Diepsloot youth job shadow Montecasino volunteers

07 February 2018

Taking Tsogo Sun’s far-reaching CSI education programme two steps further, Montecasino recently sent 14 staff members to ItireleZenzele Comprehensive School in Diepsloot to share work experiences with groups of Grades 10 and 11 learners, which was followed by a job-shadowing day for 30 learners from the school at the property.

This initiative is part of the wider Tsogo Sun group programme that focuses on education and impacts more than 35 000 children and youth around the country. The group’s programmes extend from Grades R to 12, from early childhood development projects through to preparation for employment. The new information sharing, and job shadowing pilot programme entails staff volunteers discussing their work experiences with the young people to help them make informed career choices.

Earlier this year, Tsogo Sun Citizenship introduced an online career guidance programme designed to help Grades 9 to 12 high school learners find relevant career direction, starting with an online evaluation exercise in Grade 9 that identifies individual interests, skills and aptitudes to match with personality type, and highlights the most suitable possible career opportunities. In Grade 10, learners attend workshops on relevant topics, in Grade 11 and 12, learners are given assistance with applications for higher education and bursaries, and job-readiness training in Grade 12 for those wanting to enter the world of work when the leave school.

Mike Page, GM of Montecasino, explains, “Unemployment is running at unprecedented levels and we believe it’s essential to get involved in guiding our young people from disadvantaged communities in appropriate career choices, and improving their employability and entrepreneurial skills. By providing meaningful career guidance through the journey from Grades 9 to 12, the intention and hope is that they will be better equipped to make decisions for their futures, and will pursue tertiary studies and employment opportunities best suited to their personalities, skill set and interests.”

The Grade 11 information sharing day in the Tsogo Sun Career Development Programme introduces the beneficiaries to real life career success stories, says Page. “The first session was held at the Diepsloot high school, where learners where matched with the Montecasino volunteer experienced in that field and learned more about their potential career paths. Learning about a job first hand – from someone in the job – is the best teacher, and hearing from people at various levels within Montecasino, from a range of different departments and across the spectrum of experience, age and backgrounds gave the learners information from the inside.”

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Based on the results of their online assessment portfolio, learners were grouped into broad categories that included customer service and customer support services; finance and accounting; human resources and training; IT support, engineering and maintenance; legal and compliance; marketing, public relations and creative; and research and development. Montecasino employees were allocated accordingly, by job profile.

The Montecasino volunteers were well received at the high school, with many learners responding that the scope of the jobs was different to their expectations, that the range of job opportunities was eye-opening, and that their choices going forward would be easier to make.

The information sharing day was followed a few weeks later with a job shadowing day, when 30 learners from the class of 300 Grade 11 learners were bussed to Montecasino to see what the jobs looked like at the rock face.

After a briefing on the Tsogo Sun group and Montecasino in particular, the youngsters spent time with their allocated volunteers, learning about their personal careers, their responsibilities, the value of their jobs to the department and the organisation, what they enjoyed most about their jobs, what the challenges are, and their own personal backgrounds and philosophies.

Shanda Paine, Tsogo Sun’s Group CSI Manager, says, “This pilot project of information sharing and job shadowing with enthusiastic and involved Montecasino staff was an encouraging start, and will be rolled out to other of our properties in the near future. Essentially, our investment is a long-term and holistic approach to getting disadvantaged youth from the communities where we operate, ready to tackle the demands of life and jobs.”

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