More than 150 corporates and business leaders are currently hosting Grade 10-12 boys in their businesses as part of ‘Men in the Making’ Day. In response to a public outcry against acts of violent crime - driven by unemployment, drugs, and alcohol - the initiative seeks to unite government, corporates and business leaders to provide direction to young men in the form of inspiration, job shadowing and career guidance. Brands that pledged their support include PricewaterhouseCoopers, Rand Merchant Bank, First National Bank, Etana Insurance, Outsurance, Hollard, The Department of Energy, SASRIA, Transnet, and Murray & Roberts.
“We are so pleased with the passion that we have seen from local businesses. The Men in the Making project continues to evolve and corporates and business leaders continue to surprise us with their commitment and proactivity. They increase, adapt and enhance their company's commitment to these young men, without being prompted. Their students become their own, led through a programme - not just for a day - but for a year. It's an excellent illustration of the ‘X-factor’ that makes many of these local brands so great, and the key ingredient in each of us helping to correct the course of South Africa.”
Tracker launched Men in the Making on 25th March 2009, and the programme immediately gained the support and endorsement of the Department of Basic Education - directly in line with their Boy Education Movement (BEM) School Programme. Dululu Hlatshaneni, responsible for Social Cohesion and Equity in Education, added, “Men in the Making promotes our gender empowerment programme, solely focusing on our boys and ensuring that it promotes their responsible behavior so that they learn the values and ethos which will help them become better young men in the future.
Norah Sehunoe from Hollard shared a reason for their involvement, “We tend to forget about the boys. The reality is that, for our future to be bright, we have to give back to the boys and the girls as well. When we were running our ‘Bring a Girl-Child to Work’ programme in schools, a lot of the boys would come and say “what about us?” This was our opportunity to say that you’re also important.
Desiree Storey, manager of the FirstRand Volunteers Programme added, “This year we have invited employees from Ashburton, FirstRand Corporate Centre, First National Bank, Rand Merchant Bank and WesBank to donate their “time” and to share their knowledge and skills with a Grade 11 or 12 boy for 2-3 hours. A total of 46 boys from the Minerva High School in Alexandra will spend the day at our various offices in Gauteng, one-on-one with a staff member. The boys will be treated to a ‘snapshot” of a day in their chosen careers. Volunteers will share skills which will include economics, accounting, human resources, client services, investments, information technology, fleet management, marketing, PR and communications and more. All volunteers will be matched for their time and the matched funding will be donated to the school the boys attend."
AFGRI CSI Manager, Mpati Mojapelo, said, “It was Men in the Making that showed us we had expertise to share, and we are now working with 80 young learners - not just for one day, but all year round.”
Tracker have announced that The Motivation Company are joining them today to speak to some of the young men attending their programme, as well as Alpha Phi Alpha, an international organization, have offered to mentor 30 boys on an ongoing basis.
When Pravin Gordhan delivered his 2014 Budget Speech last month, he stated, “Government has spent more than R100 billion on employment programmes over the past five years, including municipal and provincial spending. More than 4 million job opportunities were funded over this time, but unemployment of 24 per cent of the work force is still far too high.”
Bokaba concludes, “It is fantastic that this much money has been allocated and plans put in place, but the reality is that unemployment, addiction, and gender-based violence are entwined, and are united by a lack of hope or direction. It is the work and action taken by government, business leaders and corporate South Africa that can drive a significant change.”