Much has been said before about our social responsibility, it is however, not so easy to commit when you work for a boss as your time during office hours is their time.
As a SDF, working for an organization, how can we give back to society what we have gained over a period of time?
We should not forget that the experience we gain is because there are someone somewhere with who we interact to gain this experience, regardless of their level of involvement. I am a firm believer of making this country work and in doing so all of us should pitch in and make an effort.
The question I have is, how does one start? Where do you start? Who would the target group be? How far should one get involved? Where would this social responsibility stop? I would like to hear some views on this, if any, from a Skills Development perspective.
Hi Cobus, do you have any training programmes which are accredited and which you can offer to members of the community? Identify an area closest to your place of work where the community needs upliftment. Identify some skills programmes that you can offer to members of that community. Then find out who the community leaders are you can contact, as it is easiest to get the buy-in from the community when working through their community leaders. Of course, resources must be available i.e. a training programme, financial, trainers and participants. Also, speak to your SETA to find out what type of skills are needed within your sector so you can see what you can offer to the community, where/how you can start to possibly apply for grants from them. Be on the lookout for any advertisements in the papers from the SETAs for learnerships and skills programmes and projects (should you have the resources and programmes available), apply for those and if you are successful, the SETA will pay you a grant to host those. An agreement will be set between your organisation and the SETA and the participant. Best is to start with your SETA and to know what the scares and critical skills are within your sector.
We have chosen to find two worthy cummunity service organisations and continue to provide SDF support and training. Once systems are in place, it doesn't take much to give some time or expertise. With regard to the extend of the involvement, we obviously need to consider all other business commitments and take it from there.
Hi Cobus, I agree with Christine's suggestions. I represent The Numeracy Academy, an ABET specialist since 1994, offering 100% funded Literacy and Numeracy programmes for adults in a working environment. We are UMALUSI accredited and so can offer these FREE programmes for all SETA's thereby giving SDL levy paying companies access to these training opportunities. Once such learners have obtained competency at and NQF 1 level, they can now register for an array of excellent Learnerships through any Seta, and gain a nationally recognised qualification. I run the Western Cape office and we are currently busy with in excess of 60 farms through the Agriseta, numerous hotels through Cathsseta, Food and Beverage companies with Foodbev Seta, Construction companies with CETA, manufacturing companies through the Merseta and we are awaiting on a national tender with the newly established FP&M Seta. We offer FREE assessments so you can effectively run a "skills audit" of your workforce, thus giving you a clear idea and plan where to commence with effective training requirements. Placement is critical when adults are concerned and pride plays a major roll in their committment to such initiatives. We are here to help, anywhere in South Africa. Please check out our web page at www.numeracyacademy.co.za or drop me a mail at email@example.com
Hi I am from an NPO called the Manger Care Centre and we have been running for over 27 years and we are very successful. We look after approximately 350 people on a daily basis as well as run a feeding scheme in rural communities where we feed approximately 1200 children every single day.
Not once has any SDF or training company even offered to do SDF or train any of our beneficiares in any field as their social responsibility, so doing something like this will be great for organisations. There is something like 105 000 registered NPO organisations just in South Africa as per Department of Social Development's database and I can guarantee you that maybe 10% actually get staff or beneficiaries trained because of costs involved for training.
As part of Manger Care Centre's responsibility we have started with a training facility as well where we can actually help other organisation with problems like these. We have an AGRI-Seta registerd training facility where we will be training beneficiaries in Plant production, basic business managent, and fundraising as these are much needed in NPO's.
One way of giving something back is by means of forums such as this where you can share your knowledge and experience with others free of charge. There are lots of requests on a daily basis.
You can also develop information manuals and training material that you can distribute free of charge to those in need.
Most communy centers have a need for people like yourself who are prepared to offer their services to assist others. One great opportunity is to get a group of entrepreneurs together and become their mentor and coach.
I belong to an Hindu Religious Organization (The Sarva Dharma Ashram - http://www.sarvadharmaashram.org.za/) operating in an area named Welbedacht, Chatsworth, Durban. We are surrounded by about 5000 RDP houses (predominantly Zulu speaking) . We have a daily feeding scheme of about 3000 meals including school sandwiches, provide facilities to operate a fully fledged clinic, a library and resource centre. There is no government support on anything we do - just generosity of a limited number within Indian community and hard work of our religious leader together with volunteer members.
I started teaching basic computers at the centre last year and the interest level seems to be growing rapidly. Although most of the interested learners have matriculated there is still a challenge with English and Basic Maths. The computer training program covers a BASIC understanding of computers, MS Word and MS Excel and and an explanation of Email and the Internet in a 4-5 module program.
The challenges I have is access to additional and better computer equipment and additional training facilitators who are prepared to sacrifice some time either during the week or on a Saturday/Sunday to deal with growing interest, access to the internet (i.e. sponsorship on this aspect) to improve skills. Further to this we appreciate any assistance with interested individuals like yourself who can add value by advice and assistance on how to improve the program in order to have the training centre and the program accredited so that the value of the program can be improved and it is recognized within the NQF. We also offer additional maths tuition to scholars on a Sunday afternoon.
Another national Hindu Association is the Divine Life Society - they currently provide basic sewing skills to the locals and this prepares them for the working environment.
My advice in terms of how to start is to partner with established associations of this nature and generate an interest in your offering.
I hope this helps in a small way.
Hi Cobus, thanks for asking this important question. Mother Theresa apparently said if you can't help everyone, just help the person next to you.
On skills-universe we have a group called Corporate Social Responsibility and our idea is to give a space to those who have projects to publicise what they do without additional cost. Members are then able to access information to projects that often seem to receive no funding although they are registered NPOs.
As an SDF and for those involved in B-BBEE scorecards, they can access information to worthwhile projects. You ask your question from an SDF point of view, so my suggestion would be:
Many NPOs have minimal knowledge of all the things that business takes for granted, for example: budgetting, financial planning, project management, procurement, reporting (financial, annual, etc), marketing, IT infrastructure & software, people management, visioning, and critically training needs analyses. We all embed our knowledge by explaining to others and by practicing our new skills and knowledge.
So as an SDF, (as others have suggested) identify an organisation close to your company. Make contact with them. Ask them what they can contribute and what they believe they would benefit from. Then every one within your company who has received training could be offered the opening to visit the NPO and to apply their skills within the organisation - depending upon what they feel they need and would be prepared to consider.
I would suggest from my experience that all NPOs need assistance with IT infrastructure, software and related training and communication skills. This hampers all the other activities that they want to engage in, prevents them easily communicating and marketing their services and needs. Please join our Corporate Social Responsibility group.
What a response, never thought it was an interest shared by so many. Thank you all for you advice and suggestions, most certainly points the way to somewhere to begin, especially the NPO's who have very little to no funding at all.
Great discussion, thanks Cobus and the others! I think there are many opportunities for SDFs and HR people to become involved in social responsibility. I recently had a meeting with the team at For Good, they facilitate these processes for companies, see forgood.co.za, they were very open to involving HR and HRD people in social responsibility projects.
Hi Marius, thanks for this information - I'm going to copy your post into the Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Investment group so that others can find the information.