Discovery Learnerships

Barry Swartberg

Barry Swartzberg | Executive - Discovery Holdings Barry Swartzberg

The company’s employees share an entrepreneurial spirit of wanting to be on the cutting edge of healthcare.

The company has been built on great people, who all have an attitude of “can & will do”. This has driven the company to the great success it is today. We firmly believe in liberating the best in our people.

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Focusing on developing skills and creating job opportunities

Learnership programmes at Discovery are intended to address the gap between the current provision of education and training, and the needs of the labour market, by addressing issues such as unequal access to education, training and employment opportunities. Learnerships are therefore viewed as a central mechanism for achieving transformation in South Africa.

What is unique about the learnership programme as Discovery?

The fact that it is 100% aligned with the skills development objectives of the country. We focus on developing the skills, as well as creating job opportunities for black, unemployed matriculants.

This is the ninth successive year that the learnerships will be implemented at Discovery. Elaborate on the success of it.

The success of our learnerships can be attributed to the fact that we have eight years experience running learnerships. We had a < 10% drop-out rate and a >80%  pass rate. Another success indicator is that we have employed just over 75% of the learners at Discovery. We have also received back all our grants from INSETA, which makes it a true investment.

Discovery is one of the Insurance corporates in SA who have had success with the learnerships. What has been the key factor that led to this success?

A definite factor that has contributed to the success of the Discovery learnerships is the fact that Discovery has a dedicated Skills Development team looking after learnerships in the company. The team is responsible for planning, implementing, monitoring and managing all aspects of the learnership process.

How many learners have been employed at Discovery in the last 7 years?

About 75% of the 517 learners from the previous learnerships have been offered internships, fixed term contracts or permanent contracts at Discovery..

How has the learnership programme grown over the past eight years?

Every year we ascertain the business needs and run learnerships accordingly. Currently we run 5 learnerships at Discovery a number of which are trained by external training providers.This year we introduced Short term Insurance in a joint venture with INSETA. In 2013 we will run 6 learnerships. Induction runs for a month during which time learners are acclimatised into a corporate environment. Following induction learners complete their theoretical training which takes about four months. After which they work in business until the end of the learnership gaining valuable workplace experience.

How do these learnerships form part of Discovery's greater recruitment strategy and employment equity policy?

We offer our learnerships to black, unemployed matriculants and people living with disabilities, which aligns directly to Discovery's BEE strategy.