Tag Archives: Sparrow FET College

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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FET student promoted to Assistant Store Manager

As the South African unemployment rate rose to 25.5% in the third quarter of 2015, the Sparrow FET College continues to produce stories of hope. The FET College has managed to defy the odds against tough economic conditions.

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After failing his matric, Shadrack Dhlangamandla, like many disillusioned youth in South Africa, started feeling like his future was doomed. That was until a friend recommended the Installation of Floor Coverings program at the Sparrow FET College. After passing his assessment, he was enrolled into the Floor Installation Coverings program in January 2014.

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He underwent six months training at the College and was placed at Turner Peirson in Booysens, Johannesburg. After displaying massive commitment, Turner Peirson employed him as a Fitter in July 2015. “I’m happy that I enrolled into the program, it gave me hope that I can still do something with my life,” Shadrack explains.

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Hardly six months in, the 21 year old has been promoted to Assistant Store Manager.  “Since he arrived here, he has been very enthusiastic; he is eager and has very good nature,” says Turner Peirson’s Quantity Surveyor, Mario Selibas. Sounding quite excited, Shadrack adds, “I was a very hard worker, I knew what I wanted and I’m very excited that they chose me.”

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Growing up with a single mother taking care of five children, Shadrack has never had it easy.  His commitment and determination is motivated by the need to step in as the second bread winner at home. “I’m happy about that experience that I have gained and I am also happy that I can help my mother at home,” Shadrack says.

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The Sparrow FET College is committed to ensuring that young people gain access to quality training and education, providing them with ability to create a livelihood for themselves and their families. This is made possible through developing and strengthening partnerships with industry payers like Turner Peirson, who give these young people real world experience and opportunities.

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Floor laying students give back

On 28 October 2015, the Sparrow FET College’s Installation of Floor Coverings students carried out their practical training at the Dorcas Crèche orphanage in Westbury. Besides helping equip the students with work experience, the exercise was also a way of giving back to the community. The orphanage consists of two homes, a crèche and a church.

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This project was initiated when a Women of Vision representative, Mrs. Teresa Richards, approached the Flooring Industry Training Association (FITA) requesting that carpets be installed at their Dorcas Crèche and Church in Westbury. Women of Vision are a non-profit organisation dedicated to implementing sustainable programs within communities where violence, substance abuse and unemployment are prevalent.  Women of Vision are inspired by the following quotation by Mother Teresa, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.  But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

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This achievement was made possible through the generous contributions made by Allan De Wit from Belgotex Carpets, Richard Barrow from Turner Peirson, and Neil Duncan from  Kevin Bates. The Sparrow FET College is delighted to partner with these prestigious leaders in the flooring industry.

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This was not the first time that the Sparrow FET College students have shown their commitment to giving back to the community while upskilling themselves in the process. The students have installed carpets at various centres including the Mmabana Day Care, Westbury Day Care, Hillbrow Sports Facility and the Hillbrow Day Care in Johannesburg.

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Young Chef on the rise

South Africa continues to be plagued by youth unemployment and more young people are being locked out of the country’s education system due to a lack of finances. As demonstrated by recent events, young people are growing impatient as they continue to be barred from enjoying the fruits of the country’s young democracy. After completing her matric in 2010, Segomotso Phitlho was faced with a dilemma experienced by many, figuring out what she would do with her life and how she was going to further her studies and finance them.

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In 2011, instead of pursuing her ambitions and furthering her studies, not by choice, Phitlho like many others sought a job in retail just to make ends meet. Things did not get any easier for her in 2013, after falling pregnant and having no idea how she was going to raise her baby.  After getting a recommendation by a friend, Phitlho found her breakthrough and registered for a funded Assistant Chef program at the Sparrow FET College in 2014.

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Phitlho underwent training at the College and was placed at a Spar outlet after 3 months to gain workplace experience. After the duration of her training at Spar came to a conclusion, due to her resilience and determination, she was absorbed into the Spar as a permanent employee. “I am very grateful for the opportunity that I got through Sparrow, being there has built me as person, my self-esteem has improved and my life now has direction,” Phitlho says.

After spending some time at Spar, Phitlho decided it was time to spread her wings and go out on her own. With her head held high, she walked into Southern Sun, Monte Casino. After spending just 3 weeks in training, Phitlho was soon promoted to Commis-Chef.  “Phitlo was one of those people that came in here seeking work but I saw something different in her. Her confidence the minute we started talking really stood out you know, which is a trait that you need in this kind of environment. I honestly believe that if she remains focused, she has the potential to really go far in her career,” says Southern Sun Head Chef, Jade Sullaphen.

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Phitlho’s story does not end here. “There are a lot of things I still want to achieve, I’m planning on studying further and taking my specialties to the world and I have my eyes set on Dubai,” says Phitlo emphatically. This is one among many stories that the Sparrow FET College continues to produce through our effective and market-leading training models.

