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Star For Life’s Volvo Graduates!

posted 30 Apr 2013, 03:14 by ntobeko dlamini

Friday 19
th of April 2013 was a good day for Star for Life, for three previous SFL learners, and for Volvo Trucks in Durban! On that day, the first batch of SFL apprentices graduated from the apprenticeship programme at Volvo Trucks in Durban. The three young men were once all High School learners at SFL schools in Durban that were sponsored by Volvo. They were among the lucky few that were selected – on the basis of their school results and personalities – to take part in the ‘Star For Life Skills’ partnership with Volvo Trucks. The graduation ceremony was a testimony to the fact that, indeed, dreams can come true. 

Tumelo Myeza, the first apprentice at Volvo Pinetown branch.

This partnership with Volvo Trucks was an initiative taken some four years ago by the then Chief Executive Officer of Volvo Trucks in Africa, Anders Lindblad. Volvo’s partnership with Star for Life has since developed into Volvo’s currently largest Corporate Social Investment project. The real attraction in the model lies in the fact that it is also beneficial to Volvo. The SFL youth who enter the apprenticeship programme at Volvo proves to be particularly diligent with a strong and positive attitude, qualities that benefit Volvo in several ways.

Three learners who had received the scholarships together with the SFL Executive Director Dr Per Strand, Area Manager for Durban schools Mr Simingaye Zulu and Tasleem Shaik the Business Controller at Volvo Pinetown branch.

The Star For Skills programme has now become a key component of the services that Star for Life can offer the schools. It represents our effort to provide a bridge to a working life for learners who are not interested in an academic university education. 

And it works! Manqoba Mkhize was one of the very first apprentices. He, started working in the warehouse but his passion and dedication to the job showed Volvo that he was well suited for more challenging tasks so he was moved to a workshop and trained as a technician. “I never thought that I would be a qualified technician and I wish to pass the information that I have gained to other apprentices who are coming from the same background as I am”, said Manqoba.

His colleague Tumelo Myeza, a matriculate from uMkhumbi High School and now an apprentice at Volvo agrees:  “My dream has always been to work as team leader and Star For Life and Volvo has helped me in beginning the journey of my dream”.

The Star For Life Area Manager for Durban schools, Simingaye Zulu, confirms that the apprentices are good role models for youth who are still in school. “The success of these graduates show that you can achieve your dreams no matter where you’re coming from”, said Mr Zulu.

Tasleem Shaik is the Business Controller at the Volvo Truck branch at Pinetown. She said the programme has proved to be a great success: “The first group of apprentices were all successful and we have since then taken on three more ‘generations’ of SFL learners.  We will continue with the programme to support youth in fulfilling their dreams”, said Ms. Shaik.

The support to SFL from Volvo is however not limited to sponsorships of schools and the apprenticeship programme. When SFL visited Volvo at its Pinetown branch on 22nd of April, we met the three recent matriculants from SFL schools in Umlazi who had received a personal scholarship of R5000 each from three Volvo executives in Sweden. Based on donations from several sponsors, Star for Life was able to hand out 37 such scholarships this year.

Star for Life would like to thank Volvo for its commitment to Star for Life and for showing great leadership in developing new models for corporate support with mutual benefits to the company and the youth of South Africa.