Sparrow FET College encourages females to enter a male dominated industry, especially in the Automotive Repair and Maintenance industry

Kagiso Confidence was brought up in a small village in Rustenburg called Moruleng. She was from a large family, the fourth of six children. Her mother worked at a hotel and her father was a truck driver. Although she came from a supportive, happy family, she recalled times of struggle in her childhood. Kagiso attended her local government school and enjoyed Maths and Science. She was interested in studying Engineering and initially started training at her local college in electrical engineering but had to stop her studies due to financial reasons. After six months of unemployment, Kaigso heard about the opportunity for free studies at Sparrow FET College through the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), based in the Rustenburg branch. After applying to study at Sparrow FET College, Kagiso was accepted onto the Automotive Repair and Maintenance Programme.

Initially concerned by the male dominated course, Kagiso commented:“The course was challenging but great! I learnt so much at Sparrow FET College, including the basics of wearing a uniform, being professional and time management.”

After completing six months at the College, Kagiso went on to work at Volkswagen and is now halfway through her six month practical placement.

“I am working so hard and remaining focused – there is so much to learn.’

Kagiso would like to remain at the company to complete an apprenticeship.

“Thank you so much for this opportunity that I would never have had if it were not for the funding available to provide me with the education and stipends; it has helped me so much! I hope you continue change other people’s lives too. I would welcome the opportunity to meet you myself to thank you.”

Kagiso with her fellow students from Rustenburg (seventh person in the photo).

FCA Group donates parts to the Sparrow FET College

On 03 March 2016, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Group donated brand new and unsold parts to the Automotive Repair & Maintenance class at the Sparrow FET College in Sophiatown, Johannesburg. The parts are estimated to be at the value of more than Two million rands.  These included mechanical and electrical Fiat, Chrysler and Jeep car parts, such as exhausts manifolds, fuel pump modules, brake discs, gear kits, and much more.

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“In 2015, we’ve looked at supplying these parts to schools that really need them as a way of giving back to the community. We are happy to have found Sparrow and we hope these will be of great benefit to the students,” says Richard Slowman, Accessories Manager for the FCA Group.

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The parts will go a long way to ensuring that the Sparrow FET College continues to provide quality education and training. “We thank the FCA Group for the donation, it is definitely going to be helpful. I’m sure that our students are going to reap the maximum benefits,” says the Sparrow FET College’s Operations Manager, Melanie Malema.

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The College has always thrived on the support of key industry partners such as the FCA Group. “We look forward to a long-standing relationship with the FCA Group,” adds Malema.  Through educating and training the youth the College is developing their capabilities for a better life. In order to realize this vision fully, the College needs help in different areas.

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The success of the vision relies on partnerships and collaboration with various institutions and organisations willing to provide funding or donations of any form. The Sparrow FET College is seeking to build partnerships with industry or corporates to improve the education and training of disempowered youth in South Africa with an objective of contributing to the larger objective of uplifting the country’s economy and the wellbeing of those marginalised in our society.

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Sparrow FET College making great strides

South Africa continues to be plagued by skills shortages partly due to our country’s inability to develop, utilize and retain enough human capital. The lack of investment in skills development has been identified as one of the critical restrictions to economic growth and employment creation by government.

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The scourge of skills shortages contributes to building social ills, leaving our country with high unemployment levels. Although South Africa is considered by many to be the Economic hub of Africa, a lack of skills shortages presents our country as one of the most unequal societies in the world.

Sparrow FET College together with its various industry partners continues to champion the fight against this lack of skills shortages. In 2014, the FET College continued in its pursuit to partner with different industry players including Spar, Pirtek, Belgotex, Imperial and many others to provide youth with critical and scarce skills.

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Through the past year, these partnerships have proved to be efficient in producing qualified artisans. Many of our graduates are now fulltime employees and some have been absorbed by our partners. The most notable successes were from the Automotive Repair & Maintenance, Assistant Chef and Power Fluid Hose Assembly programs. The aforementioned programs achieved employment successes of 81%, 69% and 68% respectively. Across all programs, we can prove that 60% of our graduates gain full-time employment.

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Credit must be given to the Sparrow Trust employees who played major role in ensuring these successes. This particularly includes the qualified FET facilitators who bring with them a wealth of experience. Most students who enrol into the FET come from disadvantaged backgrounds and bring with them a sense of disillusionment and find it hard to believe that they can succeed in life. This is where the quality of our facilitators comes into play. Because of the facilitators, a lot of the students gradually realise that there is still a fighting chance. “The trick is to not only focus on the study material because I have also taught these students the value that is respect. If you give them respect, this contributes to their self-esteem and self-worth. I try and put them in the employer’s shoes and ask themselves this question, ‘which employee do you think you would employ amongst yourselves?’ says Power Fluid Hose Assembly facilitator, Parker Shamiel.

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It is only through skills development that we are able to continue to successfully produce self-reliant young people. This helps provide South Africa’s economy with a competitive advantage over the rest of the world.