700 deaf people receive an opportunity to train
The Shoprite Group has over the past seven years provided more than 700 deaf and hard-of-hearing people with the opportunity to complete an NQF Level 2 qualification. Following a competency evaluation, those who qualify are guaranteed employment within the supermarket group.
As the largest private sector employer in South Africa, the Group believes that developing people’s skills drives not only its business, but also the economy. Shoprite works to develop the youth’s skills by creating job opportunities directly linked to its business and one such programme is Decade of the Deaf, a project launched in 2009 in partnership with Employ and Empower Deaf (eDeaf). It provides deaf learners with an opportunity to obtain the NQF Level 2 Wholesale and Retail Chain Store Operation qualification. Shoprite is the first long-term invested employer in the retail sector to offer this qualification.
The learners are recruited and trained by a specialised team of deaf facilitators using South African Sign Language (SASL), after which they are placed in a Shoprite or Checkers supermarket for a one-year learnership.
“There are an estimated 500 000 deaf people living in South Africa and many are unemployed, so for most of these deaf learners it is their first entry into the workplace. It is an honour to welcome such proud and enthusiastic individuals into the Group’s employ,” commented Callie Burger, Human Resources Director of the Shoprite Group.
Tobias Shozi (aged 29) attended the Fulton School for the Deaf in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Unable to find work after school, Tobias was jobless for eight years until he heard about Shoprite’s learnership programme for deaf people.
“The training was great because it was all done in SASL. After a year I graduated and was offered a permanent position at Shoprite Chatsworth. I work in the bakery and I love my job. I’m confident when interacting with customers. I’m not shy. I’m a capable, confident person who just happens to speak another language, that’s all.”
Madoda Sibisela (aged 26) is currently completing the training and says the opportunity has changed his life: “It has shown me that being deaf does not matter in life. I can become anything I want to be, as long as I keep trying and learning.”
The Shoprite Group believes in the development and support of disabled individuals, and will continue its programme with deaf learners so that they may be empowered through finding gainful employment.