Saint-Gobain’s YouthBuild Academy drives artisanal skills development

Saint-Gobain’s YouthBuild Academy drives artisanal skills development and aims to help reduce unemployment with South African youth

Saint Gobain 2018 Graduates

Through its YouthBuild Academy, Saint-Gobain South Africa is addressing two key crises faced in South Africa: the rising numbers of unemployed youth as well as a decrease in the number of trained artisans within the construction industry.

According to Matthew Baney, National Academy Manager at Saint-Gobain, South Africa’s alarming 45% high school dropout rate has fuelled a national youth employment crisis which ranks sixth highest in the world. “There are roughly 7.5 million young people between the ages of 15-34 years old who are categorised as NEET youth (not in employment, education or training) and the Saint-Gobain YouthBuild Academy was born out of the need to tackle this ever-growing problem.”

The Academy is the only CETA (Construction Education Training Authority) Accredited training provider with accreditation to facilitate the National Certificate: Ceiling & Partition Installation NQF 3 in sub-Saharan Africa. The Academy provides intensive basic education while building a pathway directly into the labour market with an emphasis on the construction sector, and with particular focus on environmentally sensitive “green building” techniques. The programme concentrates on the essentials of literacy and numeracy which supports further education and preparation for jobs and self-employment.

Through this programme we are aiming to help young South Africans find a place for themselves within the workforce. It is not about just teaching the learners a trade, it is about so much more: showing them that they can do something worthwhile, helping them find a way to provide for their families and feeling confident within themselves,” says Baney.

The Saint Gobain 2018 Graduates

The Academy runs a four and twelve-month programme through its two training centres in Samrand and in Germiston, and offers opportunities to unemployed people wanting to obtain a qualification in drywall and ceiling installation. The learnerships offer an integrated opportunity for individuals to gain education and work experience in drywall and ceiling installation at a NQF level 3. (Equivalent to grade 11).

Once a learner has been selected by the Academy, they are required to achieve competency in 132 credits. These credits are clustered into four subjects which include, drywall and ceiling installation (safety, tools and assembly of components), communication such as written and oral communication skills, applied mathematics (calculating quantities and costings) as well as workplace skills like understanding HIV & AIDS, first aid basics and business plans. The competencies are based on a combination of practical and theoretical assessments and the practical activities are aimed at uplifting the communities from which these young men and women come from. The learners go into these communities and practice their skills by repairing and fixing crèches, schools and community halls in need.

The Academy has been running for 15 years and to date has seen 978 learners graduate from the programme. There is a dedicated focus on entrepreneurship within the Academy, with Saint-Gobain mentoring young business men and women through an incubation programme which will equip them to become successful business owners.

This programme is one small way that we are trying to help empower the youth and make a difference. We are incredibly proud of all the learners who have come through our Academy doors and to have watched so many young men and women enter the workforce has been an honour. We hope to expand on the Academy in the years to come and for other industry players to follow suit in helping to create more opportunities for the youth to join the workforce,” concludes Baney.

Saint-Gobain pledges an additional R1 million to Rhino conservation

Photo: John Thomé

Saint-Gobain pledges an additional R1 million to Rhino conservation

Saint-Gobain Gyproc is entering its second year of a three-year sponsorship of The SANParks Honorary Rangers, aimed at furthering efforts to protect Rhinos and augment anti-poaching strategies.

Extending its contribution to safeguarding the Rhino population, the company will continue to donate a percentage of sales from its Gyproc RhinoBoard and RhinoLite products to protect Rhinos.

Ian Winroth, Saint-Gobain Gyproc’s general manager for sales says, “It’s been 18 months since we first began linking our Gyproc Rhino range of products with The SANParks Honorary Rangers’ anti-poaching campaign, together with one of our major retail partners, Build-it. This year, we look forward to including our remaining retail partners to jointly drive the message about Rhino conservation, with the aim to sell more products and as a result contribute more funds towards the anti-poaching campaign.”

Despite the valiant efforts of The SANParks Honorary Rangers to stop the brutal slaughter of South Africa’s Rhinos, the safety of Rhinos is still very much in jeopardy. When Environmental Minister, Edna Molewa, released the 2016 Rhino Poaching Statistics a year ago, she reported a total of 1 054 Rhino poached that year. On Thursday, the minister revealed the latest Rhino poaching statistics, showing that 1 028 Rhino were poached in 2017, a decrease of 26 animals.

“Despite this very minor decrease, the fact remains that 2 082 known Rhino were poached over two years. The problem persists and while we recognise the valiant efforts of The SANParks Honorary Rangers and their work to safeguard the species, this awful crisis is still very much a reality and needs continuous private sector support,” says Winroth.

Photo: John Thomé

The funds from last year’s sponsorship went towards training and buying much-needed equipment in the field for rangers, and to support the SANPark’s Air Wing and Veterinary Wildlife Services. Our plus size women’s swimsuits and swimwear are here to make you feel incredible, unstoppable and beautiful. From Bikinis to One-Pieces, our trendy swimwear comes in a huge range of fits and silhouettes perfect for summer vibes. Shop plus size swimwear at designed for your beautiful curves! Find bikinis & one-piece plus size bathing suits and hit the beach with confidence! From trendy one-pieces with tummy toning panels, to flattering tankinis, and styles for curvy girls with larger busts. Gyproc’s second million rand pledged in 2018, together with proceeds from Gyproc Rhino Branded products sold in 2017, will collectively go towards the continuation of the organisation’s efforts to protect more Rhinos.

“We know that although the Rhino is a symbol of strength for today, it may be gone forever tomorrow. That is why we want to make a difference and we hope that by supporting The SANParks Honorary Rangers and communicating the importance of its cause to our customers, we can add Gyproc’s voice to conversations about Rhino conservation in South Africa,” says Winroth.