Disabled Employment – can we do better?

Petroleum industry learnership programme gives people living with disabilities the upper hand in gaining permanent employment

Fast Facts:

  • More than 7.5% of the South African population (2.8 million people) are living with a disability
  • People living with disabilities make up less than 1% of total SA workforce
  • Disabled candidates placed with host employers have better chance of finding permanent employment

 Cape Town, [date] 2017: In South Africa, people living with disabilities make up more than 2.8 million people (7.5% of the population), according to Stats SA (Census 2011). These people face extreme odds in terms of accessing stable employment opportunities, to the extent that they make up less than 1% of South Africa’s total workforce.

These statistics remain a cause for concern, says Llewellyn van Aarde, Learning and Development Manager, Chevron South Africa. “With enormous obstacles and few opportunities available to them, very few people living with disabilities ever attempt to look for employment. Industry needs to work together to address this issue and to create opportunities for people living with disabilities to access decent and meaningful work opportunities.”

It is well known that disabled candidates who are placed with host employers gain better skills through workplace experience and have a far greater success in finding permanent employment. For this reason, since September 2015 Chevron South Africa has partnered with education and training service provider, Primeserv HR Solutions in running an annual 12-month learnership programme specifically for Black unemployed learners living with disabilities. The first group of disabled candidates who were recruited and assessed in 2015/16 completed the Business Administration Services NQF level 3 and Marketing NQF level 4 programs; and the second group (2016/2017) is now doing the Wholesale & Retail Operations NQF level 3 and Wholesale & Retail Management NQF level 4 programs.

“The programme is specifically designed to develop people living with disabilities and to provide them with real work experience so that they are able to compete for employment within different departments at Chevron South Africa and across the industry,” said van Aarde.

“Rather than settling for upskilling learners at NQF 1 and NQF2 level, Chevron has specifically chosen to focus on the higher qualification levels to add real value to the learners’ skills development. This ensures that the learners leave fully qualified and competent to do the job, giving them the highest chance of succeeding in the competitive job market,” said Joy Cupido, Education Training & Development Practitioner at Primeserv HR Solutions.

Once the theoretical aspect of the programme has been completed, the learners are placed with host employers for a twelve-month period to complete their workplace experience. The workplace experience is a requirement for completing the programme and is aimed at ensuring that the learners get real work experience in the areas of their studies which helps them build their portfolios of evidence to obtain their qualifications and future work opportunities.

Van Aarde continued, “This year, Chevron is hosting two learners for their workplace experience. Both learners were placed in the Customer Services department, working in the call centre. Mentors within this department regularly review the learners’ portfolios of evidence to ensure that they cover all the required elements for their workplace experience.”

One of the learners placed at Chevron, Sandisiwe Helebe, had the following to say, “I had some prior work experience, but I was still a bit nervous about coming to Chevron. I didn’t need to worry as the team has been so welcoming. They have an ergonomics specialist who has assisted us to set up our workstations to allow us to work more comfortably.” Her advice to other people living with disabilities is to, “Get out there and take full advantage of opportunities available to you.”

Akhona Masiza, another of the learners placed at Chevron added, “While I was sitting at home recovering from my operation, I stumbled across the learnership programme on the internet and I grabbed this opportunity to learn and to get work experience with both hands. Working at Chevron has more than exceeded my expectations. The vibrant and proactive facilitators have made a positive impact on my personal life and they have taught me to always give of my best and to obtain as much knowledge and experience as I can from this opportunity.”

Commenting on the learners’ progress, Van Aarde had this to say, “What has impressed us most is that these two learners have quickly been able to take on complex tasks independently and we are extremely pleased with their results. They have both demonstrated winning attributes such as team work, reliability and the willingness to go above and beyond during critical times, despite the fact that they still have to attend classes and work on their theory assignments in their own time. With a work ethic like this, I have no doubt that these two young women will succeed in anything they do.”

In 2016 The Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) awarded Chevron South Africa with the ‘Recognition for Support of People with Disabilities Award’ for excellence and best practise in skills development and commitment to making a difference in South Africa. Chevron South Africa has recently been awarded a Level 4 B-BBEE qualification across its entire business including the Chevron Cape Town Refinery.

About Chevron South Africa (Pty) Ltd.

 Chevron South Africa is an affiliate of Chevron Corporation, the world’s second largest integrated energy company, which markets its products in South Africa under the Caltex Brand – one of the country’s top petroleum brands, with around 850 service stations nationwide. It also has Lubricants blending and base oil storage capability and markets Caltex Havoline and Caltex Delo to consumers across the country.

Chevron South Africa is a major contributor to the country’s economic growth and has implemented wide-reaching social investment programmes in health, education and economic development.

For more information visit www.caltex.co.za 

 Issued by FTI Consulting:

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On behalf of Chevron South Africa:

Suzanne Pullinger, Communications Manager

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