ADvTECH's CSI projects are diversified beyond awarding bursaries and are chosen so that we can provide others with what we do best: education and training in a range of settings. Brands also engage in many other activities to benefit others.
Group Head Office
During the first quarter of 2014 ADvTECH staff members donated stationery to the three selected Head Office beneficiaries: Alexandra Star Child Care Crèche, Pholosho Primary School and Minerva Secondary School. At the same time an invitation to participate in skills development training was extended to educators, SGB Members and administration staff at the beneficiary schools. Each of the schools has different needs so Head Office is looking at key areas, like finance training and school governance, to assist management teams.
With partners Tracker and Cell C, Head Office welcomed twenty Grade 12 boys and girls from Minerva Secondary School to participate in a work experience and career coaching programme. ADvTECH staff led the process and arranged training activities for these learners throughout the year. In addition 585 books were donated and packaged for needy children and were delivered to partnership beneficiaries.
A significant element of ADvTECH's approach to CSI is creativity and the IIE's blankets for abandoned babies project is a classic example of this. The CAT team came up with the idea of knitting squares to be sewn together for baby blankets. The original target of 21 blankets for Mandela Day was ultimately doubled because of the enthusiasm of the men and women at the IIE and the contribution from the larger ADvTECH family. A very real benefit to the participants was the sense of working together to create something tangible to help children in need. The beneficiaries of the finished blankets were El Shammah Home for Abandoned Babies, Baby Haven, Strathyre Girls Home and Golden Gate Baby shelter.
All brands in Schools division contribute to ADvTECH's three pillars of Corporate Social Investment: education, sustainability and employability.
Junior Colleges (JC)
Even the younger children at ADvTECH schools get involved in community engagement activities. Both the elderly and the sick benefited from visits by children from JC Castillian and JC Luthuli.
Junior College staff responded to a request for help with management and administrative training and shared their expertise in early childhood development with a number of the teachers at Star Child Care Crèche in Alexandra.
Much of effective CSI is about forming good relationships. Crawford North Coast Grade 11 students, through play and reading, bonded with abandoned children in an "Adopt-a-kid" programme. Other Crawford students in Johannesburg also connected with Grade 8 pupils in a peer-to-peer mathematics teaching programme in several Soweto schools.
Another good example of the benefits of forming good relationships is the partnership between Crawford Pretoria and Tshwane Secondary School - a project that began in 2012 and continued into 2014. Crawford Pretoria aimed to assist Tshwane to achieve a hundred percent pass rate in the matric exam and continued to assist them in providing equipment and textbooks and arranged a successful winter school for Tshwane pupils.
ADvTECH schools celebrate World Environment Day annually to encourage pupils to take positive steps to conserve the environment. The recycling of paper and plastic is particularly important and Trinityhouse Preparatory Schools contracted a company to collect recyclable waste which was re-used and 15% of the income was then donated to animal welfare.
Trinityhouse also took part in Interwaste's "Tops & tags" project. For every 10 000 bread tags or plastic bottle tops collected, one wheelchair was donated to a school for the disabled. Trinityhouse collected enough bread tags and bottle tops for 12 wheelchairs.
A Trinityhouse environmental group called Footprints met regularly in the past year to clean up the river in the Little Falls Nature reserve and they also created an environmental blog and Facebook page to track their progress.
Trinityhouse Little Falls Preparatory has an ongoing project assisting Matla Combined School in Muldersdrift, whose 800 pupils are mainly drawn from nearby informal settlements. Initiatives such as painting classrooms or guiding teachers toward effective classroom organisation are aimed at helping the school to become a more positive learning environment.
ADvTECH's emphasis on education in CSI activities is evident in the Thandanani House of Refuge project for which Trinityhouse pupils travel weekly to do homework and play with the children. Grade 8 pupils run a business for a month and proceeds are given to Thandanani. They also organise a variety of activities for children at Kingsway School, ranging from computer classes to sport.
Trinityhouse Randpark Ridge annually raises money to sponsor an orphan to attend Sparrow Ministries School, an independent school in the area. All Schools division brands are encouraged to participate in the adopt-a-school programme.
Trinityhouse embarked on a "pay it forward" initiative for World Literacy Day for which children donated more than 1 000 books to Inkwenkwezi Primary School and to Kloofwaters Intermediate School.
Other Trinityhouse initiatives included pupils, teachers and mothers serving soup to homeless children at Kidz Haven; a clothing collection where pupils brought new or second hand beanies, blankets and socks to be donated to the Alexandra community and an anti-xenophobia Campaign. Grade 11 pupils at Little Falls baked over 700 cupcakes to sell in order to raise funds for cancer patients.
Rosebank College (RC)
One of the pillars of Rosebank College's mission is to strive to help every one of their graduates find gainful employment. To do so, National Graduate Development Manager, Lillian Bususu, and her team scrutinise the job market, take note of the skills employers require from their recruits, and plan their student training programme accordingly. The aim is to find a match between the student and the company so not only does the team run comprehensive career coaching sessions for students to prepare them for the world of work, but RC has also developed good relationships with businesses that employ their graduates. This has been successful to the extent that many of these companies now approach RC Career Centre Co-ordinators with requests for applicants. No student is referred to a company without having undergone career coaching.
Career coaching is an important part of the process as students not only learn about the importance of punctuality and appropriate dress, about writing a good CV and interviewing skills, but they also learn about being accountable and taking responsibility for themselves. Encouraged to improve their communication skills and their knowledge of the global market, RC students also learn to be strategic and intentional in everything they do. Career coaching emphasises excellence and the importance of developing commercial acumen.
