Corporate Practice: Improving the quality of life in rural and underdeveloped communities (Industrial Development Corporation)
The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has a strong focus on education and social development through their various programmes:
- Supporting TVET colleges
- University bridging programmes
- Going the extra mile through the 'I do care' programme and staff incentives
(THE TRIALOGUE CSI HANDBOOK 2016, p 97 )
A whole-school development approach
The IDC’s flagship project, Adopt-a-School, strives to address the inequalities and inadequacies in South Africa’s rural and disadvantaged schools, to ensure positive learning experiences that will lead to greater opportunities for youth. Adopt-a- School’s work is based on a whole-school development approach, which focuses on long-term solutions rather than quick fixes.
Adopters – in this case the IDC – identify schools from a waiting list. A needs analysis is conducted at the school and presented to the adopter, after which agreements are signed, steering committees are formed and the work commences on implementing a tailor-made intervention to respond to the school’s needs.
In 2014, the IDC adopted 20 secondary schools, and has subsequently added a number of primary schools from which students graduate into the secondary schools, to provide support where it is needed throughout the education system. Each school is adopted for a minimum of five years.
Supporting TVET colleges
The IDC also supports Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges as part of its vocational and skills development activities. One such initiative was piloted in partnership with the Northern Cape Rural TVET College and Northern Cape Urban TVET College, and aimed at enhancing youth employability in renewable energy technologies – specifically the installation and maintenance of solar water heaters. Ten students were enrolled in the pilot.
As a result of lessons learnt in the first phase of implementation, phase two will see a larger cohort of students rigorously selected to ensure success, a refined curriculum to meet industry demands and accreditation requirements, and a greater number of employers engaged to provide opportunities for future placements. The IDC also equips colleges with the necessary industrial training equipment and helps to adapt their curricula to respond to specific industry needs.
University bridging programmes
Research has shown that students from under-resourced schools can take up to five years to complete their degrees and that many are likely to drop out of their studies. The IDC carries out programmes at various universities to address the shortages of STEM skills among students. “These students struggle to be admitted to science and engineering degrees. With these bridging programmes in place, they can be accepted but first put through the programme,” says Molefe.
Going the extra mile
The IDC’s commitment to social development is further expressed through its support of employee volunteerism. Its flagship volunteerism initiative, I Do Care, encourages employees to donate part of their monthly salary to an organisation of their choice, in line with the IDC’s criteria. For every employee-donated rand, the IDC donates three rands.
The IDC also boasts several other employee volunteerism initiatives, including mentorship programmes and Mandela Day projects. Its category of special projects most recently included a donation of R10 million to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. The IDC has also identified a number of sustainable livelihood projects – mainly microenterprises – to support.