This is the value of studying at an FET college

This is the value of studying at an FET college

Furthering one’s education after primary and secondary tuition is almost indispensable today. When applying for jobs, potential employers are looking for candidates that are the most qualified and have garnered the most experience after school.

In this regard, FET colleges have an important role to play in providing training that gives candidates the best chance of securing a job after their studies.

What is an FET college?

FET (short for Further Education and Training) colleges like Sparrow FET College set out to arm students with vocational and occupational skills that translate to actual job opportunities after completing a industry-related course.

Depending on the college, it may offer various courses that are tailored to help students get a job after completing the course in question.

Some of the industries that courses centre on may include engineering, services, business, education, building construction and the automotive industry, among many others.

Courses may vary in duration, and can range from short courses of only a few hours long, to diplomas, which take a few months to complete.

Who can apply to study at an FET college?

Entrance requirements vary from institution to institution, but the general standard is that people applying to study at an FET college will have to have completed Grade 10 and be older than 16 years. At Sparrow FET College, candidates must be between 18 and 35 years of age.

How is a qualification acquired at an FET college useful?

Studying at an FET college prepares students for the job market by teaching industry-related skills that are sought-after by potential employers in the given industries.

Other than more traditional tertiary education models, the focus is on skills development at FET colleges, and not just on theoretical knowledge that underlies particular industries.

Studying at an FET college equips students with practical abilities that they will use in their given sector, and many FET colleges also provide students with workplace experience which puts these skills and abilities to the test.

This is also the case at Sparrow FET College. To find out more about the courses we offer, and to learn about our entrance requirements, contact Sparrow FET College today.


Use these 10 tips to compile a CV that’ll get you the job

Nowhere do the words, “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” ring more true than when it comes to your Curriculum Vitae.

There are definite dos and don’ts when compiling a CV, and you can be sure to create a good first impression with potential employers by doing these 10 things.

1. Compile a CV that suits the job you’re applying for

A CV isn’t a standard template that can be used to apply for any job, and you should always edit your CV to suit the job that you’re applying for.

List the skills and qualifications that are applicable to the position you are applying for, and use your cover letter to explain exactly why you’re suited for a particular job.

2. The most important information should come first

Your CV should follow a reverse chronological order, with your most recent qualifications and job experience listed first.

Make the heading your name, followed by your contact details. Then list your education history, also in reverse chronological order.

The most important part of your CV is your employment history: start with your current job and, listing everything backwards, describe the companies that you’ve worked for, as well as any achievements that are worth a mention.

3. Contact information is indispensable

Take care to include every way of reaching you or seeing what you do and what you’re about.

Include your address and contact numbers, email address and ID number, but don’t forget about a link to your profile on LinkedIn.

4. Don’t lie

Dishonesty is an absolute no-no when it comes to your CV. Fact-checking is easier than ever in an internet age where information is readily and instantly available. It’s pretty simple: be honest.

If you’re in two minds about including information that you think might be detrimental to your chances of getting a position, rather leave it out than twisting it to better suit the position you’re applying for – you will be caught out, and dishonesty will harm your reputation.

5. Keep it short and to the point

Only include information that is relevant to the job that you’re applying for, and don’t make your CV longer than two pages – a single page is even better.

6. Format the layout to guide the eye

Research by the Nielsen Norman Group has shown that our eyes follow an F-pattern when reading content on the web. Considering web content is the staple reading material of most people, try to make the layout of your CV adhere to this pattern by starting of with the most important information at the top and using information-carrying words in your headings.

Keep the style short: people will be scanning your CV rather than reading it in detail – you want to make sure they get the information they need.

7. Make sure your spelling and grammar is flawless

Even the tiniest error in spelling or grammar will be off-putting to potential employers – especially if you say that you are attentive to detail.

Read your CV, read it again, and have someone else who has good language skills read through it, too, to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

8. Make it unique

Recruiters and potential employers sometimes receive hundreds and even thousands of CV’s the moment a job is posted online.

Research has shown that employers often take only 6 seconds to scan a CV and decide whether a candidate is viable or not. If your CV looks a little different than the rest in terms of formatting, style and colour, you might just force an employer to take a little more time and get the gist of who you are.

The internet has an abundance of examples of ideas to make your CV unique, but still keep it professional.

You want to stand out before you’re even invited for an interview – this is the preface to being the standout candidate during the interview process.

9. Use the right keywords

Try to avoid clichés like saying that you have “excellent communication skills” or are “goal-driven” and “detail-oriented”.

These are overused and tired, and every second person has these characteristics, if CVs are anything to go by. Use language that puts a positive slant on what you do, like saying that you are innovative, reliable and adaptable.

