Nailing Footprint’s colours to the skills development mast

One of Footprint’s star-trainers, Tshepo Malibe, has left his own footprints and, by extension, those of Footprint in the memory of a small rural community of Verena in Mpumalanga.

You see! Tshepo is one of those Footprint trainers who not only see their work in the community as something that must be done on behalf of a client, but also sees it as an opportunity to contribute to community upliftment.

On the 24th of March 2011, I had the privilege of representing Footprint in what I thought was going to be a small, certificate- handing ceremony in Verena. At least, that’s what I expected when I left Johannesburg that morning! To my surprise! I arrived to a full house of close to 500 jubilant ABET and other skills development graduates who came from far and wide to celebrate the important milestones in their lives.

I arrived to a festive and colourful mood, with groups of Ndebele women performers, dressed in their beautiful traditional gears ululating and singing; “My mother was illiterate, My father was illiterate, that’s why I am an ABET Learner!” For a moment there I thought I had come to a wrong function as I could not recognise anyone there. To set my confused mind at rest, a friendly usher gave me a warm handshake and guided me to the VIP table nearby. I was calmed by the sight of our star-trainer, Tshepo’s broad smile and hand-shake. Then I knew I was at the right function.

I was still confused about what was happening! Again, our dear Tshepo, perhaps sensing my discomfort, whispered in my ear that I should not worry as he will explain everything to me. In time, he did explain to me.

You see, our dear Tshepo, like a true Footprinter, has established a relationship with various ABET Centre managers in the greater Kwa-Mhlanga/Kwaggafontein area, through which he recruits learners for his Community Financial Literacy training. In return, he helps the ABET Centres with essentials such as stationary and other consumables. There is also a mutual referral system between the ABET Centres and Tshepo, where ABET Centres refer their learners to Tshepo’s training sessions and Tshepo also refer his learners, who can benefit from ABET training to these ABET Centres.

It turns out that some of these ABET learners have not only graduated from the ABET centres, but have also moved on to receive skills as plumbers, carpenters, electricians etc. So, the celebrations for the day were to celebrate all of the above achievements and more! It was also about the fact that these learners, who have just acquired skills as plumbers and electricians, were also given Financial Literacy training by Tshepo! How appropriate?

So, the certificate-handing function was a joint effort by Footprint, the ABET Centres and the Mpumalanga Regional Training Trust- an agency of the Mpumalanga Department of Education tasked with skills training – to award and honour these learners for the triple-achievement of graduating as ABET Learners, as trades persons and for having gone through our own financial literacy training.

To crown a colourful and eventful day, my turn came to play chancellor for the day, by handing out these sought-after financial literacy certificates to happy learners. So, thanks to Tshepo, not only has Footprint become a household name in Verena, but I got to become ‘Mr. Chancellor’, even if it’s just for a day!

Bravo Tshepo! You have made us all proud!.

Posted under Blog - Personal

This post was written by TP on April 4, 2011