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.

“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

 

Sparrow FET College supports Skills Development in South Africa

According to the Financial Mail, the South African Marketing, Advertising & Communications industry is under pressure to help address black unemployment in the country by complying with the recently amended BBBEE codes.  One of the changes is that more points are now awarded to Advertising companies under the “skills development” element of BEE than for other sectors.

Skills development is vital if we are going to tackle SA’s high youth unemployment levels, which is the most pressing issue in the country today.

The good news is institutions like Sparrow FET College, can offer solutions across all angles to help your business comply and achieve BEE points for skills development. We are passionate about the issue and helping up skill SA youth so we would welcome the opportunity to chat with your company to see how we can help tackle youth unemployment together.

Have a look at our website or our Sparrow FET College’s Facebook page for more information.

To read the article: ‘BEE reality hits marketers’ click on the link: http://www.financialmail.co.za/mediaadvertising/2016/05/26/bee-reality-hits-marketers

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.