Disability Rights: Traxtion Pays It Forward

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Traxtion, Africa’s largest private rail freight company, is embarking on its third year of providing disability learnerships to people from within the communities the company operates from.


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In October this year, 10 more learners with disabilities entered a training programme, which is run by Guest Resource Services on behalf of Traxtion.

The intake comes just ahead of National Disability Rights Awareness Month – which runs from November 3 to December 3.

December 3 is also the International Day of Persons with Disability and is celebrated in South Africa as National Disability Rights Awareness Day.

Nnoni Mokgethi, Brand, Communications and Marketing Manager at Traxtion, says Traxtion has already done two years’ worth of learnerships, and the October intake marks the third year of the company’s participation in the programme.

 “The past two years the program has been running out of Port Elizabeth where our Admin Office is based but in 2022, and going forward, the business took a decision run the program out of Rosslyn where our Rail Services Hub is situated. The learnership runs for a period of 12 months, and is a full qualification, which is 30% classroom based and 70% work based/practical experience,” she says.

Wilma Guest-Mouton, Founder and CEO of Guest Resources, says the company has been in the training industry for 26 years as a Private TVET College.

Guest-Mouton says Guest Resources specialises in disability learnerships, primarily for the purpose of bridging the gap as outlined by the BBBEE policy.

“We realised that while organisations want to train disabled people, they do not have the facilities and skills to do so. This programme thus bridges this gap and aids our clients to satisfy the skills development requirements particularly in the disability category.”

Mokgethi explains Traxtion’s involvement with Guest Resources: “We recognise that, while we do not have capacity to employ the students, we have the capability to upskill them thereby ensuring that they are ready to take up opportunities available in the market.”

Mokgethi says Traxtion encourages the broader community to sign their friends and family up with Guest Resources.

“Guest advertises through social media calling for disabled people to sign up with them. It is from this pool that organisations like us can make a tangible difference to our communities. This is our way of saying there are opportunities like this available in the market – sign up your families and friends.”

Traxtion pays for these learnerships at a cost of R29 000.00 per disabled learner, plus a monthly stipend of R3000.00 per learner for basic living expenses.

Guest-Mouton says Guest Resources has an 80% completion rate on their training programmes.

“We find that a lot of learners start with one learnership, and then progress to a higher NQF level, so in essence, they stay with us for a few years, but the main aim is to equip them to become employed and contribute to our economy. I always tell the learners that their host site/practical workplace experience component, is like a paid for probation, and if they show that they are reliable and consistent, then there is a better success rate for this and related learnerships.”

The Learnership programme was developed in South Africa as a modern way to advance apprenticeships to meet the modern demands of the workplace. Learnerships also manage to formalise the learning and workplace experience - which is usually sadly lacking in internships offered by companies.

Another significant benefit of Learnerships over internships is that Learnerships come with a formal pay structure where learners will be paid a monthly stipend, or payment, for the time they are on the Learnership. Also, internships do not have a learning component, while Learnerships are all linked directly to a formal qualification.

 

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