Sparrow FET College is a unique 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.
Sparrow FET provides a unique learning experience for anyone who enrols in our college. An in-house psychometrist assesses all learners before they enter the college. This ensures the programme we are offering them suits their interest. We can, therefore, be sure they are capable of completing it.
We keep our classes small so that we can offer our learners hands-on support. Our Occupational Skills programmes have a maximum of 20 learners per class. Our Soft Skills programmes have a maximum of 30 learners per class.
The college conducts all skills training in simulated workshops/training centres. This provides learners with a hands-on approach. The benefit of such training is that by the time the learner enters the workplace, they have a very good understanding of how it functions. Companies find this beneficial as their training of the learners can focus on intensive skills.
Sparrow FET College also believes in inclusive education. This means we cater to the needs of learners with disabilities, both physical and academic. As a disabled-friendly and compliant college, we ensure that our disabled learners have the necessary devices that they need. This makes 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. Therefore, we have a dedicated Learner Wellbeing unit on-site. Learners have access to a social worker and psychologist should they need help. We also partner with external service providers should the learners need support that we are unable to provide.
Our Placement Officer will spend time with learners before they enter the workplace. They will give them insight into issues such as attendance and timekeeping, dressing for work, work relationships, using amenities, communication, and safety. Therefore ensures the learner is well prepared for the workplace.
Our Job Coaching department sources and vets each workplace before placing the learner in the workplace. From there they will complete their workplace-based practical component of their programme. Job Coaches mentor the learners while in the workplace and track them on a weekly basis.
Once the learners have completed their programme, the Placement Officer will assist the learners with getting a job.
What makes Us Unique
Sparrow FET College has its own on-site Admissions Department. They are responsible for recruiting and assessing all learners before they enter the college.
Our in-house psychometrist assesses all the learners for verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning. They analyse and interview learners to understand their objectives and background. Here the psychometrist gives advice about the programmes on offer.
The Admissions department comprises two interconnected business units: Assessments and Recruitment & Marketing.
Recruitment and Marketing partners with many organisations and community projects. They act as feeders to assist them with the sourcing of learners. We currently have approximately 48 feeders. This includes the Department of Labour, who has a database categorised 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.
Recruitment occurs according to the demographic needs specific to the client/donor.
Going through the assessment process, 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. They will put on a waiting list so that when we get a client that will suit 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 and July. Despite this, we will add extra programmes at our donor’s request. If those programmes are full at the time of application, we will hold your application 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. Therefore, 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. Here they address issues such as attendance and timekeeping, dressing for work, work relationships, using amenities, communication, and safety.
Our Job Coaches are each allocated learners in certain areas across Johannesburg to mentor. Each Job Coach has experience across all programmes and is able to impart industry-specific knowledge to the learners about the workings of the industry where the learner is placed.
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 that have a passion for uplifting and empowering our learners. They, therefore, 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 placement of our learners in the workplace occurs, our Job Coaches are in regular contact with the workplaces and the learners. They contact each workplace weekly via telephone or email. They visit workplaces monthly, to ensure that the learners are behaving and to check that the learners are performing the required duties and are not doing other menial tasks not relevant 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. They hand over learners who are not offered employment 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. The job Placement Officer also mentors them on ‘how to conduct themselves in an interview. The Job Placement Officer also assists with submitting the learner’s CVs 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 database consisting of the following is then created:
Names and contact details of the employed learners at the end of their programme
- Names and contact details of learners who 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. They report on this information, 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.
We established this department in 2019, answering the need from industry for current and detailed statistics from 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. The Department calls Learners on a monthly basis to find out if their employment status. All the information is then captured on a separate spreadsheet and they then use the summarized findings 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
They conduct retention statistics to identify the number of learners that have retained since the college started operating. They then upload all of the above mentioned statistics 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 by 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.