When describing what a specific position entailed, use pro-active descriptions like: “Improved sales by implementing an improved strategy to bolster manufacturing”. Use specific examples of where you’ve excelled at your current and previous positions.

10. Don’t use a photo

Whether we like it or not, people do judge a book by its cover. If people want to know what you look like, they’ll look you up on social media. It isn’t necessary to include a photo with your CV – rather focus on those attributes that are not physical.

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to make your CV look good – check out free resources and templates on websites like Canva to pimp your CV. Happy job hunting!


5 top time-management tips

Good time management is an essential skill that is beneficial at any stage of our lives. While you are still studying, good time management will help you to use the time you have for assignments in the best way, and cementing these skills will help you to work more efficiently once you enter the working class.

Here are five ways to hone your time-management skills.

1.Understand when you work best

Some people perform at their best first thing in the morning, while others only pick up steam later in the day. Examine your days to see when you are usually at your most productive and schedule tasks accordingly. In a work environment, you may not always be able to schedule tasks in this way, but understanding when you work best will help you to anticipate those times when working efficiently can become more of a challenge, allowing you to get the most done during times of optimal productivity.

2. Plan

Planning ahead means that you can focus on the task at hand and avoid having to squeeze an unmanageable amount of to-do’s into a limited time span. Scheduling tasks helps you to know what is on the cards each day, while leaving time for any unexpected additional tasks that pop up. Decide whether planning the month or week ahead works best for you, or whether you’d prefer setting out tasks a day in advance. No planning at all leads to shambles – avoid this at all costs.

3. Schedule interruptions

When doing your planning for the week, month or day, keep in mind that there are bound to be things that will interrupt your flow. Keep the highly productive times in your day and those times that are typically not as productive in mind, and actively plan for interruptions during times when you are not working at your most productive pace.

4. Get rid of distractions

Nothing kills productivity like distractions, and these days, they are everywhere. Be strict in sticking to your schedule, and remove anything that may interrupt your train of thought – except during times when you’ve planned for interruptions, of course. Put away your phone, close your internet browser and reply to that email once you’re done with what you’re busy with. Flow is a result of prolonged focus, but being distracted by social media, messages and emails is self-sabotage of the highest order.

5. Keep your end-goal in mind

Whether you are still studying or have already embarked on your professional journey, you are always working towards personal and professional goals. Remember that classes, training and the nine-to-five are preparing you for the higher ambitions you have for your career and your life. Working efficiently to achieve your goals is never a waste of time.


What Sparrow FET College offers

Sparrow FET College was founded in 2010 with the vision of addressing the skills deficit in South Africa through a specialised vocational training education model. At Sparrow FET College, three pillars form the structure of our training programmes: theory, practice and real-world application.

Together with industry, Sparrow FET College aim to provide learners with internships that prepare them for future employment in their chosen career.

We take great care to guide learners through every step of the process. A registered psychometrist assesses students and makes recommendations about which programmes would be best suited to them, while job coaches are on hand at both the placement stages and when learners are fully employed. This helps learners to adjust to the reality of full-time employment, while still having someone they know at hand, should they need advice or assistance.

Sparrow FET College offers a number of accredited programmes across a range of industries:

• Construction


Installation of Floor Coverings: Construction Floor Coverer (Carpeting) NQF Level 1

• Engineering


Welding Application & Practice: Manufacturing & Engineering: NQF Level 2 – NLRD 58534

Skills Programme

Fluid Power Hose Assembling Skills Phase 1 & Unit Standard 244709 & 259604 (NQF Level 2/3)

• Hospitality


Professional Cookery: NQF Level 4

Skills Programme

Assistant Chef: NQF Level 2

• Manufacturing Furniture


Further Education & Training Certificate: Early Childhood Development NQF Level 4, and
Higher Certificate: Early Childhood Development NQF Level 5

• Information and Technology


Information Technology: End User Computing NQF Level 3

• Sports Coaching


Sports Coaching: NQF Level 4

• Business Administration


Business Administration: NQF Level 3

Programmes vary in duration, and the requirements for programmes are not all the same. To find out more about our accredited programmes and to apply, contact Sparrow FET College. Applications are open all year round.


5 essential tips to ace your next interview

Interviews are nerve-wracking at the best of times, and even the most seasoned interviewees will be well acquainted with the feeling of trepidation that precedes an opportunity to impress potential employers.

Here are five sure-fire ways to ace your next interview.

