Sparrow College – a way forward

5 Feb

My life is one of remarkable blessing – currently completing my third year at varsity full-time for my second degree is a rare story that not everyone can to tell. Education is essential in our Country, South Africa and it needs to be a greater more poignant focus.

Towards the end of last year, I was invited to a VERY delicious luncheon (you’ll know how I love food) served by the student chefs at Sparrow College in the Johannesburg, Westrand. Let me just tell you that I got to learn a thing or two that day, especially about palate cleansers and I’m not talking about that wooden-thingy a doctor uses to check your throat! Delectable lemon sorbet! Enough said.

This FET (further education training) was established in 2011 and is the first FET College in South Africa for learners with barriers to learning. I was given an opportunity to interview an instructor whose passion lies in educating young people and equipping them with life skills, as well as one of the graduands who was full of life and grateful for the opportunity afforded to her. It was a place where young adults who have had trouble finding suitable employment are being equipped with necessary skills AND the chance to be put into a working environment that provides them with a sense of dignity rather than strife. Thanks so collaboration from Spar and a few Industry representatives, all these SETA accredited courses are offered in partnership with these Industry representatives, which offer the relevant insight, work experience and sometimes tuition funding for learners who are unable to meet the financial demands of the training.

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A perfect example of this mutually beneficial model is the Assistant Chef NQF Level 2 Bursary Program endorsed by SPAR. Sixteen candidates were enrolled on this nationally recognized program. Students started the fast-paced 17-week training program in basic food preparation and presentation. Following 9 weeks of intensive training at the college, students spend 8 weeks at a SPAR outlet as part of the required work experience. This fully funded program gives the learner an incredible opportunity; they are able to study at no cost, receive valuable work experience, with the possibility of full time employment with Spar once they have successfully completed their qualification. This places specialized training and employment within reach of individuals who would not have been able to access such opportunities without the participation of training providers and companies such as Sparrow FET and SPAR. One such individual is Palesa Majila, who was previously unemployed and is now based at a SPAR outlet, completing her workplace experience.

 

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Students are offered full qualifications and skills programmes in the following:

  • Furniture and Cabinet Making accredited by FP&M SETA
  • Automotive and Repair accredited by MERSETA
  • Welding accredited by MERSETA
  • Floorlaying with CETA
  • Catering with CATHSETA

On completion of the qualification our learners are awarded with a National Certificate. And that is very good news for someone looking for a hand-up rather than a hand-out. Well done Sparrow. Watch the video below and donate towards this great initiative, with a 26% youth unemployment rate, the vibrant youth of South Africa need all the help that they can get.

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