is, naturally, our people. The past couple of years have challenged us because of the changes we've had to work through, but also because of the uncertainty regarding the future of the Setas as we reach March 2020, the expiry date for the licenses of SETAs. I will commit myself to ensuring that our team members remain enthusiastic and motivated so that we are able to provide the service, reliability, professionalism and strong support, which our stakeholders have come to expect of us.

All that remains for me is to echo the editor's wishes for you all to enjoy the upcoming season. May it bring merriment, happiness and peace.

See you for another skills-filled year in 2018.

Lauren Derman

Acting Chief Executive Officer


Nothing beats good, honest on-the-job experience to prepare a young graduate for the requirements, rigours and rewards of today's demanding workplace.

It is no coincidence, then, that Fasset's work-based experience programmes have been such a resounding success over the years. Since the Seta's inception, more than 15 000 youngsters fresh from tertiary institutions have since entered the corporate corridors wide-eyed and full of hope to complete internships and work-experience programmes, and almost 2 000 graduates have been placed with employers for workplace experience. They emerge stronger in skill, knowledge and experience, and, most importantly, many times more likely to land a permanent position.

The willingness of employers to host the talent of tomorrow has been tremendous, says Fasset Acting Projects Manager, Amos Nokoane.

It is a win-win relationship, says Aubrey Kgabo of the Human Resources Department of North West Provincial Government (NWPG), which hosted 19 graduates from TVET colleges this year. 'Our interns highly appreciate the opportunity given to them and are far much hard working and dedicated, as they know that workplace experience enables them to acquire their national diplomas. Their dedication is reflected in their performance in the workplace, which benefits the department through an increased human resource and the energy students bring to their work. Certain tasks can be achieved with greater effectiveness and efficiency, and this enhances productivity and service.'

What does it take to be an effective host? Amos offers some simple, but necessary, advice to employers who want to open their doors and open the minds of prospective new talent.

  • Identify the need that will be filled by an intern in line with his or her qualification. Draft the job specification that the learner will perform in the organisation, then prepare an induction plan, including the supervisor/mentor input on how the intern will be introduced in the organisation.
  • Following the induction, introduce the learner to the team or supervisor who will show him or her the ropes. If there is an opportunity, appoint a buddy (i.e. someone of the same generation who will acquaint the intern on etiquette, amenities etc).
  • Ensure that the intern meets with supervisor/mentor every week to talk through challenges and keep up-to-speed on progress. These meetings may also be used to identify the soft skills the intern needs, which can be addressed through Fasset learner professional development workshops.
  • Expect - and encourage - your intern to communicate with you when challenges are encountered, if he or she is running late or unable to come to work. Expect also adherence to policies and responsible use of company resources such as the internet or phone.
Once you've made the decision to take an intern into your fold, we hope that he or she turns out to be the type company owner Emily Weiss was talking about when she said: 'The ideal intern is committed, creative, organised, ambitious, independent and able to crack a smile, whether meeting a celebrity or folding socks.'


Like many young South Africans, Lukho Fuyani had big dreams, but small means.

The odds were not with him achieving his goal of becoming a Chartered Accountant, as his grandparents' pension fund was inadequate to fund his studies. But rather than give in to defeat, Lukho literally got on his bike and started pedalling towards his objective, having landed a job delivering post for the South African Post Office.

That was back in 2010 and Lukho remembers the ensuing struggle well. 'I enrolled as a part-time student at University of Fort Hare, but it was not easy juggling a demanding and tiring job with lecture times and studying. I couldn't afford to buy a textbook or even food some days, as transport to get to lectures was the most important cost. Even then, many times I was not able to attend tutorials and lectures. But I was determined to write the mid-year exams in accounting and computer literacy.'

As it turned out, he failed accounting, but he did not give up. At the time, Fasset did not have an initiative that Lukho could call on, but, ultimately, he was able to benefit from the Seta's intervention in the form of the academic support programme, which transformed him into a happier and more successful student, among the top performers in his class.

The programme's main purpose is to increase the throughput rate of learners capable of passing exams or progressing to the next level of a qualification.

'I'm truly grateful to have been part of this initiative,' says Lukho. 'I attended extra classes and there was enough time to clarify the areas I struggled with in Accounting and Financial Management. The flexibility that Fasset brought to university life was exciting and by interacting with other students at the camps, I gained a lot of knowledge and skills in communication, which are key in every aspect of life.

'The programme must continue changing lives, assisting us, motivating us and creating memories forever.

'Fasset is a true game changer.'


Fasset's academic support programme provides not only a welcome financial boost for struggling young students, but it has some pretty awesome non-monetary benefits as well. For University of Fort Hare's Buhlebethu Lithamsanqa, who is in the second year of her Bachelor of Commerce Accounting degree, it is the mentoring and study skills that have had the greatest impact.

