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A female student in a male dominated industry deiced to take charge whilst on workplace experience and was hired after a month!

Thembisile first heard about the opportunity to study Fluid Power Hose Assembly at Sparrow FET College through The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). After graduating from college, Thembisile could not find a job in the field of electrical engineering and spent several years volunteering whilst looking for work.

In April 2016, Thembisile registered to study Fluid Power Hose Assembly at Sparrow FET College in Sophiatown and found the course ‘interesting’ and ‘engaging’. After her three months at the College, Thembisile was placed at Pirtek to gain practical work experience and within a month of her placement, she was offered a permanent position at the company.

“I used everything that I was taught and took initiative in my placement. I am enjoying my job and learning something new everyday.”

If you would like to find out more about the opportunity to receive a fully funded bursary to study at Sparrow FET College then we want to hear from you: admissions@sparrowschools.co.za / +27116734410 or 4419

A sports coaching student refuses to give up!

Xolane is on his way to living his dream. Since he was a boy, Xolane had always loved the thrill of football, and even more, the thrill of organising and running a team. He didn’t immediately seize on that passion, however. In his neighbourhood in Thembisa, Xolane was known for the football team he had been coaching since Grade 11, Boys’ Team FC.  

After completing his matric, he got a job at OR Tambo International Airport in customer service. The job was good, but the hours were bad, and Boys’ Team FC fell by the wayside. At this point, Xolane’s life took a turn darker. He is reluctant to get into this area of his past, but admits free time at odd hours and bad friends introduced a new lifestyle of illicit substances into his life. Two years after beginning, he had to leave his job, unable to sustain the balance anymore.

He temped at a department store for three months, but afterwards he was back to spending all his days at home. But Xolane was not one to be a victim of his circumstances. He cleaned up and decided to occupy himself with his first love: football. He restarted Boys’ Team FC and began coaching with renewed purpose. It was hard without funding, but the enthusiasm and raw talent of the team allowed them to secure sponsorship from a friend of Xolane’s who ran a timber company. Xolane knew the next step to getting his team taken seriously was to make sure the coach, himself, was taken seriously. Fortunately for him, he soon caught the eye of a Sparrow staff member, Mr Musa. Mr Musa approached him and told him about the sports coaching programme at Sparrow FET College. Xolane took a chance, and he couldn’t be happier. “I am gaining so many opportunities here at Sparrow,” he says. In spite of a rocky start due to lack of finances for travel at the beginning of the programme, he has settled in well at the college, with the help of his dedicated lecturer and support of his fellow students. “I am planning to take part in the Booksmart for Rugby programme before I graduate,” he says. “I am greatly looking forward to that. I’m hoping to transfer the credit I earn here towards a sports diploma at a university, and take my career further.” At 22 years of age, Xolane feels he has already lived a lot, but knows he has a world’s worth of life waiting to be seized ahead of him. “Impossible is nothing,” he says thoughtfully. “In life, we all have dreams. Some things will hold us back, but never think twice about what you want, don’t discourage yourself. It will happen.”

If you’re interested in making your dreams come true, please book your assessment via 011 673 4410/4419.

Partnerships are key to upskilling SA youth

South Africa’s further education and training (FET) institutions and private sector companies have to form innovative partnerships to successfully address the country’s twin challenge of a critical skills shortage coupled with high youth unemployment.

Sparrow FET College was founded in 2010 to provide a theoretical, practical, and real-world application approach to skills development and training for learners from a disadvantaged background.

The college is a social enterprise that works with both government and private companies to identify which skills are in demand, and to train learners in these areas – including in construction, engineering, hospitality and IT – with the outcome being an accredited NQF level qualification.

A fundamental difference at Sparrow is that educators go beyond just what’s in the curriculum; not only are they experts in their field, but they bring their own life experience into the classroom and provide learners with a mentor or role model to look up to. This includes coaching learners in areas such as life skills, financial literacy and more.

Learners also cover practical parts of the curriculum content in a simulated workplace environment to better prepare them for the real-world workplace – be it a workshop or a chef’s kitchen.

In addition, while learners completing their studies across many of the country’s FET colleges are left to try and find companies willing to provide them with internships by themselves, Sparrow works with industry partners to place students, where they get further training, learn to adapt to the workplace environment, and are prepared for future employment.

Our placement process starts with a psychometric assessment, and continues onto monitoring by job coaches to ensure students continue to develop and are capable of carrying out their duties at the workplace.

