Insights on the Future : Education and Business with Iain Williamson, Old Mutual

In our podcast this week, we spoke with Old Mutual CEO, Iain Williamson, about education, business and the future:

Deciding about the future of your children’s education is one of the most important decisions every parent has to make.

One of the Old Mutual Foundation’s objectives is to invest in education by focussing on both school leadership and academics; the Group has partnered with national and provincial Departments of Education as well as education specialists to introduce programmes that give young students opportunities to display their skills to prominent people in their field of study.

Improving maths and science matric results has become the programmes’ mandate and they have, over an investment period of seven years, launched a number of funded projects whose key objective was to train principals, teachers, and the governing bodies of schools alongside more traditional academic programme support. The results achieved over the period have been quite pleasing.

Getting South Africa to think long term

Iain firmly believes that “actions speak louder than words”, especially when working with people. It is critical to build partnerships and trust and once you do, everything else falls into place.

It is important to help people to understand that creating wealth is not dependent on how much you earn, because most of the time the people who earn the most spend the most. It is all about understanding compound interest.

Despite their B-BBEE score of level one, Iain is firm that maintaining that score and further improving on some of the elements within the scorecard  is more important than having it – it us about thinking further ahead. “It is less about the outcome of the scorecard and more about the substance of how do we make sure it has full impact.”

Advice to young people

Our youth should pragmatically follow their passion. If you can’t figure out what your passion is, then try to do different things and find that one thing that sets your soul on fire – the one that works for you – and when you find the one, you will know.

Iain concluded by saying that If work feels too much like work and not passion, it becomes draining and it takes too much of your life, emphasising the importance of doing what you love for a living.

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