Sparrow FET College is a social enterprise that specifically caters for the disenfranchised youth of South Africa. The College partners with industry to fund our programmes ensuring that there is no training cost to the learners.
All of our learners are assessed by an in-house psychometrist before entering the college to ensure that they are offered programmes that suit their interests and that they are capable of completing.
Our classes are intentionally kept small so that we can offer our learner hands on support. Our Occupational Skills programmes have a maximum of 20 learners per class and our Soft Skills programmes have a maximum of 30 learners per class.
All skills training is conducted in simulated workshops/training centres that provides the learners with a hands on approach. The benefit of such training is that by the time the learner enters the workplace to complete the workplace component of the qualification they have a very good understanding of the workplace. Companies find this beneficial as their training of the learners is less intense and can focus on intensive skills.
Sparrow FET College also believes in inclusive education where we cater for the needs of learners with disabilities, both physical and academic. We are a disabled friendly and compliant college who ensures that our disabled learners have the necessary devices that they need to make their learning pathway at Sparrow FET College a comfortable, welcoming and productive one.
As a College we are aware of the many social problems that our learners face so we have a dedicated Learner Wellbeing unit on site where the learners have access to a social worker and psychologist should they need assistance. We also partner with external service providers should the learners need support that we are unable to provide.
Before our learners enter the workplace for their workplace based training, our Placement Officer spends time with our learners, preparing them for the workplace, where issues such as attendance and timekeeping, dressing for work, work relationships, using of amenities, communication, and safety are addressed.
Our Job Coaching department sources and vets each workplace before placing the learner in the workplace where they will complete their workplace based practical component of their programme. While in the workplace the learners are monitored and mentored on a weekly basis.
Once the learners have completed their programme, the Placement Officer will work with the learners and assist them with trying to source employment.
What makes Us Unique
Sparrow FET College has its own on-site Admissions Department who is responsible for recruiting and assessing all learners before they enter the college.
Our in-house psychomotrest is responsible for assessing all the learners for verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning. The applications of prospective learners are analysed and learners are interviewed to understand their objectives and background. This is also where advice about the programmes on offer is given.
The Admissions department comprises two interconnected business units which are Assessments and Recruitment & Marketing.
Recruitment and Marketing partners with many organisations and community projects who act as feeders to assist them with the sourcing of learners. We currently have approximately 48 feeders including the Department of Labour, who had a massive data base catogrised by skill. The Department of Labour has also allowed us access to a new assessment tool – Speex, which accesses job profiling.
The Recruitment team works closely with the Corporate Sales Department as they are the team that sources the donors/clients. Each client/donor has specific demographic needs and the learners need to be recruited according to what the client needs are.
Going through the assessment process and completing an assessment and passing it DOES NOT guarantee admission into the College. Sparrow partners with industries, who pay for the training costs of the programmes. Many donors make their BEE Spend to sponsor programmes and therefore have certain demographic requests. If your demographic does not meet the donors’ request, we will not be able to offer the learner a position immediately, but they will put on a waiting list so that when we get a client that will suits the waiting list demographic, we will be able to offer the learner a place at the college.
The college generally runs two intakes per year, January & July, but will add additional programmes at our donor’s request – If those programmes are full at the time of application, your application will be held over to the next intake.
Sparrow FET College has a dedicated team of Job Coaching Officers who look after the learners while they are completing the workplace based practical component of their programmes.
At Sparrow FET College we teach our learners that it is important to make a good first impression but even more important to make a lasting and sustained good impression, so before our learners enter the workplace for their workplace based training, our Job Coaches and Recruitment Officer, spend time with our learners, preparing them for the workplace, where issues such as attendance and timekeeping, dressing for work, work relationships, using of amenities, communication, and safety are addressed.
Our Job Coaches are each allocated learners in certain areas across Johannesburg to mentor. Each Job Coach has experience across all programmes and are able to impart industry specific knowledge to the learners about the workings of the industry that they are placed in.
Sparrow learners enter the workplace knowing that they have the necessary back up, mentoring and support from the Job Coaches who have sourced and vetted all workplaces before placing the learners there. We only use reputable organisations who have a passion for uplifting and empowering our learners and who are prepared to give them the necessary training and mentoring that they need. We also believe that we should practice what we preach, so where possible, we accommodate some of our own learners in our offices for their workplace experience and when we can, offer employment to those who show promise.
Once the learners are placed in the workplace, our Job Coaches are in regular contact with the workplaces and the learners. Each workplace is contacted weekly via telephone or email and the workplaces are visited monthly, to ensure that the learners are behaving and also to check that the learners are performing the duties that they are meant to be doing and not being used for other menial tasks not relative to their training.
Towards the end of our learners’ semester in the workplace, the Job Coaches negotiate on behalf of the learners, for full-time employment. Some of our learners are successful in gaining employment while others choose to embark on entrepreneurship with mentoring and support from Sparrow FET College. Those learners who are not offered employment are handed over to the Sparrow Internal Recruitment officer who assists them with trying to find employment opportunities.
The Job Placement Officer’s main function and objective is to assist learners with employment opportunities as well as preparing them for the workplace.
Our research has found that most of the learners do not have access to resources to do job searches on their own. This makes it difficult for our learners to break into the market. The learners are individually analysed and assisted with preparing them for job searches and then they are mentored on ‘how to conduct oneself in an interview. The Job Placement Officer also assists with submitting the learner’s CV’s into the marketplace.
Once the learners have completed their workplace based practical component of their programmes, the Internal Recruitment Officer, along with the Job Coaches and Statistics Intern meet to discuss the progress of learners that have completed their programmes. A data base consisting of the following is then created:
- Names and contact details of which learners have been employed at the end of their programme
- Names and contact details of learners which need assistance with employment
- Names and contact details of learners who have opted to further their studies
Once this is done the learners are then handed over to the Recruitment Officer. The Recruitment Officer works closely with the Statistics Department to conduct follow up calls with the learners. This information is reported on a monthly.
Sparrow FET College also upholds our government’s vision of skills development. We strive for excellence, well-being and the capacity to enable our learners to become income-generators who are able to positively contribute to our economy.
This brand new department was established in 2019, answering to the need from industry requiring current and detailed statistics for the college. Their main function is to maintain databases of statistical information on the learners, verify information, detect errors, and summarize results.
The key responsibility is to compile the learner’s Employment Statistics, Retention statistics, Demographics and any other related statistics that may be needed in the college. Learners are called on a monthly basis to find out if they are employed or not, all the information is then captured on a separate spreadsheet and then the summarized findings are used to create reports (including charts and graphs) to present to users.
The Statistics department has compiled and correlated data from 2014 to date including the following topics on each programme:
- Workplace experience
- Employment status
Retention statistics are conducted to identify the number of learners that have been retained since the college started operating. All of the above mentioned statistics are uploaded monthly so that Sparrow is able to identify trends in the data as well as factors that could affect the results of these findings.
The analyzing of these statistics is extremely beneficial especially to the sales department for both selling and reporting purposes. It is also used other departments within the college as a measure for Monitoring and Evaluation purposes to ensure that Sparrow is meeting the needs of industry and our country. Statistics also works closely with the Job Placement Officer and Job Coaching to identify the candidates that should be considered for employment based on the employment statistics findings.