MANAGEMENT: UCT Lanches First Postgraduate CSI Qualification
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The UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) is this June launching South Africa’s first specialised postgraduate programme in Corporate Social Investment (CSI).
The Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice in CSI (PGDIP CSI) is a landmark offering that will provide a comprehensive CSI curriculum and give South Africans the framework to align CSI with core business strategy to make it sustainable and successful.
According to Khanyisa Balfour, Manager of CSI at Engen and herself an alumna of the UCT GSB, a postgraduate programme of this nature is long overdue, given the massive potential of CSI to contribute to development and poverty alleviation in South Africa.
“The CSI industry has the potential to change South Africa, but it has not yet been professionalised, standards are in some areas mediocre, and companies don’t always see its strategic value,” said Balfour.
To remedy this, the new 15-month programme aims to build technical and relational skills and solidarity amongst CSI and NGO practitioners. It will create a platform for dialogue and engagement around best practice issues in the social development/CSI sector.
“NGOs and corporates need to find a common language of engagement to be able to craft a common development agenda – currently they play by different rules but with greater solidarity between the two entities their impact can be greater,” she said.
Balfour added that professionalising the industry will go a long way to improving standards and results.
“As strategic Corporate Social Investment and Development becomes a business imperative, this programme is designed to assist in building long-term capacity and to support NGO and CSI practitioners as they grapple with the challenges of sustainable CSI and embedding strategic CSI programmes into core business thinking and action.
“We also need CSI and development practitioners who have a good understanding of the country’s development agenda and business objectives,” she said.
Offered to the public by the Corporate Learning division of the UCT GSB, the programme will equip practitioners from both the corporate and development sectors with the necessary technical skills, management skills and business acumen to integrate corporate social investment into business strategy and to develop a synergy between financial and social returns.
Linda Buckley, head of Corporate Learning at the UCT GSB, said the programme would set important bench-marking standards for the CSI sector – something that has been lacking to date.
“A need has been identified in the CSI sector to professionalise the industry – and to do so by enrolling interested parties on an academic programme (NQF 7) run via the UCT GSB,” said Buckley.
“Key to the success of this programme will be the conversations between NGO, Government and Corporate delegates – to build individual capacities and understanding of real issues whilst adopting systemic approaches to the identifiable problems and opportunities in the workplace of each and every candidate.
“What one trusts will also emerge is a continual process of CSI evolution as we create a forum of critical discussion amongst those with a passion and flair for the CSI sector,” she added.
The programme runs over four modules and is aimed at (but not limited to) CSI officers and practitioners in the corporate sector, giving/community liaison officers in small and medium enterprises, and philanthropy/ social giving/development officers in private, family or corporate foundations.
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