A study on the applicability of the internal audit technician learnership in the public sector.
Chetty, Lawrence Christopher.
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The solution to South Africa’s growing skills crisis subsists in its ability to transform into a thriving knowledge economy. In a globalised world where it has become easy for skills to transcend borders, skills development and more importantly, skills retention strategies, ought to be an integral part of an organisation’s strategic framework in particular, and the country’s skills development strategy in general. Learnerships, viewed as a panacea for the skills crisis, is a legislated skills development initiative which falls under the Skills Development Act. This in turn resides within the Public Human Resource Management domain. A learnership is a vocationally-based training programme which is quality assured by the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) and has as its foundation experiential learning principles. To this end, the Institute of Internal Auditors administers the Internal Audit Technician (IAT) learnership. Internal audit is deemed a scarce skill, and the IAT is aimed at increasing the level of internal audit skills whilst filling the skills gap. Presently the IAT is in greater demand within the public sector as opposed to the private sector. This research was based on completed public sector IAT programmes and some key findings included a clear and disconcerting gap in consultation and communication between the supervisor and manager of the learner. Another was that the majority of learners had benefitted vastly from the communication module and recorded visible improvements in the way they communicated. Key recommendations include greater supervisory and management commitment towards the learnership programme and that all public sector internal auditors report directly to the Auditor-General. This will allow for internal auditors to conduct internal audits free of political interference and the concomitant fear from any form of reprisal, especially where corruption is involved.