Over the last number of years, the South African government has been on a drive to reduce unemployment. One of the initiatives that was included in this plan was to offer SETA funded learnerships. These learnerships have afforded disadvantaged learners the opportunity to obtain valuable skills as well as experience in careers and industries that were previously closed to them.
With this noble cause in mind, FTI embarked on a journey to offer the two BA qualifications as learnerships to previously unemployed learners. This included the Level 5 Business Analysis Support Practice qualification as well as the National Certificate: Business Analysis.
It’s been a time of rapid learning for all involved stakeholders within FTI. We encountered challenges, we had great successes, but the most important impact is the one on the lives of the delegates.
I was privileged to be involved as a lecturer in some of our very first learnerships hosted at FTI. We started with learners that had no clue or concept of what Business Analysis entails. Most thought it had something to do with business management – a course or qualification that would enable them to one day own and run their own businesses. This is proof that our profession is still very young and has not reached all the fame and recognition that it deserves. There are large numbers of young individuals that have no idea that Business Analysis exists as a career option. As BAs, we should work on this. We should not only network with stakeholders that can advance our own careers. We should be going back to the schools and institutions where the concept of Business Analysis has not yet reached.
In my previous post, I reflected on where Pied Piper, the fictional tech startup, would be if a Business Analyst was part of the founding of the business. Today, I sit and wonder how much quicker we could have an impact on people’s lives if business analysis skills were offered to grass root entrepreneurs.
When we started with the largest learnership to date, we had a large number of learners who had not been placed at host sites yet. These learners still had to demonstrate business assessment skills by identifying a project. The brief to them was to go to a local business within their community and start analysing how they could solve problems using technology.
The projects presented for their assignments were some of the most interesting projects that I have seen. They were socially relevant problems and the learners had interesting and valid ideas on how these problems could be solved using technology. These problems were not your run-of-the-mill corporate problems that we are used to. No “big data” projects, no “inability to expand into foreign markets” projects. These were projects that demonstrated to me how far removed I still am in understanding the real human value of technology as a tool, as well as the more noble value of a business analyst.
This learnership, for me, turned into a cause where I focused on transferring my knowledge and skills to these learners, to enable them to go back to these small businesses and potentially have a positive impact on the lives of people. It was no longer just about individuals, but it also started being about communities. About opportunities and improving lives. It was no longer just about getting one individual into a career as a business analyst. It became so much more for me.
As I sit here, reflecting on a year of challenges and lessons, there is a part of me that feels I should make a call to other business analysts. A call to start mobilizing our collective skills and look back to our roots where we come from. Stop, pause and think about all that we have to be so magnificently grateful for – the job, the car, the salary, the prospects. Have a deeper, maybe more spiritual, maybe more human reflection on value.
How are you changing people’s lives? If you are, tell us about it. It could inspire more BAs to become involved in similar initiatives. So many individuals have thought about how technology can be utilized to solve Africa’s problems. I am wondering if as business analysts we are solving the right problems correctly?
Dulaine is the Programme Manager for Business analysis in Cape Town, where she lectures in Business Analysis. She completed her Advanced Diploma in Business Analysis in 2017 and joined the FTI family as lecturer on a full time bases in 2018.
Dulaine has a strong background in business analysis, having worked on a wide variety of projects and technologies, both from the IT side as well as the business side. She is also a trained change agent with a passion for developing and implementing changes in organisations.
When she’s not lecturing, Dulaine spends time with her family and photography.
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