We feel this is where the college’s success lies – it’s done to strike a balance between our social responsibility needs, with the requirement of companies for competent and reliable employees – and build a sustainable relationship between the college and industry partners.

South Africa’s amended broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) codes have already placed a strong emphasis on skills development, with a priority on women and marginalised disabled youth –  both from the existing workforce, and unemployed, previously disadvantaged youth.

But by working closer together, the country’s FET colleges and private sector can build fruitful partnerships that go beyond simply meeting compliance requirements and actually make a meaningful effort toward creating inclusive, growth driven opportunities for South Africa’s youth.

“I learnt a lot about theory and practical requirements for professional cooking, which is helping me at my work placement.”

Sinah grew up in the North West of Rustenburg with her grandparents, when her mother passed away. After completing her matric in 2011, Sinah spent her time looking for employment and in 2013 she attended a cookery course, which she could not complete due to financial pressures on the family. It was only in 2016 that Sinah heard about Sparrow FET College when a staff member from Sparrow visited Rustenburg to recruit candidates.. Sinah began her Professional Cookery course in July 2016 and spoke about how much she learnt at the college:

“I learnt a lot about theory and practical requirements for professional cooking, which is helping me at my work placement.”

Sinah is currently undertaking her work placement at Gold Reef City and is enjoying the experience. Despite finishing the theoretical part of the Professional Cookery course in December 2016, Sinah still feels supported by Sparrow. Students have regular visits from job coaches to check on their progress at the work placement and address any challenges they face.

Sinah is currently living with sister in Johannesburg who has also recently started studying at Sparrow…

“Sparrow is a good place for people like us who don’t have any money. It helps people, which is why I encouraged my sister to also study at Sparrow FET College.”

When Sinah finishes her course, she would like to get a job a permanent job in the food industry and has ambitions to become a sous chef.

If you would like to join Sparrow FET College today, email us on admissions@sparrowschools.co.za to book your assessment or if you are looking for an extra pair of hands you can host our learners for 6 months at no cost contact us: 011 673 4410/19. 

“Sparrow FET College has given me an education. Thank you!”

Lerato Sekgage had a challenging start to life. She lost her mother when she was four years old, her father passed away when she was seven years old and then Lerato and her sister moved in with her grandparents who passed away in 2014. Lerato rents a small place near the Vaal Dam and before she heard about Sparrow, Lerato was unemployed and looking for work. Her small inheritance from her grandparents was running low and she was desperate to find work.

Lerato heard about the opportunity to get qualified at Sparrow FET College through a friend, and was apprehensive about applying at first due to the lack of understanding on the course. Lerato signed up to the End User IT Programme a month later than her fellow students and said it was hard work catching up but ‘worth it!

“I really enjoyed Sparrow; the facilitator, the learning and my classmates. It really was so much fun. I particularly enjoyed learning how to use Microsoft Outlook.”

Lerato has now completed her workplace experience at Purple Esther, a manufacturing and supply company in Sophiatown and completed her course at Sparrow FET College. She is now assisting the Business Admin facilitator for one week every month and seeks new employment in the IT arena. 

“Sparrow has given me an education; I have learnt how to use a computer and I have also had great assistance to get work experience. Thank you!”

Get Qualified Now! Email: admissions@sparrowschools.co.za

Or, if your business needs an extra set of hands please contact Mary on marywebber@sparrowschools.co.za

 

Itumeleng’s time

Itumeleng Letoane is a true testament of second chances and trying again.

Raised in the Free State township of Thabong near Welkom, Itumeleng had, by all accounts, a happy childhood.  Together with, his little brother and two of their cousins, he grew up steadily under the doting eye of his grandmother, Bulawa Elizabeth Letoane. He studied until Grade 10, after which he moved to Pretoria and began living with his aunt. Whilst in Pretoria, he faced his first struggle, trying to enrol in a school for Grade 11, but failing to get placed due to the school year already having started. After this, he managed to get enrolled into an Electrical Engineering course at Centurion Campus. It was here that his real struggles began.

“The freedom at a college changed me,” he recounts. “I stopped attending classes and started drinking and smoking cigarettes and dagga.” His new lifestyle had a negative effect on his grades, and he began failing his classes. “When I started failing my subjects and being unruly, my auntie sent me back to my grandma.” Back where he started, even under the watchful eye of his grandmother, Itumeleng’s behaviour got worse. “I joined gangs to satisfy my habits of smoking and drinking and became affiliated with a notorious local gang.¨ He became so entrenched in gang life he began to slip onto the wrong side of the law. He was arrested numerous times, but always managed to avoid a sentencing conviction. This was when Itumeleng finally decided to take his life into his own hands and change for the better. In 2007, he sat his grandmother down and announced he was moving to Jo´burg.

