Sustainability report

 
 

TRAINING AND EDUCATION

Reunert’s focus on building and developing people is a core value and incorporates our own employees and extends to the group’s corporate social investment programme.

Reunert College

The shortage of suitably qualified students who passed secondary school Mathematics and Science remains a serious concern for the future of South Africa. It is unlikely that this problem will be adequately addressed in the short term, since there are too few talented teachers in these subjects. We remain hopeful that urgent attention will be given to the looming crisis, as a shortage of critical skills will have serious consequences for job creation and for ensuring a stable and successful society.

The Reunert College was established in 1993 to ensure that the growing demand for technical skills from previously disadvantaged people could be satisfied enabling us to compete effectively in local and overseas markets. The college provides a solution-based education process whereby successful participants will secure employment in either Reunert or one of the other sponsors of the college. This approach has evolved over many years and is characterised by a number of key interventions:
  • Specialised tuition to students from previously disadvantaged communities to improve their matriculation results for Mathematics, Science, English and Accounting. To date close to 800 students have attended this one-year programme.
  • On completing this guidance year, bursaries are awarded to former college students opening the doors to tertiary education. By December 2009 more than 450 individual bursaries will have been awarded.
  • To assist the students the Reunert College staff has invested their own time in a service/training intervention named WeGo that is held on a monthly basis at the college. Teachers from surrounding townships are invited to participate in training sessions in Mathematics, Science, English and Accounting. During 2009, 164 teachers attended these sessions.
  • The principals in surrounding township schools participate in a principal’s forum, which is held quarterly at the Reunert College. Altogether 19 township schools take part in this initiative. Strong cooperation exists among participants. We believe this intervention is a crucial prerequisite for improving the schooling system in the shortest possible period of time.
  • The lifeskills programme and ongoing mentoring and coaching, even after the students leave the college, are important interventions to shape attitude and values for entering the business world.
  • Control mechanisms are in place to ensure that students are not only employed, but keep their jobs. For this reason, students are drawn close to their prospective employer from an early stage. This creates loyalty which together with a reasonable understanding of how to manage a career has made it possible to reduce labour turnover considerably.


The students who received bursaries have subsequently performed exceptionally well. Since 2005 they have been averaging a mark of 65% for Mathematics at tertiary level. Most of these students are currently employed as engineers, technicians, accountants and marketing executives.

An alumni society was introduced in 2008 and has proved to be successful. Regular contact between former students has been established and a second function was held this year, which was attended by 100 or more previous students who are all employed, many in senior positions. The society has put a number of strategies in place, ranging from assistance to township students, to plans aimed at expanding and replicating the college model.

The Reunert Sales Academy was introduced in 2007 to help those who were unable to receive a bursary from the college, but have the aptitude and profile for successfully entering the sales environment. A number of tests were developed to identify these individuals. Nashua Mobile and Panasonic Business Systems currently employ 37 students who have successfully completed their training at the Reunert Sales Academy. It is expected that this programme will continue in 2010.

The ongoing support of our BEE partner, Peotona, has stood the college in good stead. Their commitment to the college and sound understanding of the college methodology and underlying values, has enabled Peotona to attract a number of sponsors who are currently sponsoring students at the college. This year, Standard Bank sponsored 40 students, following their sponsorship of a similar number of students in 2008. It is anticipated that the bank, together with Reunert, will provide bursary facilities for deserving students who will complete their studies at the college in 2009. The JSE sponsored five students this year and we are hopeful that their sponsorship will continue during 2010. An agreement was concluded with the Zenex Foundation which has agreed to sponsor 15 students for three years, commencing in 2009. We are anticipating that the collaboration with the Zenex Foundation will continue for many years to come.

As from 2009, Reunert College students will write their Mathematics, Science and Accounting exams in accordance with the syllabus and standards of the Independent Examination Board (IEB), which is an internationally recognised standard. The portfolios which students have to prepare prior to and as part of the examination process, were of such a high standard that the IEB did not require them to be validated at national level.

Apart from playing an important role in the Reunert employment equity programme, college staff is required to control, implement and monitor skills in the group. A high standard of skills development and training has been maintained throughout the group, with the college principal serving as the group human resources development manager and coordinator of the group training and development forum.