Work experience is one of the most crucial factors that can affirm a graduates’ competency and set them apart from the rest. The ability to place students on work experience whilst pursuing their training is part of the Sparrow FET College winning formula. The FET’s partnership with industry and relevant SETA’s has seen many of its students gain work experience and often finding permanent employment.
One such partnership has been with international flooring specialists, Peter Bates. The company has provided the FET College’s Installation of Floor Covering students with work experience for the past two years.
The company has trained over 20 students and employed one of the graduates, Luvuyo Nokwe. Nokwe’s initiative and passion was spotted by Carpet Consultant at Peter Bates, Mark Lourie. “He was a lot of trouble, constantly asking for work with a smile on his face”, Lourie laughs. He further adds, “It is rare that you come across such a passion, willingness in our youth.”
A lot of times people would rather stay in their comfort zone and stick to what they know. Nokwe’s inquisitive nature inspired him to expand his skills and explore different floorings. Luvuyo’s entrepreneurial demeanor prompted him to finding other ways of making money through marketing carpets. He would also sort boxes in the storeroom during his breaks to make extra cash.
It was through this tenacity that Nokwe was able to learn the art of negotiation with team leaders. Currently working under a Sub-contractor team, with just over a year at the company, he is working towards leading his own team.
He admits that when he got into the Installation of Floor Coverings program, all he cared about was receiving the monthly stipend. He soon thereafter came to understand that the experience would be crucial in the long run. “Young people need to show up and expose themselves,” Nokwe says. Nokwe now enjoys the perks of getting to travel and experiencing new and different places across the country. He puts emphasis on the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and that it is the willingness to learn that sets one apart. “The money has its time and it comes once one has committed and sweated,” Nokwe explains.
The South African Bill of Rights makes provision for children’s socio-economic rights. This includes the right to basic education and social services. However, according to Unicef’s early childhood statistical snapshot, over 200 million children under 5 years of age in low and middle-income countries – and increasing numbers in OECD countries and emerging economies – will face inequalities and fail to reach their full developmental potential. This is due to a number of risk factors including poverty which often can lead to heightened risks of substance abuse, crime and depression.
To avoid these risks and consequences in the later stages of a child’s life, early childhood development should be a key focus for every country. Early childhood spans the period up to 9 years of age which is critical for social, emotional and cognitive development. If a child is left to grow up without the proper care and education, this can lead to irreversible damage and hamper development. By investing in early childhood education, South Africa can yield long lasting benefits. Studies have shown that early childhood development play a crucial role in helping mitigate the impact of adverse early experiences.
Although South Africa still has a long way to go, it is not all doom and gloom. The Sparrow Foundation School realises the importance of early childhood development and has introduced a multifaceted remedial teaching centre. The centre will soon be extended to include a Maths Enrichment Centre and a Natural Science & Technology centre adding on to the existing Literacy Enrichment centre.
The three centres are designed to accommodate every learner’s individual style and maximise the learner’s full potential to learn and acquire a new skill. The multi-media Literacy Enrichment centre is designed to focus on the improvement of literacy levels among all learner’s enrolled in the Foundation School. The Maths Enrichment centre utilises blended teaching practices and instructional design, equipped with computer based teaching software. The aim is to improve numeracy levels among all the Foundation School learners. The multi-disciplinary and adaptable Natural Science & Technology Centre aims to expose the learner to various building blocks of the world around us and how they in our ever changing modern environment.
The remedial centre will play a crucial role in helping produce quality human capital adding value to South Africa’s economy. It also ensures that the minority of learners with ‘special needs’ are able to compete and match up to those learners with ‘ordinary needs’.
“When you encounter uncomfortable situations, you can either decide to be victim or an over-comer. Always choose to be an over-comer. Grace is within our reach to be an over-comer.” – Lailah Gifty Akita.
From the day we are born, life throws us with many curveballs as we try and navigate through life trying to find our feet. Hailing from the dusty streets of one of South Africa’s most notorious townships, Alexandra, Samuel Mazibuko decided he would not let his challenging circumstance hold him back and chose to be an over-comer.
The 20 year old Adaptive Curriculum Skills Program (ASP) learner joined Sparrow Schools Combined School in 2010 after dropping out of a mainstream school because of learning difficulties he was experiencing. The ASP is a programme introduced in 2014 through collaboration between Sparrow’s academic specialists, learner support services and special education practitioners.
The program aims to design a suitable environment for learners with learning difficulties. The focus is on transferring practical skills to learners who are cognitively impaired and struggle coping with the academic curriculum. The learners enrolled in the ASP have an opportunity to learn various skills ranging from baking, sowing and agriculture.
This program has helped Mazibuko escape a life of substance abuse which could have had detrimental consequences. “I come from a place where there is a lot of poverty and unemployment, this school (Sparrow) and the ASP has helped me change my life,” Mazibuko says. Mazibuko
Mazibuko has now turned his life around and has now been selected to be a Teacher’s Assistant at the Combined School’s bakery. “Sparrow has been hectic but also amazing. I have learnt a lot of skills which I never thought that I would,” Mazibuko explains.
Through his journey at Sparrow and the ASP, Mazibuko has now grown to become an ambitious young man. He aspires to one day own a bakery. He also would like to use the sowing skills he learned in the ASP and make his own clothes and transfer the skills he learned back into his community. Judging by his work ethic and focus, we at Sparrow have seen him realise his potential and we have no doubt that he will realise his ambitions.