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Memezelo Secondary School in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, is the most recent public school in South Africa to partner with a well established private sector group.
Leading financial services group Alexander Forbes has adopted the school with desire to support and enhance the quality of its education and learning output. Alexander Forbes is going to share expertise and knowledge – covering anything from financial management to leadership skills – with Memezelo, with the objective of advancing administration and teaching at the school. The ultimate end goal to improve the school’s matric results.
Monetary investments into Memezelo is going to be made available down the road, said Alexander Forbes CEO Edward Kieswetter. For the moment the main objective is going to be to stabilise human capacity. To start with investments will go towards repairing the school’s hall and several classrooms, in addition a new computer laboratory and a library will be built. “We’ll start to look at building those over the next few months,” said Kieswetter.
Alexander Forbes carried out a security risk audit at the school, and discovered that safety measures should be bolstered. This, too, will undoubtedly be addressed.
Kieswetter has established a mentoring relationship with Memezelo principal Prince Maluleke, which will incorporate the transfer of management and leadership skills. The principal was invited and attended the Alexander Forbes’ leadership conference which was held in Cape Town in January 2011, where, he said, he learnt a great deal.
Management teams from both parties will in addition get together for training programmes, while teachers have been given training in personal finance management. “A financially healthy teacher is a productive teacher,” said Maluleke.
HIV/Aids training sessions for teachers are up and running, and will be carried out over 12 months.
The partnership is a direct response to Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s involvement in Memezelo’s affairs. He adopted the school in January 2010 in order to assist and make improvements.
“I am positive that this commitment will go a long way when it comes to enhancing the quality of education in this school,” said Motlanthe, talking at the launch. “As a result of this partnership we will turn Memezelo into one of the best performing schools.”
Earlier known as one of Gauteng’s significantly more problematic schools, Memezelo is turning the tide on poor matric performance, deficiency of order and mismanagement. The school obtained a 83.3% matric pass rate last year.
Kieswetter said Alexander Forbes intends to sustain the relationship with Memezelo over several years to come. “It truly is a journey that will actually unfold.”
Bursaries for top performers
Alexander Forbes will also be awarding bursaries to Memezelo matriculants who successfully pass with flying colours. This announcement inspired the school’s 2011 Grade 12 pupils to study hard and score high marks.
Matric pupil Babuyile Ncube fancies her prospects of receiving the coveted bursary. An orphan dependent on her grandmother, she is fully aware of the fact that the bursary could very well be a life-changing opportunity.
“It’s up to me to take this opportunity. I need to work hard,” said Ncube. The teenager, who would like to enrol for a biotechnology degree, is confident of her examination prospects. “I have many chances in making it. I need the bursary.”
Another Grade 12 pupil, Constance Madonsela, said the bursary offer was motivational.
Principal Maluleke prompted his pupils to work hard. “Go get those As, they will take all of you to university,” he told the pupils.
Alexander Forbes will concentrate on training programmes and “making bursaries accessible to committed pupils who perform well”, stated Motlanthe.
A call to adopt schools
The government is positive that far more businesses will listen to its call to invest in public schools, quite a few that happen to be disadvantaged.
Motlanthe and basic education minister Angie Motshekga connected with 150 local business leaders in last November to talk about Business-Adopt-a-School initiatives. Businesses did make pledges to support these kinds of schemes, according to Motlanthe.
Alexander Forbes initiative is “one of the first of many that I am hoping will continue to follow from the private sector”, said Motlanthe. “We encourage others from the business sector to heed this example as part of their corporate social investment programmes.”
While the government was “acutely aware” that it is responsible for the achievement of quality primary education, it also requires assistance from businesses, said the deputy president.
“The government cannot do without businesses,” said Gauteng Legislature member Molebatsi Bopape, adding that the education department has done well in transforming the school into an environment conducive to learning.
With the new year fast approaching, now is the best time to get ahead of the pack and fulfill some of your upcoming resolutions. It’s vital to plan for the future – and it often pays off too.
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* Jobseekers are likely to face competition.
* About 3 out of 10 work in finance and insurance industries.
