Computer skills matter

2019-07-02 06:01
Some of their candidates with their certificates.

Some of their candidates with their certificates.

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Skype, the sharing of a screen or a computer, may all seem pretty basic but might be a turning point for some.

With this in mind, Reputation Matters is doing all it can to help locals in Imizamo Yethu (IY) through their Awesome AfriCAN initiative. This programmes helps participants to be computer literate.

Reputation Matters managing director Regine le Roux says investing in the community and being a responsible corporate citizen, is a key building block that Reputation Matters measures as part of their reputation research methodology to quantify the reputations of the organisations.

“This is an area that has always been important for us especially in terms of the type of projects that we take on,” says le Roux.

“But we never really had our own Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme in place, even though we invested our own time in different areas, it wasn’t very strategic. It was important for me to find something that linked to our core business of research.

“However, to be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure how to link our work, predominantly in cyberspace to our local community, but knew there had to be a way,” shares le Roux.

Although most of the research projects are done through online surveys; Reputation Matters has seen an influx of corporates who want to understand their relationship with stakeholder groups that don’t necessarily have access to technology to complete an online questionnaire. In those instances, good old traditional paper-based surveys are used.

“With one such a project, we had a significant amount of paper-based forms that needed to be manually captured. I turned to the local running club that I belong to where one of the development runners had asked me for quite some time whether I had some work for him.

“I then saw this data capturing as an excellent opportunity to get him on board,” explains le Roux.

“Unfortunately, it came to the fore that he had no computer skills, he indicated that he never had an opportunity to learn this skill and even though he had been to the library to try and teach himself he just did not know where to start.

“I then realised that computer literacy was where we had to start. Before we could involve the community with data capturing, we had to take a step back and provide computer skills,” says le Roux, adding that if one does not have access to computers or basic computer skills, they are cut off from so many opportunities, especially when it comes to writing and sending out a CV.

Le Roux continues: “With the help of the runner to find me the most amazing computer facility next to IY and I met Life Manuwe, SETA accredited computer facilitator. Unfortunately, this wonderful computer centre was being underutilised due to the lack of local support.

“The classes can’t be run for free, and overheads need to be covered, it’s unrealistic to ask community members to pay for a computer course if they are living hand to mouth.

“We worked together on a programme and I helped Life to generate sponsorships for a pilot project; I will be forever grateful to these generous sponsors.

“I did not want to start a new foundation or trust, there are already far too many in our Republic of Hout Bay.

“We, therefore, work closely with Rotary International to manage any sponsorships and funding that we receive for the computer classes; keeping things transparent is non-negotiable.”

In October last year, the first pilot project kicked off providing the group with free accredited computer classes. All 43 candidates that signed up completed the course.

Sea Harvest Foundation and the West Coast Business Development Centre in Saldanha got to hear about the initiative, and Reputation Matters’ Awesome AfriCAN initiative was rolled out as a pilot project there as well. “We want to increase the number of computer classes this year and to expand it to other areas of the country. The goal is to expand this across the continent.”

She says if companies would like to sponsor websites for entrepreneurs, they are not just supporting the entrepreneur and small business development, which has a direct impact on the economy, they are also creating a much-needed job opportunity for someone in the townships.

V If anyone would like to get involved in the Awesome AfriCAN initiative contact Regine le Roux on research@reputationmatters or 083 302 1528.

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