Since the inception of the programme about 4,000 Rosebank College graduates have been placed in jobs and Career Centre co-ordinators have their own targets in seeking new potential employers to be added to their already extensive database.
In keeping with ADvTECH's focus on education and training in its CSI initiatives, RC has extended a helping hand to the girls at the Home of Hope. The Home of Hope for Girls is an NPO that provides shelter and safety for around 80 young girls from abusive and exploitative backgrounds. One of the primary aims of the Home is to ensure that the girls attend school and pursue their studies at tertiary level. Rosebank College is committed to assist the Home achieve this goal.
Rosebank College students volunteered at the Special Olympics Professional Golf Association golf day where they ran the entire event from assisting athletes to handing out awards. The tournament not only gave athletes with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to demonstrate their athletic prowess but was also an invaluable experience for the volunteers.
Vega's Brand Challenges afford students the opportunity to undertake real-life industry briefs from external organisations, giving them invaluable practical experience.
One such examples is work undertaken for the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital (NMCH). Vega's third year visual communication, copywriting and multimedia design students were invited to create the hospital's visual identity. They worked on the project alongside Vega Brand Navigators to create a memorable and enduring image, reflecting what Madiba wanted to accomplish by building a hospital specifically for sick children from African countries.
Vega continued its relationship with the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital into 2015. Children who had been involved in the project since 2005 were invited onto the Vega Bordeaux Campus on 5 December to participate in a "Celebration of Youth" exhibition. Vega is also developing a five year strategy for the NMCH, including a plan for the Fund's 21st birthday celebration.
Varsity College (VC)
In keeping with ADvTECH's focus on education and training, Varsity College partnered with the Masixhasane Literacy Project, an initiative that supplies mobile library units to disadvantaged schools and communities in South Africa.
VC students raise funds on all campuses to sponsor these mobile libraries for children who have no other access to books. Each campus holds a major fundraising event, along with more minor projects throughout the year. PR and Event Management students use this as an opportunity for work-integrated learning and VC Cares students are involved in all activities. In 2015 VC raised R420, 000 to buy two large audio visual libraries and four other audio visual libraries for selected primary schools which it is hoped will create and sustain a love of reading among the children who use them.
A hallmark of VC's CSI activities is the active involvement of both students and staff in projects that focus on the environment and the upliftment of surrounding communities. In the Masixhasane Literacy Project, for example, staff and students get to meet the learners and help teach school librarians how to use the library for maximum benefit. Library handovers are followed by visits from VC staff and students who then select books from the mobile library to read to the children.
What has become apparent is that there is a dire need for career guidance and life skills workshops. The children little understanding of the world of work, the scope of available careers or what would best suit their own talents and interests.
Varsity College saw this as an ideal opportunity for community engagement with the Career Centre Co-ordinator providing the career guidance and the Student Relations Manager offering learners some life skills training. There are three workshops run over a three month period which are interactive and fun, use the expertise of Varsity College staff, and teach the children valuable skills to help them negotiate the transition from secondary to tertiary education or to the workplace.
As part of their BEd Degree, students are involved in Community Engagement teaching opportunities. The Adopt-a-School programme includes an outreach opportunity for our BEd students where they are able to practice their teaching skills in a "real life" situation.
Wherever possible VC combines work integrated learning initiatives with outreach programmes. Sports Management Students work with their lecturer and VC Cares students to run a soccer tournament or sports day with children from underprivileged communities. Public Relations students from all three years' work with various NGO's: first years' work on the main Masixhasane event, raising awareness on campus and doing PR related activities;
Second years select a particular NGO, visit the site and invite the NGO representative onto campus to learn about the organisations' vision and mission. They then prepare a PR plan for the NGO which, if accepted, can actually be implemented; third years are introduced to a variety of NGO's that need PR assistance and get the opportunity of doing their industry hours with a suitable NGO.
Business Management students run a market day on campus to raise funds for a chosen NGO. IT students on some campuses run all night LAN parties to raise funds for a selected NGO.
ADvTECH's Resourcing division, too, is committed to contributing to the development of critical skills in South Africa, as well as empowering unemployed individuals who could ultimately be absorbed into the business. In 2012 Resourcing and Kapele initiated a Learnership and Internship program at the end of which, nine learners and four interns were offered permanent or contract employment in the Division.
Resourcing has finalised its own Learnership Programme (ALP) in partnership with APSO which is to launch in January 2016. The Learnership Program was reviewed by the rating agency and Resourcing was given the approval to recognise the program as Category C (Learnership) of the Skill learning matrix.
- ALP intends on promoting access to training and development that will provide unemployed learners with exposure to the corporate world while studying towards obtaining a qualification.
- The ALP programme will focus on-the-job training that will warrant that trainee consultants cultivates good working habits.
- The business can improve its competitiveness in the market by earning additional points on the BEE scorecard that are reserved for learnership training programmes.
- After a 6 month learnership contract and having attained practical experience in the corporate environment the learner will be given the opportunity to write an ISP exam at APSO which will afford the trainee consultant to receive a designation of professional recruitment consultant.
The scope of Resourcing's CSI initiatives typifies ADvTECH's commitment to bettering the lives of others. Although there is a common CSI theme of education and training at ADvTECH many of the brands undertake additional projects.
Serving soup to the homeless, raising funds for animal welfare, supporting a safe house for abused children and providing resources for victims of xenophobia are just some of the causes Resourcing has adopted.
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