Just over a year ago Kit Group in the Johannesburg CBD contacted me to quote them on the implementation of a skills development programme that will help them achieve the maximum possible points on their BBBEE Scorecard’s skills development element. They wanted to include BEE training for unemployed disabled people and take advantage of the bonus points that can be obtained this way. I recommended a disability-focused learnership that will boost their BEE Scorecard points. A group of unemployed individuals with disabilities were enrolled on Triple E Training’s Business Practice qualification (NQF 1), a programme that falls under Category C of the learning matrix. It took the learners four months to complete the learnership that was facilitated at my client’s office on a full-time basis in one 8-hour session per day. One of the unemployed disabled individuals was Bongane Mahlobo. He was in a wheelchair as his one foot was amputated at the ankle and one leg was amputated below the knee. Elize da Ponte, head of HR at Kit Group, said that during the learnership everyone grew accustomed to the friendly and positive attitude of Bongane who moved around in his wheelchair in a quiet and polite way. Today I almost did not recognize the tall man walking around the building. Since he completed his learnership he has become a permanent employee of Kit Group, that sponsored two prosthetic legs for him. He is still undergoing physiotherapy to help him walk completely unassisted, but Elize was delighted to inform me that, just the other day, he walked into her office unassisted for the very first time. Elize says that Bongane has been a true inspiration to her and the staff at Kit Group. “He managed to overcome so many obstacles in his life and still embraces every day and everything that comes with it, the pain, the sadness, the joy and celebrations.” This beautiful success story shows that skills development, although often embarked on to comply with legislation, can result in real life-changing opportunities for the learners. I conclude with something that Elize said: “Let Bongane’s determination and courage be a lesson to us all that one should never give up hope and that we can all achieve great things in life with a positive mindset and attitude.” Let’s all stand up and celebrate this special day with Bongane. He managed to overcome so many obstacles in his life and still embraces every day and everything that comes with it, the pain, the sadness, the joy and celebrations. Let Bongane’s determination and courage be a lesson to us all that one should never give up hope and that we can all achieve great things in life with a positive mindset and attitude.
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