1. Know the company and the industry

Knowledge is power, states the adage, and this is also applicable, come interview time. Do thorough research about the company you’re applying to, and also make sure you understand the industry that you want to work in. The internet is a great resource here: most companies have a presence on the internet and on social media, so you shouldn’t struggle to find enough information to get the gist of what the company does and what it stands for. Industry-related information gives you an edge, as you’ll be able to understand the questions you are asked, and ask the right questions in return.

2. Come prepared with selling points

Going into an interview, you’ll be one candidate among a host of others. What will distinguish you from the rest is not just the skills and abilities you can bring to the position, but also the your attitude and enthusiasm about the position you are applying for. Interviewers typically screen the list of candidates based on their skillset, so you’d do well to anticipate any reservations they may have about hiring you. Have your defence at the ready, and clarify why you are the best candidate, based on your skills, but also on positive personality traits that would be beneficial to the company you are applying to.

3. Have answers prepared for common interview questions

Certain questions will always pop up in an interview. Research common interview questions that may be applicable, considering your age, employment status and experience, and practice these questions before your interview. While you should always be polite, it is important to be assertive and to highlight your selling points as you are faced with questions. Practicing with a friend before your interview will go a long way in boosting your confidence.

4. Have your own questions ready

Prepare questions that you can ask the interviewer that will show your preparation and understanding of the company and its workings, as well as giving an idea of your knowledge of the industry. Intelligent questions will make you stand out from the rest – no questions at all will make you seem passive and unprepared.

5. Use the “Tell me about yourself” question to your advantage

This very common interview question can be used to highlight previous experience, and to explain how your skills can be advantageous to the company you are applying to. Avoid going into too much personal detail, and rather say something like “I could tell you many things, but I’d like to expand a little about the three/ four things that I’d most like you to know about me.”

Expand by using examples: “At my previous company/ During my studies, I [example of a selling point].”

As this question is typically asked at the beginning of an interview, you are using the first few minutes to not just tell the interviewer more about yourself, but also to give them a good idea of how having you around would be beneficial to the company.

Most of all, good preparation will help you to be confident from the get-go, and confidence is a quality that will help your potential employer to remember you. A positive attitude goes a long way, and self-confidence easily translates to aptitude.


Helping lower South Africa’s unemployment rate one student at a time

With the current unemployment rate at 27.2 percent, according to Statistics South Africa, the
number of South Africans actively seeking employment remains one of the biggest challenges our
country is facing.

This year will again see thousands of matriculants completing school, but not meeting the admission
requirements of attending a tertiary education facility. Some will be able to hone their skills at
Further Education and Training Colleges, which offer an alternative to traditional tertiary
institutions, and this is where corporate companies can play a major role by investing in the
development of students to become employable within their organisations.
One such institution that has taken the initiative to address the burden of unemployment is the Sparrow
FET College located in Sophiatown, Johannesburg. It offers students skills development programmes
that enable them with the tools to enter the formal job market or becoming self-employed

The college partners with reputable corporate companies who have identified skills shortages within their own organisations or industries and together they train the youth in much-needed skills that
will see them become employable within the organisations.
Each programme has been designed to deliver high-impact training in employable skills such as hospitality, automotive repair, welding and end-user computing.
All these SETA accredited courses are offered in partnership with industry representatives, who offer the relevant insight, work experience and sometimes tuition funding for learners who are unable to meet the financial demands of the training.

Over the last five years, one thousand, one hundred and eight students have graduated from
Sparrow FET College and 60-65% of these students have been placed into active employment
positions throughout the country.

Sparrow FET College is not only offering vocational training to its students and unlocking the door to
employment, but is also helping businesses achieve BEE compliance.

To find out more information about Sparrow FET College or how your business can get involved call
011 673 4419 or 011 482 1015


Minke Molenaar

We hear from Minke Molenaar, a social worker from the Netherlands who has been
volunteering at Sparrow Foundation School to support the grade 7s with Social
Development Class. Minke specialises in counselling families with children who have
developmental, learning and behaviour problems.

“Last year, I started at Sparrow School delivering Social Skills Workshops with grade
6. This developed into a ‘social development programme’ for all students in grade 7,
with a focus on social, and executive skills. Social skills are the skills people use in
contact with others, in contrast, executive skills are the skills that help people to get
things done; both are important skills that enable Sparrow students to succeed in
learning tasks and social life.


Last term the learners worked on topics such as:
Expressing emotions,
Problem solving and planning.

