Vernolia thriving in male dominated field

A lot has been written in the media about South Africa’s recent unemployment slump, most of it negative. According to employment data released by Statistics South Africa on 26 May 2015, the unemployment rate in the country soared to its highest level in over a decade. Unemployment in the first quarter of 2015 has risen to 26.4% and more than 20 million people are not economically active in the country.

According to earlier results from Stats SA, the youth continue to be the hardest hit by unemployment. Being the optimists that we are at Sparrow Schools we see opportunities in all difficulties. Through our partnership with industry we continue to champion the fight against unemployment and helping young people overcome difficult circumstances.

Vernolia hard at work

Vernolia hard at work

Sparrow FET Automotive Repair & Maintenance graduate, Vernolia Breede was forced to drop out of school when she fell pregnant at a young age. Things got worse for her when she was hit by the harsh realisation that she would have to raise her baby as a single mother. Realising that she cannot just sit at home and wallow in despair, she heard about Sparrow FET’s Automotive Repair & Maintenance program and enrolled in 2014.

Not only has Breede thrived in this male dominated automotive industry, she managed to be one of the two students from a group of 26, selected to serve as an Apprentice for Lazarus Motors.  “I grew up tough so coming into this industry and adapting was not much of an issue. I know that if a man can do it, I can do it too”, Breede confidently says.

Vernolia with Senior Technician Andries Els

Vernolia with Senior Technician Andries Els

Since joining Lazarus Motors in January 2015, Breede’s future looks promising. She has worked under different Technicians who all sing her praises. “She is really hard working and has improved a lot since joining us. Apart from the fact that I can trust her enough to work alone, I see bright future for her here,” says Lazarus Motors Technician, Andries Roos.

Breede’s life has improved dramatically since joining the Sparrow FET College. She adds, “looking at my baby grow up is also what motivates me and pushes me to be someone better.” She has her eyes on working her way up to becoming a Senior Adviser in the next 5 years.

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Vernolia with her team

Breede is one among many graduates who have risen above circumstance and turned their lives around. At Sparrow Schools, we aim to offer practical solutions to South Africa’s socio-economic challenges. We have programs and strategies which have proven to be effective in helping eradicate poverty and unemployment one step at time. We remain true to our mission to prepare children and youth living with learning difficulties to become income generators. We do this through comprehensive education and vocational skills training.