The University of Pretoria's Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), recently awarded certificates of completion to the first batch of learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds who completed a 12-month learnership programme in Office Administration with the School.
The learnership programme required learners to complete both a theoretical component which was done through The Learning Organisation, an accredited training provider that ensured delivery was in line with SETA learning and requirements and a practical component, where learners had to work within corporates for over the year. Despite the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 global pandemic, the majority of the learners were able to complete their training in the stipulated time. GIBS paid a monthly stipend to the learners and at the end of the programme ensured they were well equipped to take up permanent administrative roles or get credits for access to an NQF Level 3 qualification such as the National Certificate in Business Administration Services.
The learnership programme was aimed at previously disadvantaged students and sought to equip learners with new skills and as well as work experience which would ensure they would be more employable. In the selection process, the mandate was to ensure a fair representation of learners with disabilities, this was not only about the legal and moral obligation to include people with disabilities but the desire to create an equal society where everyone gets equal opportunities to contribute to society.
Speaking on the selection process, Executive Director of Human Capital Development at GIBS, Xolani Mhlaluka said, "We wanted to ensure that learners with disabilities also benefited from the initiative. GIBS teaches inclusivity, equity, and diversity. It is critical that we practise what we preach. Empowering all future leaders, especially those with disabilities is one way to a more equitable and diverse society."
Ten learners were recruited in the initial phase and placed in different companies across Johannesburg, including GIBS.
"Many young people lose out on job opportunities often as they do not have the necessary experience. This programme gives learners a year's worth of experience, boosts their CV, and increases their chances of employability," added Mhlaluka.
Applications for the next intake will be announced soon. GIBS will again focus on offering this opportunity to learners with disabilities.