Investing in Early Childhood Development

On 20 November 2014, the Sparrow FET College in partnership with Brainwave Careers officially launched the Early Childhood Development (ECD) program for those who want to enter the field of Education, Training and Development, specifically within the sub-field of Early Childhood Development. The aim of the programme is to formally recognise those who are already practicing in this field but do not have any formal recognition.

ECD candidates doing a class activity
ECD candidates doing a class activity

The program further aims to “develop the appropriate skills and knowledge required by a person for the establishment and development of a small to medium business venture, and addresses the economic, administrative and behavioral (psycho-social)barriers that contribute to success in starting and sustaining the venture.” After the success of the first intake, the program has had some notable successes.

Starting with only 3 children in January 2015, Millicent Boa, a former ECD candidate, opened a day care which now caters for 25 children in her hometown, Glenridge, Soweto.  Boa attributes much of her success to the ECD programme, “The ECD programme taught me a lot about children and how to handle them with care. I learnt that there are four things which are very crucial in a child’s development. These are, ‘patience, nutrition, self-esteem and the parents’ involvement.”

Boa at her day care
Boa at her day care

Being just eight months old there is increasing demand for Boa’s day care in the community. She started the day care in her mother’s house, running it with both her sister and mother.  Due to the high demand for her services and her mother’s house getting smaller to house all 25 of the children, construction has already started at the backyard of her mother’s house where she will accommodate more children. We spoke to one parent who sings high praises of the day care. “I can really see the difference between this crèche and the last one that my son attended. I can see it in his behavior when he comes back from crèche, he is happier and can tell me about his experiences from crèche, that never used to happen,” says parent, Carol Phakathi.

Carol Phakathi with her son, Siyabonga Phakathi.
Carol Phakathi with her son, Siyabonga Phakathi.

After the success of the first intake of the programme ran by the Sparrow FET College and Brainwaves, the College has recruited a sought after facilitator in Tessa Wolfaardt to facilitate the second intake. Starting off as a primary school teacher, Wolfaardt has over 15 years’ experience in the industry. She penned one of the first ever ECD manuals in the country.

After taking a break to go and pursue other ambitions, Woldfaardt got back into the ECD field due to a high demand of her experience by different institutions. Her mission now is to pass on her wealth of experience to those coming after her through the ECD programme at the FET College. “I want these learners to walk away from this programme having developed in every aspect of their lives. That will lead to them passing that on to the children they will care for. South Africa is lacking behind, early childhood development is extremely beneficial for children in need of proper care,” Wolfaardt explains.

Lydia Munyai
Lydia Munyai

Lydia Munyai, 39, is one of the candidates in the current programme. Munyai who is a mother herself, joined the programme after losing her job and sitting at home unemployed for months. “I joined the programme because i’m planning my own creche. When I first started in the programme I took childcare for granted. I have children of my own and I always thought that raising children was just about the security. Because of this progamme I now know that there is more to it, there’s a lot to consider about a child’s developmental process,” Munyai says.

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Melanie Malema driving change

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have,” Magaret Mead. Since joining Sparrow Schools in 2002 and realising the huge divide in South Africa’s education system, New Business Development Manager at Sparrow Schools, Melanie Malema has made great strides bringing meaningful change to the lives of young persons.

Malema developed interest in the social space in the year 2000 when she was approached by a church in Bryanston, Johannesburg. She was invited to run and manage a home that was established for boys who were living on the streets. These boys faced various social issues such as drug abuse and did not attend school.  This is when she came across Sparrow Schools which was the perfect fit for such boys.

Her drive for uplifting and empowering young persons continued and led her to helping develop the Sparrow FET College in 2010. She embarked on an exploratory mission doing research and finally witnessing the registration of the college as a credible training provider that offers SETA accredited courses.

“The Sparrow FET College trains young people in short skills that have been jointly identified with industry. This model provides industry with a pipeline of young entry level candidates who wish to embark on a particular trade,” explains Malema. The identification of relevant companies is crucial to the training as this is where learners gain their practical work experience and ultimately leads to full time employment.

The partnership between the learner, The Sparrow FET College and industry has proven to be an effective model in producing qualified candidates in areas of short skills and successfully contributing towards the eradication of unemployment in the country.

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Grand Opening of RYCO South Africa

On 14 August 2015, hydraulics giant, RYCO opened its very first office and warehouse in South Africa. The launch in Midrand provided two of the Sparrow FET College students in the Fluid Power Hose Assembly programme with hands-on workplace interaction with industry experts. Furthermore, with networking in mind and being surrounded with industry leaders, our students got to speak to several guests concerning job openings, learnership and internship opportunities as well as basic knowledge sharing.

