Enterprising young finance students at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) will now be able to learn by doing and put their excellent theoretical investment knowledge to good practical use, thanks to the launch of the recent Young Investor Programme (YIP).
“The Finance industry is a competitive one, and the YIP is a useful means of obtaining a practical understanding of the investments industry, and an opportunity for students to see where they fit in,” says Professor Ricardo Peters, Director of UWC’s School of Business and Finance (SBF).
“The challenge has never been a matter of not knowing how to crunch the numbers to pass a test or exam, but rather to build on the softer skills so that our students can have the right level of self confidence so as to prepare well for interviews and know how to conduct themselves in the workplace.”
The YIP aims to help students build those skills – and also bridge the gap between the theoretical knowledge obtained at university and the practical aspect required by the investment industry.
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When a group of UWC B.Com Honours Finance students realised they lacked the kind of practical knowledge they would need out there in the finance and investment industry, they approached the SBF with a solution in July last year.
Since then, the SBF set out to secure sponsorship to tackle this challenge. SBF senior lecturer Dr Warren Brown approached Coronation, and they agreed to sponsor R62 500 towards the Young Investor Programme initiative – and changed the course of several students’ lives.
So far six YIP groups consisting of five members each have been formed – all either in their second or third year of finance and investment studies. For the rest of the year they will be participating in a number of workshops, interacting with industry professionals, and performing practical investment exercises, picking companies to invest in, reviewing financial headlines and conducting company analyses and virtual trading, recommending whether to buy, sell or hold to academia and sponsor assessing groups. Many participants have already been taken up in the workplace – a source of pride for the students and the SBF alike.
“We want to create activities that are aimed at enhancing the practical, personal and professional skills of the members within the programme,” Prof Peters notes. “We’d like to see students equipped, able to make informed financial decisions and understand the intricacies of the industry – and secure their futures.”