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SAP and Deloitte find an answer to skills development crisis

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The Deloitte Graduate Academy and SAP South Africa have joined forces to
offer a 13-month programme aimed at developing proactive business analysts
and consultants for their customers.

Known as Siyasebenza ('we are working') Skills Development, the programme
focuses on enabling graduates to develop analytical skills, appropriate
corporate behaviour, and a deep understanding of the ways in which
enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems drive modern business.
The programme is founded on a NQF 5 business consultant practice (ERP)
learnership registered four years ago by the Deloitte Graduate Academy, and
is focused on bridging the gap between university education and the
requirements of the workplace – as well as driving transformation at all
levels of a business.
The first Siyasebenza Skills Development intake is in August 2008 and will
be open to all Deloitte and SAP South Africa customers in the financial
services sector.  Future Siyasebenza programmes will focus on the retail,
mining, and public sectors.
"Because of a lack of exposure to business, many graduates don't understand
that their role is to actively solve problems and provide solutions, thereby
generating a profit for their employers," says the head of the Deloitte
Graduate Academy, Piero Granelli. "An attitude change of that significance
can't be effected in a week or two.
"You have to ensure that the acquisition of knowledge (including effective
communication), the application of the knowledge gained, and attitude or
behaviours are properly aligned and integrated, so that the learner is a
fully rounded person before hitting the job market.
"In other words, you have to go beyond training to education and mentoring.
We have proven that this approach ensures sustained and sustainable
development for the graduates as evidenced by the success of the 170
graduates who have been produced over the past four years.
"Having found the key to enlarging our own talent pool, we're now making
that intellectual property available to our customers. In the process, we're
adding a very important dimension -formal SAP certification."
SAP South Africa's education business solutions manager, Jaco van Zyl, says
that with a shortage of SAP consultancy skills experienced globally and
locally, SAP South Africa has been looking for a graduate training vehicle
that would accelerate the development of appropriate skills.
"We chose to collaborate with Deloitte because of its track record in
delivering work-ready graduates. We also share the Deloitte Graduate
Academy's view that you can't take a quick-fix approach.  In addition, the
reputation of  SAP and Deloitte's as world-class organisations that
consistently deliver high quality products and services, will not only give
our separate and joint customers the confidence that we understand what sort
of graduates they need and how urgent their transformation requirements are,
but also that we can actually deliver them."
Customers seeking new graduates or wishing to accelerate the development of
existing employees will contract directly with the Deloitte Graduate
Academy. In the case of new employees, the Academy will recruit suitable
candidates according to criteria designed to minimise drop-out from the
programme.
Customers will be closely involved in the recruitment process to ensure a
good culture fit with their own organisation. Learners then spend their
first three months at the Academy, getting to grips with the principles and
practicalities of business process, learning desirable corporate behaviour,
developing their problem-solving abilities, and understanding the basics of
ERP
From the fourth to twelfth month, learners will work with hands-on ERP
projects at their employer organisations, closely mentored by the Academy's
staff. The learners will spend 3 to 5 days each month at the Academy honing
their skills. In the thirteenth month they will undergo intensive SAP
certification.