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Apart from the scrumptious light meals made by two of the Sparrow FET College Assistant Chef students, another spectacle was a piece of machinery called RYCO APS which has been recently imported from Australia. The machine is 4 meters in length and 40 meters in height. It stores all the equipment including couplings, fitters, hoses, and very user friendly. As described by the RYCO personnel, “it is a warehouse on its own” which ideally reduces human error in the sense that a client will be handed the correct item. It is also time-efficient, user-friendly and saves space.

The APS Machine
The APS Machine

In addition, the students were accompanied by the FET’s New Business Manager, Melanie Malema and job coaches Kholofelo Mokwele and Mary Webber to inform the special guests more about our Fluid Power Hose Assembly skills programme.

The Sparrow FET College continues to assist students by not only providing quality education but also a gateway to the workplace which asserts our statement of continuing to inspire action and changing lives.

Words by Motlhabane Modupe.

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No money is no excuse

Sparrow Schools Educational Trust takes pride in being able to continually provide effective solutions to resolving South Africa’s education crisis, helping eradicate poverty and unemployment. Although the country still faces serious challenges, great strides have been made to ensure that there is equal opportunity for all. However, South Africa faces another hurdle in its pursuit for equality for all, Gender Discrimination.

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According to statistics published by the South African Revenue Service, “women earn nearly a third less than men on average in South Africa.” Women are faced with the challenge of having to do twice the work to prove their worthiness. The patriarchal status quo continues to be the hindering factor in many South African women’s lives.

However, just as South Africans fought to put an end to an unjust Apartheid system, the fight against gender discrimination is very much alive. Some young women are choosing to break down gender stereotypes and refuse to be victims. Emily Phepheng, is just one of many young women who have had to overcome great hurdles.

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The young woman from Limpopo fell victim to a tale old as time. Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, boy and girl fall in love, girl falls pregnant and the father avoids responsibility. Phepheng fell pregnant at 20 years and the father left her to fend for herself. “I remember how difficult it was, I was young and I did not know how I was going to handle it,” Phepheng says.

Instead of taking the easy road and wallowing in despair, Phepheng enrolled at the Sparrow FET College for a Fluid Power Hose Assembly Skills Program. Despite the hydraulics industry being male dominated, Phepheng is on a mission to break down the stereotype. Her persistence and dedication earned her the title as class captain from a class dominated by males.

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Now 27 years old and a single mother of 2, she is now a permanent employee at hydraulics company, Alfagomma. She remains unfazed and continues to conquer the gender stereotypes. Her motivation comes from wanting to inspire her peers, moving them to take a stand and conquer their fears. “Do not focus on not having money, I went to Sparrow and got more information and here I am now,” Phepheng stresses.

The next milestone in Phepheng’s books is to get into logistics and take her career a step further. Speaking on how her life has changed since joining Sparrow, she explains, “I can now focus on more important things, I can focus on my kids and take care of them. I am a much more responsible mother.”

In respect of women’s month, we will continue to profile women whose lives have been changed. We will also be profiling the women playing crucial roles in ensuring that Sparrow Schools Educational trust continues to inspire action and change lives.

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Spar program overview

“Creating a better world requires teamwork, partnerships, and collaboration, as we need an entire army of companies to work together to build a better world within the next few decades. This means corporations must embrace the benefits of cooperating with one another,” Simon Mainwaring.

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Through partnership with industry, Sparrow FET College continues to make great strides in ensuring that its vision and mission of equipping youth with skills is realised. The FET College strives to build strong partnerships with members and representatives from various industries.

Through these partnerships, the College is able to offer bursary programs and learnership opportunities to students who would normally not be able to further their education.

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On 24 June 2015, The FET College hosted Store Supervisors and managers from various Spar outlets across the country for a Professional Cookery program overview. The program is designed to provide SPAR with a recruitment pool of suitably trained youth; the program trains the student towards the completion of the Professional Cookery @ NQF level 4.

The day kicked off with the visitors being served welcome drinks and canapés by the students. Job Coach, Mary Webber, then proceeded to the nitty gritty’s of the whole purpose of the session, going through logbooks, clarifying roles of both the supervisors, managers and the students._DSC0209

From there, the visitors got an opportunity to meet and interact with the Professional Cookery students. The students also got the opportunity to showcase their skills and treated the visitors to lunch prepared by them.

The relationship between the College and Spar continues to enjoy much success with the Assistance Chef program achieving a 69% employment rate. The success of the College’s vision and mission to provide young South Africans with a livelihood relies on these sorts of partnerships. These kinds of collaborative initiatives provide an opportunity to improve the lives of dis-empowered young South Africans. They contribute to the larger objective of uplifting the country’s economy and the well-being of those marginalized 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.