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COSMO-NET STEPPING STONE PROGRAMME.

Cosmo-net identified a need to introduce new and fresh blood to the business and with the economic climate and challenges around access to higher education. We wanted to search for youth who wanted to start their working career right after matric, learn on the job and continue their education as they go. We set out to create a high impact Programme that will support new staff and fast track them into the system.

THE OBJECTIVE

The objective was to identify a school that is located in the feeder area around the stores we operate in. We agreed on Edenvale High and Jiyana Secondary school which are located in Edenvale and Tembisa respectively. These two areas would well cover our Tembisa, Stoneridge, Woodmead and Bedford stores, since they are in close proximity to the schools. Jiyana School quickly seized the opportunity in order to partner with us and the subsequent meetings with the School Principal sealed the deal. We obtained her blessings and the teachers buy-in to start with the Programme. We were allocated Ms. Suzan Mokolo who teaches Life Orientation at the school to be the project leader.

INTERVIEWING THE LEARNERS

We requested the school to identify only performing learners based on term 3, 2015 results. Learners with good track record on behavior at the school, hard working and those who have been trustworthy. Ms. Suzan got to work on this brief right away, and a week later provided a total of 32 learners from the class of 2015 (Matrics), who were chosen by a group of teachers because they met the pre-set criteria.


All 32 Learners were interviewed with the intention to identify the prototype we require as an organization, and also to gain insight into their future aspirations. A total of 10 candidates were selected, almost a third from the initial list that met our stringent standards. During the interview, we could not ignore the reality that many of these students are ambitious, but the odds seemed to be stacked against them when we found that not even one of them had the funds to register for tertiary/ higher education. The Cosmo-net value proposition was a real stepping stone opportunity for all those who attended.

INDUCTION

We resolved to do a three-day induction process to ensure they have the best start at our company. Following with the usual process, focusing on who we are, soft skills, systems training and product knowledge. This would allow direct influence by Senior Management to lay a proper and solid foundation in order to start changing and cultivating the new stores personnel culture going forward. Our Head Office Joyride boardroom was prepared by Johan Kritzinger with PC’s and it was all systems go. Fred, our Senior Manager Operations, Harry, HR Specialist, supported by Thokozani, Director - Sales & Marketing, ran the induction process successfully and equally experienced the amazing potential and dedication that the selected trainees displayed. Load shedding came with no warning but the short downtime was utilized well to focus on group interaction, role plays, and running tests manually. The trainees all got an average of 91% for their test scores, with the exception of two candidates who outperformed everyone and hit full marks!

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ON THE JOB TRAINING

As I write to you the trainees are in stores and have been split across a wider footprint than we initially expected. The Store Managers and Area Managers have taken over to ensure the trainees are given tasks to continue their on the job training by selling airtime, accessories, doing OMS, RICA and general customers services tasks to help them ease into their new roles. We will monitor progress in the next few weeks but we expect the trainees to be running independently by the end of January 2016.

SUPPORT

The candidates were transported to head office for formal induction at no cost to them, catered for, and also given Cellphones and LTE Sim-cards to ensure the trainees are connected and can be reached.  There was a prize giving at the end of the induction for best performers during training where two HTC Desire Smartphones were awarded. Not to forget the contribution from the school, we fished around to find out if the teachers of the school would have a year end party or get together. Our sources confirmed that something was planned and we went to the venue and paid for drinks for all the teachers. It was a nice surprise for the school, but in our books, it was a drop in the ocean in term of the difference they make to the lives of the students, every school calendar.

2016 PLAN AND BEYOND

We will continue working with the schools based on our 2016 plan and plan to launch a Program early for the school’s year end.  We will also target the Soweto and West Rand areas with the same opportunity moving forward.

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