“What was left for me (in Thabong), was prison or being killed by a rival gang.” All his grandmother said to him was “Ke nako (it’s time)¨.

With her words in his heart, Itumeleng arrived in Johannesburg, determined to find a new life. At first, Itumeleng struggled, trying to eke out a living on the streets of Johannesburg. He came across an NGO that ran a job rehabilitation project and after spending some time doing odd jobs for them secured training and a job as a security guard. Still, he felt his life was not entirely in his control, and so he kept looking for more opportunities to better himself.

Whilst browsing the internet one day, he found an advertisement for Sparrow Schools, and by January 2015, he was enrolled in the Installation of Floor Covering course. That same year, he took a chance and registered his company; looking forward to the day he would complete the project and work for himself. He learnt to install all sorts of flooring, from laminates to artificial grass, and gained valuable experience at Combined Flooring.

Finally, he felt he had the skills needed to take the next step, and he began running his company, Ituway Flooring. The road has been long and hard, but Itumeleng feels he is finally where he is meant to be, in charge, focused, and with a bright future ahead of him. He has a word of advice for young matriculants, “Pray, get up, know what you want; seek it persistently until you win.”

Our next in-take is July 2017, so call  011 673 4410/19 or email admissions@sparrowschools.co.za to book an assessment.

 

Volunteering enabled Sparrow FET student, Thapelo Motsa, to prove his commitment to the industry and has been offered a 4 year contract to train as a technician, which will change his life.

Thapelo Motsa, fresh out of school and the first student from Sparrow FET College (Further Educational Training) to be offered an apprenticeship at Lindsey Saker.

Thapelo Motsa left school in 2015 and had no idea what he wanted to do with his life:

“I felt so lost after finishing my matric…Going to university was not a liable option for me due to financial issues that my mother and I experienced. Sometimes I would have to talk 15km from my home in Soweto to get to school when money for transport ran out.”

In 2016 Thapelo registered at Sparrow FET College in Sophiatown to study Automotive Repair & Maintenance (NQF Level 2).

“I had my doubts about at the beginning of the course but when I started the practical work placement, all the theory and learning at the college fell into place.”

Thapelo completed his six month work placement in January 2017 at Lindsey Saker, which is is one of South Africa’s oldest car brands. After he finished his course, Thapelo did not have a job lined up, but his strong work ethic and determination did not let this negatively impact his life.

“There would be no benefit if I had stayed at home, so I decided to stay on and volunteer at Lindsey Saker. I managed to save some of my stipends from Sparrow FET College so I could afford the transport costs.”

For a month and a half, Thapelo volunteered at the company and impressed his manager through his work ethic, enthusiasm to learn and determination to succeed. Last week, Thapelo was delighted to receive a permanent contract for a four year apprenticeship to qualify as a technician.

Sparrow FET College was a good transition from high school, to college to the workplace. I would advise anyone who has matriculated or anyone who is unsure what to do, to consider all your options. Sparrow FET College provides a great opportunity that other colleges and universities don’t provide, which is the the work experience; it is so vital in today’s economy!

Some of my friends who matriculated from school in 2015 are still unsure what to do, however one friend has just registered to study Professional Cookery at Sparrow FET College!

If you would like to find out more about the opportunity to receive a fully funded bursary to study Automotive Repair & Maintenance (NQF Level 2) then we want to hear from you.
admissions@sparrowschools.co.za / +27116734410 or 4419

Bokang Mathebura talks about his journey through Sparrow Schools.

Bokang begun his journey with us at the Sparrow Foundation School in Grade 4. Previously Bokang was at a school, which has over 40 children per class and due to his barriers to learning, he could not cope and fell behind in his education.

‘I was in grade 4 and I could not read and I could hardly write… I really did not enjoy school.’

We asked Bokang how he found Sparrow Foundation School and his face lit up:

‘It was so nice. The classes were a lot smaller and I enjoyed the practical classes like cooking, woodwork and computer classes.’