* Most financial managers need a bachelor’s degree, and many have a master’s degree or professional certification.
* Experience may be more important than formal education for some financial manager positions—most notably, branch managers in banks.
Nature of the Work
Almost every firm, government agency, and other type of organization employs one or more financial managers. Financial managers oversee the preparation of financial reports, direct investment activities, and implement cash management strategies. Managers also develop strategies and implement the long-term goals of their organization.
The duties of financial managers vary with their specific titles, which include controller, treasurer or finance officer, credit manager, cash manager, risk and insurance manager, and manager of international banking. Controllers direct the preparation of financial reports, such as income statements, balance sheets, and analyses of future earnings or expenses, that summarize and forecast the organization’s financial position. Controllers also are in charge of preparing special reports required by regulatory authorities. Often, controllers oversee the accounting, audit, and budget departments. Treasurers and finance officers direct their organization’s budgets to meet its financial goals. They oversee the investment of funds, manage associated risks, supervise cash management activities, execute capital-raising strategies to support the firm’s expansion, and deal with mergers and acquisitions. Credit managers oversee the firm’s issuance of credit, establishing credit-rating criteria, determining credit ceilings, and monitoring the collections of past-due accounts.
Cash managers monitor and control the flow of cash receipts and disbursements to meet the business and investment needs of their firm. For example, cash flow projections are needed to determine whether loans must be obtained to meet cash requirements or whether surplus cash can be invested. Risk and insurance managers oversee programs to minimize risks and losses that might arise from financial transactions and business operations. Insurance managers decide how best to limit a company’s losses by obtaining insurance against risks such as the need to make disability payments for an employee who gets hurt on the job or costs imposed by a lawsuit against the company. Risk managers control financial risk by using hedging and other techniques to limit a company’s exposure to currency or commodity price changes. Managers specializing in international finance develop financial and accounting systems for the banking transactions of multinational organizations. Risk managers are also responsible for calculating and limiting potential operations risk. Operations risk includes a wide range of risks, such as a rogue employee damaging the company’s finances or a hurricane damaging an important factory.
Financial institutions—such as commercial banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, and mortgage and finance companies—employ additional financial managers who oversee various functions, such as lending, trusts, mortgages, and investments, or programs, including sales, operations, or electronic financial services. These managers may solicit business, authorize loans, and direct the investment of funds, always adhering to laws and regulations.
Branch managers of financial institutions administer and manage all of the functions of a branch office. Job duties may include hiring personnel, approving loans and lines of credit, establishing a rapport with the community to attract business, and assisting customers with account problems. Branch mangaers also are becoming more oriented toward sales and marketing. As a result, it is important that they have substantial knowledge about the types of products that the bank sells. Financial managers who work for financial institutions must keep abreast of the rapidly growing array of financial services and products.
In addition to the preceding duties, financial managers perform tasks unique to their organization or industry. For example, government financial managers must be experts on the government appropriations and budgeting processes, whereas healthcare financial managers must be knowledgeable about issues surrounding healthcare financing. Moreover, financial managers must be aware of special tax laws and regulations that affect their industry.
Financial managers play an important role in mergers and consolidations and in global expansion and related financing. These areas require extensive, specialized knowledge to reduce risks and maximize profit. Financial managers increasingly are hired on a temporary basis to advise senior managers on these and other matters. In fact, some small firms contract out all their accounting and financial functions to companies that provide such services.
The role of the financial manager, particularly in business, is changing in response to technological advances that have significantly reduced the amount of time it takes to produce financial reports. Technological improvements have made it easier to produce financial reports, and, as a consequence, financial managers now perform more data analysis that allows them to offer senior managers profit-maximizing ideas. They often work on teams, acting as business advisors to top management.
Working in comfortable offices, often close to top managers and with departments that develop the financial data those managers need, financial managers typically have direct access to state-of-the-art computer systems and information services. They commonly work long hours, often up to 50 or 60 per week. Financial managers generally are required to attend meetings of financial and economic associations and may travel to visit subsidiary firms or to meet customers.