“My focus in working with the students is to create a positive environment and offer
them opportunities to succeed based on their needs and where they are at now. In
class, we work in small groups to give the students the opportunity to express
themselves, have group discussions and work together as a team during fun,
interactive, hands-on activities. “

“For example, ‘The Marshmallow challenge’ was an activity, where the students had
to show their planning, problem solving and teamwork skills by build a tower, using
only 20 sticks of spaghetti, one piece of string, one piece of tape and two
marshmallows. This was a challenging, but fun activity for the learners!’

“As grade 7 learners are nearing to the end of their time at the Foundation School,
we are focusing this term on planning, organizational skills, time management and
learning skills to prepare the students for their transition to the next school level.”

Thank you Minke for all your great work at Sparrow!

If you would like to volunteer at Sparrow, then we would love to hear from you. We
have lots of volunteer opportunities from Practical one day projects to reading once a
week with our learners to support literacy at Sparrow. Email to find out


Sparrow Athletes shine in competitions around Johannesburg

Sparrow Foundation School had a busy term, travelling all over Johannesburg
to take part in school athletic competitions. The events took place at Crawford
School, Lonehill (1st August); Bryneven School, Bryanston (15th August and
22nd August) and Fairways School, Illovo (5 th September).

The teachers also enjoyed the competitions, as they got to witness the
children from Sparrow gaining confidence and having fun whilst participating in various athletic events.

This was a great opportunity for Sparrow learners to be exposed to different schools and facilities in Johannesburg.

Although all Sparrow children were amazing in the races, Sparrow recognised two talented leaners: Ishobalam Sithole who came second in all 80M sprints in all of the different competitions, and Bryan Molemogi, who came first in all of the middle distance runs.

Thank you to Mr Thabiso for giving the Sparrow learners the opportunity to
visit all the different schools in Johannesburg for Athletics competitions.

If you would like to support our learner’s education, then we would love to hear from you! Take part in our Educate-A-Child Programme and sponsor a class at R1 500 per month, or a child’s education for as little as R100 per month. By becoming involved with the Educate-A-Child programme, you can help us to improve the education and training of disempowered youth in South Africa,
contributing to the larger objective of uplifting the country’s economy and the wellbeing of those marginalised in our society.


Grade 2 children at Sparrow Schools participate in the Eco Brick Campaign.

Sparrow Schools’ learners took part in a sustainability project to teach children
about the importance of waste and recycling through Eco Bricks…

You may be thinking…
‘What on earth is an ‘Eco Brick’?!

An Eco Brick is an empty plastic bottle that is packed tightly with non-recyclable materials, primarily plastic, until it becomes a strong, durable building block. This is a great way for up-cycling building materials cheaply and has been used to create schools, nurseries and homes in the community.


Recycling is one of the best ways to have a positive impact in the world in which we live in. The amount of waste we are using is increasing. This campaign is an important issue globally, not just in South Africa. Research claims that by 2050, there will be more plastic straws in the ocean than fish.

Sparrow’s Eco Brick campaign took place throughout August, whereby children collected plastic bottles and filled them with non-biodegradable plastic waste.


The Eco Brick project was a wonderful way to teach children about recycling and
how to use waste for a good cause. The children were amazed that it could be
used to build a house!

Amy van der Berg, Sparrow Schools’ Research and Proposal Developer, headed the project to highlight the importance of recycling at Sparrow.
“We must teach our children the value of leaving things in a better condition than when they found them.”

Thank you to all of the children who were involved in collecting plastic bottles to create eco bricks and supporting building materials for people in need.


If you would like to read more about how Sparrow Schools is also helping other
charities, read last week’s blog:

Sparrow supports local charities in Johannesburg


Sparrow supports local charities in Johannesburg

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what
difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the
significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela

Last month, Sparrow Schools Educational Trust was blessed with support from various companies and individuals contributing their 67 minutes and more on Mandela Day, to celebrate his 100 th birthday (read the story here). This month, Sparrow decided to also do what they can to pay it forward by giving back to the community and donating 100 soccer balls to various charities around Johannesburg. These charities included: Stitches for Africa, Kindness Like Confetti, Slovo Centre of Excellence and Feed Thy Kids.


Jackie Gallagher, founder of Sparrow Schools has instilled the ethos of collaboration and helping others, not just at Sparrow, but local charities in the area, so that “charities support charities” through collaboration and support.

“On behalf of the charity organisations that I support, thank you so much for the soccer balls that were donated,” said Teresa Richards, charity consultant and founder of Charity Fusion.

If you would like to celebrate the spirit of Mandela Day throughout the year with Sparrow, then get in touch! There are many ways you can support and change the lives of children with learning difficulties, including volunteering or signing up to our ‘Educate A Child’ programme.


“Giving is the highest expression of potency…Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.” Erich Fromm