Monday, 19 November 2018

Learners embrace the working world at Silverstar

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It was an exciting and eye-opening experience for learners and an inspirational one for the staff – it was Job Shadowing Day at Silverstar Casino (https://www.tsogosun.com/silverstar-casino), and 262 Grade 11 youngsters from Mandisa Shiceka High School, Mosupatsela Secondary, and Girls & Boys Town were given a big taste of the working world on 17 and 18 October.

Job Shadowing Day together with Professionals Day are two annual highlights in the Career Development programme (https://www.tsogosun.com/citizenship/community/learning) sponsored by Silverstar for high school learners in Mogale City to prepare them for bright futures in jobs or in entrepreneurial initiatives.

Silverstar staff volunteers and the Grade 10 and 11 learners are brought together to give the learners the opportunity to hear directly from people at the rockface, many of whom have overcome the odds to thrive in careers in a range of departments on the property.

The programme, which is designed and delivered in collaboration with The Education Agency, provides a pipeline of development for learners from grades 9 to 12 to help them find the right career direction. It starts in Grade 9 with an online evaluation that identifies skills and aptitudes to match personality types, and highlights suitable career opportunities, which in turn guides subject choices. In Grade 10, learners attend workshops, which includes Professionals Day and exploring tertiary education options, Grade 11 learners are given the opportunity for job shadowing, and assistance in higher education applications and job readiness training, which intensifies in Grade 12.

Professionals Day was held in August at Mosupatsela and Mandisa Shiceka schools for 916 Grade 10 learners, with 24 Silverstar volunteer staff members from 13 departments including food & beverage, hotel, gaming, cash desk, technical, marketing, HR, finance, maintenance, and IT, engaging with the youngsters in an effort to help them make informed career choices.

Shanda Paine, Tsogo Sun’s group CSI Manager, says that barriers to youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds achieving their big dreams for their futures often include no access to funding, as well as a limited understanding of what careers are available to them or how to align their skills and interests to relevant careers. “The staff volunteers address their careers at Silverstar, with a focus on sharing their life stories, subject choices, tertiary studies, career trajectories, work life experiences, and aspirations. We have found that apart from the great value of the input by the staff for the learners, the event is also inspiring and motivating for all the participants.”

The two Job Shadowing days were hosted at Silverstar for Grade 11 learners who had applied to participate in the event, and 71 Silverstar mentors volunteered their time to give insight in the day of HR, surveillance, food & beverage, hotel, finance, security, cleaning, tables, slots, IT, VIP services, marketing, maintenance, and the clinic.

Adele Wilson, Silverstar CSI Manager, says enthusiasm from both the learners and volunteers ruled the day. “Our first Job Shadowing event last year was a real success – with learners sharing that they had gained a far better understanding of the work environment, employment expectations, and what different jobs entailed than they had had before. We decided to increase the numbers from 45 in 2017 to 262 this year, and extend the invitation to Girls & Boys Town. We had youngsters getting involved in the day-to-day activities from one end of the property to the other – with our volunteers giving them the chance to try their hand at a range of tasks and patiently explaining the nitty gritty of the different jobs to guide the learners in their career choices.” Wilson adds that Silverstar has been involved in community upliftment since it opened in 2008, with a special focus on education and youth employment. “The career development programme is making a difference to learners, and Professionals Day and Job Shadowing Day are an important part of it, giving them a clearer picture of the working environment. It was great to hear so many learners say they were a lot more confident about their careers, and our volunteers stating that they would like to give more time to preparing youngsters for successful futures.”

Paine adds, “The career development programme is running in four high schools in Gauteng, sponsored by our three casinos – Montecasino, Silverstar, and Gold Reef City – as part of Tsogo Sun’s overall CSI focus on education for learners, and the programme is gaining traction, with excellent participation and commitment by the school principals, educators, learners and their families, and of course our staff volunteers where they can contribute to young people’s lives. Our desired outcome with the programme is that at the start, learners make the right subject selection for Grade 10, that they study the right tertiary qualification at the most suitable institution, and that they follow a career path that sets them up for success.”

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Published in Science and Education