Weekly study sessions give her and her course colleagues a chance to have their voices heard, allowing the students more freedom than lectures would. 'The sessions were long enough for us to freely participate and ask questions,' she explains. 'Communicating with facilitators in a comfortable, relaxed environment is easier than approaching a lecturer during a class, which can be intimidating. We are able to explore different problem-solving skills that help us to better understand the topics covered in class.

'The access we had to possible exam questions helped to reduce the stress of exams and the extra study material provided improved our study effectiveness.'

The beneficiaries were hosted on a camp during August, which provided a welcome breather from the pressures of the lecture hall, says Buhlebethu. 'The learning environment can be frustrating and suffocating at times, so the camp gave us a break from this environment and we had fun while learning too.'

At the camp, sessions were more focused on personal development, with the motivation provided by mentors being particularly meaningful, she says, because it came from 'those who were once like us'.

The students returned to class refreshed and with morale at an all-time high, more determined than ever to work hard to maximise their potential.

'All the beneficiaries were privileged to be part of the Fasset programme,' says Buhlebethu. 'We hope that Fasset will continue to assist students in this way, as it leads to better academic results, which will enable us to achieve more in our lives.


'If there is one thing that makes a black child believe that he can't achieve his goals, it has to be lack of funding for university.' So says Karabo Mengwai, second year Accounting Sciences student at University of Pretoria (UP).

Karabo is one of many fortunate youngsters countrywide who are following their dreams because of Fasset's forward-thinking funding programmes.

The Fasset bursary scheme is proving such a huge hit with students countrywide because of its simple promise: to relieve the cost burden of tertiary studies to allow young minds to concentrate on the job in hand - achieving the gateway qualification to a wonderful career in the finance and accounting services sector.

Fasset Facts caught up with Karabo and some of his fellow bursary beneficiaries from UP, where, it seems, the jacarandas are not the only thing blossoming...

For Karabo, receiving a bursary brought joy and a huge sigh of relief. He was so stressed last year with having to find money for tuition and accommodation, and coping with poor marks caused by his predicament, that, he says candidly: 'I found myself on the verge of doing things that I knew weren't right so that I could pay my fees.' But the Fasset bursary saved the day - and the man - and Karabo was able to sleep well again at night knowing that he wouldn't be kicked out of res and that his mother wouldn't be under such intense pressure to cover his costs, as his living and tuition expenses were covered.

The support Michelle Mohale received was nothing short of a miracle for the third year Financial Sciences student. 'I was blessed with Fasset when I needed it the most,' she explains. 'Fasset has been a parent, a friend and my greatest fan, and the opportunity has changed me into an individual who recognises her true potential.'

'Fasset has taught me to do things with a purpose and, because of that, I'm mindful about everything I participate in,' adds fellow Financial Sciences student, Reabetswe Mashamaite.

For Lesley Nakeng, who has been working towards her Certificate in the Theory of Accounting, Fasset's support means so much that she would like nothing more than to visit companies that pay the skills development levies that Fasset invests in young talent to thank them personally for their role in what will undoubtedly be her success. 'I'm from an area where only about 10% of school leavers make it to varsity, due to lack of funds and lack of knowledge about available funding schemes,' she says. 'I will be a Chartered Accountant one day and it will be thanks to organisations such as Fasset.'

Qiniso Ngcobo, a second year Accounting Sciences student, agrees. 'The support from Fasset is amazing, especially for those of us from rural areas. And the team makes sure that we are always positive and motivated. I think of Fasset as my home away from home.'

The extended family notion is echoed by Mutshidzi Bulanga, who is in his second year of Economics. 'It really is so much more than just a programme,' he says. 'Together we have it all.'

Financial Sciences learner, Mosebjadi Mpho Molala, comments: 'The bursary not only provides academic support, but focuses on the creation of a well-rounded, effective student. Through the skills sessions, Fasset gives me an opportunity to explore my purpose and know myself better. Everything I have learnt will be valuable to me for the rest of my life.'

And while there is plenty of moral support, a brand new laptop also goes a long way, as many of the beneficiaries have found out. 'I had been in need of a laptop for a while now and, to my amazement, Fasset delivered,' says third year Accounting Sciences student Ndumiso Ngwabi. 'I am forever indebted.'

For the fortunate few, the bursary also comes into play when travel is on the cards, as Siyanda Mbekeli, third year Financial Sciences student discovered when the Seta funded her China exchange programme. 'Without the support, I would never have been able to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,' she says. 'It has been a true blessing for me and my parents and I am so grateful.'

