South Africa faces numerous challenges. Two of the most prolific issues that require urgent and immediate attention are rampant unemployment and a failing public education system, as both exacerbate poverty and inequality in the country.
While national government continues to address these issues through structural reforms, increased spending on education, student funding and broader access to schools, more is required to accelerate change within the system. This is where the private sector must play a more significant role.
As part of its comprehensive corporate social investment (CSI) programme, the SA Taxi Foundation adopted the JB Matabane High School in Ivory Park, Midrand. The company's aim is to establish a grassroots project that will increase access to educational opportunities and benefit learners within the company's local community.
“The foundation funds projects and invests in initiatives that aim to make a meaningful contribution to and deliver a lasting social and economic impact on more South Africans,” explains Maroba Maduma, director at the SA Taxi Foundation.
But rather than apply the conventional hands-off CSI approach of donating funds and walking away, the foundation developed a programme to promote sustainability and leave a legacy at the school.
“Our initiatives span counselling and career development for grade 11 and 12 students, bursaries, and extra lessons, including a winter school, mentoring, goal setting sessions and tutoring.” elaborated Maduma.
In 2018, the career empowerment programme helped 243 grade 11 students and 173 grade 12 learners find their ideal career fit. “This process included psychometric testing, career consultation, career talks and workplace readiness programmes,” he adds.
As a follow up to this process, SA Taxi's sister company, Transaction Capital Risk Service this year invited 50 JB Matabane learners on a workplace orientation trip and conducted aptitude testing as a means to identify suitable talent to fill positions within the company at different levels.
Beyond its pupil-centric initiatives, the foundation also focuses on infrastructure and leadership development. This includes principal support through a collaboration with Partners for Possibility, an organisation that facilitates co-action and co-learning partnerships between school principals and business leaders. The aim is to foster social cohesion and empower principals to champion change within their schools and local communities through their leadership abilities.
The career empowerment programme by Career ID, has also impacted positively on the lives of six JB Matabane learners, who secured learnership opportunities at TBWA, media and advertising space. The learners will also study towards a Project Management NQF4 qualification at Tsingamo Management Consultants & People Development from February 2019.
According to JB Matabane principal, Mr Seakamela, the SA Taxi Foundation has laid a solid foundation and created a support structure that is delivering tangible benefits to the students and the local community.
“The success of this project has helped to create a renewed sense of pride within the local community and will have a lasting social impact on our learners' lives by unlocking many opportunities for them. We are truly grateful for the foundation's support,” he concludes.