Ekurhuleni West TVET College Students Get Set For First Impressions in ReadytoWork

March 2017

Absa responded to the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's 'adopt a TVET college' plea by partnering with Ekurhuleni West TVET College on the 'ReadytoWork' initiative. The Deputy President has called on companies across all sectors of the economy to adopt a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college to help with skills development and job creation.

ReadytoWork programme is an Absa Corporate Social Investment project aimed at equipping young people with the skills required to transit from a world of education into a world of work. The programme focuses on the four key areas of people skills, work skills, money skills and entrepreneurship skills. Students can work through the online programme at their own pace, or as part of a more structured programme, supported by trained facilitators and additional resources. The programme develops youth in phases of:

  • Preparing to look for work,
  • Searching for a job, and
  • Starting, settling in and excelling at work.

To prepare students the ReadytoWork programme has a ReadytoWear initiative that collects and distributes corporate apparel to exit level students. The attire is donated by the corporation's employees across the country to help participants to look the part for their first job interviews, thus boosting their confidence and increasing their chances in making a positive first impression.

Fifty students from the college's Boksburg Campus benefited from the concept. After completion of the above-mentioned skills training, students were presented with certificates by the Bank’s executives at an event held to launch the ReadytoWear relationship between the financial institution and the college. The event was also used to enrol more students on to the ReadytoWork initiative.

Speaking at the event held in March 2017, the college principal Ms Hellen Ntlatleng acknowledged efforts made by participants and organizers in backing skills development and transfer. She described the day as one that marks a milestone of significance to the strategic partnership.

"We value this strategic partnership because of its uniqueness in nature and the impact it will be making on the college, community, and the country. I'm humbled by the humility at the time taken to have with us. This remains a vision of the Human Resource Development Council, chaired by the Deputy President of the country. The ReadytoWork programme comes in handy to us, as we have been trying to emulate the employability skills programs form our partners in the United Kingdom. We do admit we have been struggling to fine-tune it. It comes at a time where we need it the most. We sometimes release students out there only to embarrass ourselves due to limited readiness in preparations. This partnership will set them ready to get a grip of what employers want," she said.

She further highlighted that students find it hard to cope when they think that because they have been certificated, all they need is a desk in an office to start working. She agreed that it was a fair assumption that normal teaching and training in the classroom and simulation centres do not fully prepare graduates for the world of work. "Industry is well positioned to execute this training because they know exactly what the expectations are. Through our imagination, our vision as the college has to be expanded into becoming a leading TVET College in Southern Africa. If you cannot imagine it, you cannot do it."

EWC Principal, Ms Hellen Ntlatleng (left), and Absa Head of Public Sector, Mr Fiks Dlamini (right), speaking at the ReadyToWork launch event, March 2017.

Absa Head of Public Sector – Business Banking, Mr Fiks Dlamini addressed students with enthusiasm. He said their dress sense shows determination and readiness. "It makes us proud to see you all dressed up in corporate wear. It makes you confident and look the part. Looking good makes you feel good. Our small gestures will provide assistance in handling and nailing your upcoming job interviews as looking good makes one feel good. The world of work needs ready and confident people. Seeing you here today. I am reminded of my first vacation job interview where I had no idea of how to present myself until my father came to the rescue, fortunately.

"As a company we subscribe to the culture of share growth, which means business cannot succeed if its communities are not successful. It means, as a business, we are committed to delivering client and customer solutions that address future needs," said Mr Dlamini.

ReadytoWear is one small aspect of the banking giant's show of commitment as a proper South African citizen. This programme compliments the ReadytoWork initiative. Ekurhuleni West TVET College is one of the two Public TVET Colleges that the corporation has partnered with on the project. The partnership dictates that students of these colleges will undergo two weeks on the job training. Four EWC students had already been placed on the ReadytoWork programme in 2016, and were paid stipends.

The College Council Chairperson, Dr Mpho Mohlala, did not mince his words when tendering a vote of thanks to the corporation and participants. He said, "We thank Absa leadership greatly for recognizing that there is an urgent need to grow the persona of our youth, organizations, and our communities. We still yearn for more initiatives, and in you, we believe there is more to be done together."




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