Fast little loans
Boston City Campus & Business College has been running debt-recovery learnerships for the past three years.
Funded by the Seta for the financial sector (Fasset), it is intended to recruit staff for the college.
Once the students qualify, they are employed at the college, then are placed with other companies.
What made you interested in debt recovery?
Initially I was studying bookkeeping at Boston, which gave me a good background for debt recovery, so when I heard that I had qualified for the learnership, I jumped at the opportunity.
What kind of adjustment did you have to make, moving from being a student to an employee?
It was a challenge at first – meeting new people and in a different environment.
It took some getting used to moving from a theoretical background at college every morning to applying my knowledge in the workplace in the afternoons.
How did you find the time to study?
I had to exercise a lot of discipline. Working from eight to four leaves only the evenings in which to study. I was very tired when I got home, but I knew that falling behind with my studies would be counter-productive, so I forced myself to become focused.
My hard work paid off because now I am working in the accounts department doing bookkeeping.
What are the qualities needed to become a competent debt collector?
Apart from having the necessary qualification, you need to have the ability to negotiate and speak empathetically to the debtor – usually over the phone.
Persistence and patience is needed. Because of the economic situation in the country, there are many reasons why people may have difficulty paying their accounts.
Whatever the reason, personal, financial, or ill health, each person will have his/her own special set of circumstances. Despite this, the job of the debt collector is to try and come to an arrangement with the debtor. Every business offers a product or service in good faith and has the right to be paid.
Who inspired you?
I was lucky at school because I had a wonderful teacher who motivated and encouraged me to excel in accounts.
However, at Boston, Mr Sebatseba, my debt recovery manager, became my role model.
He was fairly strict and would send you home if you were late for class.
I quickly learnt that if I did exactly what he told me, I would achieve a lot more in my studies and my job.
I really respected him and was sorry to say goodbye when I moved into the accounts department.
l Boston is now recruiting for a new learnership programme. The minimum requirements are matric with English, SA second language and maths (accounting would be an advantage). Applications can be sent to Joyce@boston.co.za or fax to 086 529 6716.