But the true essence of Fasset's bursary boost is perhaps best summed up in Karabo's experience. 'I have never had such academic success,' he gushes. 'I went from passing with 50s or early 60s to marks above 70 and I am so full of energy and drive that I will keep it up and make Golden Key next year.

'That child within me who wanted to conquer the world and make a mark in his field is really awake now.'


Remember the Nokia brick? Horror of horrors, remember the days before the Nokia brick? How did humans cope without the constant rush of today's high-tech fix?

Well fasten your satnavs people, because we've only just scratched the surface of smart. Think smart clothes, smart car, smart house, smart life. The future is here and it's truly mind-boggling.

As soon as 2018, we'll be doing things differently and acquiring routines that will cease to be the stuff of futuristic movies, but will be right by our side, if not part of our daily attire, every step we take.

Internet of big things

In a rundown of the top digital transformation trends for 2018, Forbes magazine puts IoT top of the lot. IoT, or 'internet of things', will, says Forbes writer Daniel Newman, 'push us to the edge, literally'. With more than 8.4 million 'things' on the internet today, an increase of more than 30% from a year ago, is the buzz acronym. It isn't so much about the things, but rather what we do with these things once they are connected and supplying us data,' writes Newman.

Information created by IoT trends has the capacity to revolutionise everything from manufacturing and healthcare to the layout and functioning of entire cities - allowing them to work more efficiently and profitably than ever before.

And just when we were beginning to think that the cloud was the place to be, in flies edge computing driven by the volume and speed of IoT information. It is about to leave the cloud in its wake at the forefront of the business scene at a time when many companies are just beginning to step into the stratus.

'As smart drones, autonomous vehicles, and other artificial intelligence-powered smart devices seek to connect and communicate instantly via the IoT, the matter of sending data 'all the way' to the cloud will become highly impractical,' notes Newman. 'Many of these devices will need real-time response and processing, making edge computing the only viable option.' But, he adds, the cloud will still hover around and have its place as a depository for important and relevant data.

And if you are still marvelling at what your new smartphone can do, wait until 4G makes way for 5G, as IoT forces mobile providers to move faster than ever to achieve the level of hyper-connectivity expected by users.

South Africa on the tech charge

South Africa is not far behind the rest of the world in the charge into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, although issues of universal internet access and data costs are inhibiting progress to an extent, says Yavi Madurai, CEO of Black Box Theory. 'Until we have affordable internet access for all and data costs that are not among the highest in the world, we will lag behind in certain respects,' says Yavi. 'However, we are fully in touch with all that is happening.'

The trend to e-commerce services will be one to watch in South Africa in 2018, she says, and the use of mobile assistants such as Bixby and Suri will become more commonplace.

'Mobile devices will supersede laptops as gadgets of choice and convenience, and the influence of virtual reality and artificial intelligence will become far more obvious as we interact with smart technology in almost every aspect of our lives,' she elaborates.

'We'll also see more integration of information in the next year, with CEO's diaries fully integrated and communicating with each other minute by minute. The same will be true for homemakers' schedules.

'Simply, everything we need will be mobile device-based, from the capability to read, sign and submit documentation to advisories on amenities, venues and even store specials, as we approach a location or centre.'

With the long-term prospect of smart lives, where interaction with digital technology starts from the moment one's technology-enabled house activates the coffee machine and heats up the geyser so that the shower is instantly hot and no water is wasted, to the wearing of clothing custom-made to suit the individual and with a built-in digital footprint, through to the return home to a meal ready for the table, the human race is in for some jaw-dropping times.

But, as Yavi points out, it wasn't long ago that we were in awe of biometric scanning, which is now, of course, old hat.

The changing face of fintech

The benefits of the digital revolution for the financial services sector are to be found in increasing automation of tasks that don't require academic thought or the human IQ. Fintech is on the fast-track, but even that has evolved from its original definition of technology applied to the back-end of institutions to any technological innovation in the sector, including financial literacy and education, retail banking, investment and crypto-currencies such as bitcoin.

But even this will never fully replace the human touch, says Yavi. 'No matter how big a role technology plays, there will always be a place for customer interaction. It's just that service personnel will have so much more time to focus on it, tailor it and perfect it.'

Company executives, she advises, should be giving serious thought to how they integrate their businesses with emerging technology, because being left behind is not an option.

Forbes voices a similar warning. 'Companies must move fast while moving forward towards growth,' writes Newman. 'Those that don't embrace agility, or fail to knock down silos, will have an even more difficult time in 2018. Digital transformation is an imperative. Disruption will continue to be an increasingly common occurrence, and companies unable or unprepared for those changes will quickly fall to the bottom of the pack.'