Never Too Old to Learn


By Lesley-Anne van Wyk WINDHOEK No matter how old you are, it is never too late to keep updating your skills and knowledge. This is the way in which the Under Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Alfred Ilukena, helped launch the Old Mutual and Nedbank Training Centre in Capital Centre on Friday. The under secretary went on to say that the reason the Ministry of Education takes a significant interest in such initiatives is because it enforces a competitive work-force that offers quality service and engineers the rapid development of the country. In an ever-changing technological landscape it is vital to update oneself to increase one’s salary and job satisfaction, and also to make the institutions you represent proud, Ilukena said. Education is for life, the person with a degree might not always be the person who can offer quality service and for this reason, said Ilukena, one must keep in touch with one’s profession by remaining current. He illustrated all this by saying, “Life is not static, our lives are dynamic and changing.” Old Mutual and Nedbank took advantage of the skills shortage in Namibia, as Executive Manager of Operations and Business Development for Old Mutual, Bertie van der Walt, pointed out. He added that, “This modern training facility is Old Mutual and Nedbank’s response to our skills development needs.” “The role of education and development of human capital is a primary driver of the economic development of a country and can never be underestimated” he said. He described education in whatever format, be it primary, secondary, tertiary, internal or external, to be the great equalizer between people and that it provides equal opportunities to all. Students, recruits or any citizen have the opportunity to distinguish him or herself by recognizing such opportunities and making use of them to full advantage. Van der Walt stressed the importance of seeing each person in the company, no matter on which level they operate, as being involved in the selling of the product; essentially a salesperson. This makes everybody applicable and strengthens the company. He also mentioned that the training centre not only offers technical skills but also introduces the trainee to the company’s cultures, habits and disciplines. Areas the centre will focus on include: excellent customer service delivery, an in-depth understanding of various products, their features and value to the customer. It will also improve the advice capacity of the companies’ financial advisors. The centre will also focus on computer skills aimed at improved customer service and client needs analysis. Old Mutual is one of the few financial services institutions in Southern Africa with its own business school, providing various training interventions to meet company specific needs. The business school, which is situated in Cape Town, offers a diverse range of courses in areas such as project management, change management, leadership courses, communication, customer service, human resources and diversity management. The objective of the Old Mutual/Nedbank Training Centre is to ultimately provide an extension of the training and development initiative under way at the business school. In this way Old Mutual and Nedbank “give us here in Namibia access to a wonderful international source of expertise and infrastructure,” added Van der Walt. Nedbank Executive Manager of Retail, Mark Viviers, commented that if Nedbank is to live by its new slogan ‘Make things happen’ then it must itself make things happen for its staff and clientele. “This training centre reflects our commitment to staff development, an investment to better serve our customers, it will also be made available to serve our valued business partners for their training and presentation requirements.” He added that it ultimately serves to improve education in Namibia. The training centre has 20 computers to be utilised in five training rooms that can accommodate 20-25 people at a time. Other available equipment is a projector screen, television, proximas and a VCR.