Exploring retail industry

2019-07-02 06:00
Learners attending one of the FutureMe programmes.

Learners attending one of the FutureMe programmes.

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FutureMe, a social enterprise based in Tokai, is helping learners to live with a purpose.

Formed by Ursula Cooper and Nicky van Hille in 2016, the organisation is the bridge between school and work. They connect enthusiastic young people with progressive businesses for mutual benefit.

The organisation runs several programmes such as Engage and Connect, Learning Journey, Amazing Race and World of Work. The programmes put together like-minded learners, educators, and businesses to inspire each other.

Through the programmes the learners get whisked off on whirlwind tours of South Africa’s coolest companies. The organisation also targets Grade 9 and 10 learners through a fast-paced introduction to work readiness skills and they also run World of Work, a flagship career festival.

They will soon be launching the retail-focused work readiness programme.

The organisation aims to be kicking off the programme with their first engagement in early August. They hope to complete the first round by the end of the third term.

They are looking at starting the programme with about 400 Grade 11 and 12 learners (and where applicable, some of last year’s matriculants who are interested). These learners will attend their day of engaging and connecting with employees from Spar stores from across the company. About 70 learners will then be selected to attend the one-day boot camp.

From there, about 30 to 40 learners will be selected to attend the learning journeys into the Spar world. Those that show real interest and aptitude for a career in Spar then stand the chance to participate in tailored work experience opportunities.

The programme has two core aims, firstly, they will be looking to raise high school learners’ awareness around the plethora of job and career opportunities available within the retail sector, and specifically within Spar.

Secondly, learners stand the chance to participate in a one-day boot camp where they will have the opportunity to learn and practise key skills that are needed for a successful career in retail and many other employment sectors.

Van Hille, who is also the organisation’s managing director says they will be bringing in speakers from across the organisation, both in the wholesale and retail environments, to share their experiences and personal journeys with the learners and give them an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about Spar and all it offers.

“Learners also stand the chance to spend a day or two experiencing first-hand the full extent of the functions at both wholesale and retail by going on learning journeys to a Spar supplier, the distribution centre and stores of varying sizes,” she says.

She went on to say, the boot camp will be fast-paced and fun, but informative at the same time.

“Some of the skills we’ll be covering include customer service, dealing with challenging managers and co-workers, negotiation skills and dealing with moral challenges in the workplace. It will also give learners the opportunity to learn about themselves and how their personal strengths and values can help them identify their ideal careers or jobs,” she says.

There are also opportunities for learners to gain practical work experience after the programme through weekend and holiday jobs within Spar. A key part of the programme is to encourage learners to get experience while they’re still at school and to begin building their CVs from an early age.

Van Hille adds the retail sector is not seen as a “sexy” industry for young people to enter and that is why they will be launching this programme.

“This is largely due to misperceptions and a lack of awareness around the opportunities that this sector provides from a career perspective, both in a traditional corporate sense. This programme is designed to excite young people about the opportunities in the sector and in Spar and encourage them to pursue careers in this space.

“The programme is also aimed at providing all learners who participate in the programme, with tangible skills and insights that they never had before. As a result, we hope young people become more excited about their futures,” she explains.

They need schools in the area to come on board and join them.

“High school learners lack awareness of and exposure to the plethora of opportunities that face them once they leave school, especially in one of South Africa’s well-performing sectors such as retail. We aim to excite learners about their futures and the opportunities that await them after school. Too many learners feel hopeless and disillusioned about their futures and we are giving them options,” she says

V For more information please go to www.futureme.org.za or call Lauren Theron on 021 201 7241 or go to their Facebook: FutureMe.org.za.

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