Bokang has come a long way since he first started at Sparrow Schools. He practices reading regularly to his teacher and his handwriting has improved dramatically. He has now moved up to the Sparrow Combined School in Sophiatown, which is now known as the Sparrow Combined Technical Skills School offering a skills education programme with an NQF level 1 qualification: General Certificate of Education: Technical Occupational’ specialising in one of the following skills: Business Commerce & Management Studies; Health Sciences & Social Services; Hospitality Studies; Civil Technology: (Woodworking & Timber). The new skills focused education will open doors for opportunities into further studies; access to NQF level 2 courses at colleges or into the field of work, which they have been trained in and is demanded by the South African economy. The skills education programme is 75% practical and 25% theoretical; Language (English and IsiZulu), Mathematics and Life Skills remain compulsory.

In January 2017, Bokang was selected by the teachers to be a prefect at the Combined School. His polite manner, good behaviour and caring nature is evident to all who meet him. Whilst talking to Bokang about his experience at Sparrow, he politely excused himself, to run down the playground to help a Sparrow FET College student who was in a wheelchair and struggling to get up a ramp.

He continued to talking about his experience at the Combined School and his love of the new skills programme and the Civil Technology: (Woodworking & Timber) class.

‘It is such a nice school, I am proud to be perfect at Sparrow Schools.”

For more information on the new Sparrow Combined Technical Skills School call 011 673 3558.

 

Sparrow FET College makes dreams come true to a hopeful mechanic

Obakeng Namane grew up Thembisa and developed an interest in fixing cars in his community, which ultimately led to him pursuing a career in motor mechanics.

A friend told Obakeng about the opportunity to obtain a bursary to study at Sparrow FET College and he enrolled on the Automotive Repair & Maintenance programme in July 2016.

“Sparrow FET College is different from other colleges; it is a great opportunity to learn theory at the college and gain practical experience during the work placement.”

Obakeng is currently working at Ford in Kempton Park for his six month placement and is hoping to continue his studies to get the full qualification, ‘Light Vehicle Technician’ which will take four years to complete. Obakeng is hungry for knowledge and passionate about the field that he is in.

“I would like to start my own business so I can help and mentor high school children who are interested in working in the industry. I have started from the ground up and I have been given such an amazing opportunity through Sparrow FET to have a fully funded qualification in Automotive Repair and Maintenance.”

Obakeng continued emphasizing that he would love the company who supported his education to know that:

“You are changing a lot of people’s lives! I believe it starts with the community, which then builds on to change the nation. You should be proud of your investment – Thank you!”

National Skills Authority present Sparrow FET College ‘Best TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) Placement Programme Silver Award’ for 2014-2016

Sparrow FET College staff Melanie Malema (Sparrow FET College Operations Manager), Wellington Mpukuta (Training and Curriculum Development Manager) and Mary Webber (Sparrow FET College Client Liaison) receive award at the National Skills Conference.

Sparrow FET College were delighted to receive the prestigious award to recognise their work in vocational training of youth in South Africa. The award was announced during South Africa’s third National Skills Conference on 23rd March 2017. The conference was hosted  by the National Skills Authority (NSA) a department which falls under the Department for Higher Education and Training as part of a solution seeking mechanism to help address the current skills shortage needs in South Africa.

The title of the conference was ‘Skills development for an integrated and differentiated Post-School Education and Training system: Past, present and future.” The objective of the conference was to discuss and allow the different sectors including, private and government colleges, businesses partners and community based projects to provide input into the NSA commission for skills development in South Africa.

Key topics in the commission included:‘Turning every workplace into a training space’ and ‘Technical- vocational training development for the 21st century workplace’ with the aim to enhance the pathway of learners and artisans into the workplace. The conference was attended by over a thousand delegates and high profile speakers in the field of skills development including the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr B E Nzimande and the Deputy President – Hon C Ramaphosa.

“Let us ensure that the post-school system is aligned and geared to achieve the South African dream of total social and economic emancipation for all… skills development in South Africa must be aligned to the economic and political priorities of the country, namely the reduction of unemployment and poverty.” (Dr. B. Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and Training)

Click here to watch Sparrow FET College being interviewed on Morning Live

“Our affiliation  with the NSA is crucial; their mandate is to conduct research, implement and influence policy making pertaining to skills shortage in South Africa. Sparrow FET College is guided by the above by implement relevant training to address the skills shortage amongst the youth of our country and support the vision of “Its cool to be a  21st Century Artisan” Melanie Malema, Sparrow FET College Operations Manager.

What role and initiatives do you think business should play in higher education in order to increase access to post school education? Please leave your comments below.