Since 2006, Cape-based Work4You has helped train 80 young adults with intellectual disabilities in order for them to gain relevant work experience, which can lead to full-time employment. A total of 98 placements have been achieved in this time, with some members having more than one job.
Until 2016, Engen’s support for Work4You involved providing a petrol allowance which enabled job coaches to visit the young adults at their various work centres. However, in line with Engen’s CSI goals – that include people with disabilities - the company decided to deepen its involvement in helping Work4You accomplish one of their key strategic goals: to reach a more diverse and representative group of young people.
Lynnette D'Alton, Work4You Operations Manager explains: “Our innovative approach at Work4You is to use our ‘Wagalots’ Dog Treats product line as the platform and basis for training and developing the work skills of young people with intellectual disabilities, along with their social adaptation and life skills. Once the youngsters have completed their training, they are placed in relevant positions at organisations so that they can gain valuable work experience.
D'Alton, who has been with Work4You since 2011, says this can lead to full-time employment, with the organisation enjoying many great success stories to date. And thanks to the support of Engen, who contributed eight bursaries in 2016, three young adults are currently employed, with a further three on probation and likely to be employed by year end. The last two Engen bursary recipients are currently doing job trials.
“Along with the revenue generated through sales of dog treats and sponsorships, the costs of our training are met through parent fees and, as a result, many young people in poorer areas could not attend the courses, due to lack of funding. Along with Engen, we identified eight potential candidates whose costs Engen agreed to pay via bursaries for 2016,” adds D'Alton.
Engen CSI Manger, Mntu Nduvane explains the company’s view: “Due to the fact that disability affects a comparatively small percentage of the population, it remains traditionally underfunded. At Engen, we are mindful that this is a key area of need and we have moved to assist people living with disabilities and their families.”
D'Alton, who is herself partially sighted, is thrilled that Engen has recognised this need and believes that, with Engen, Work4You can go on to have greater impact at grass roots level as well as in other provinces.
In 2017, Engen is looking at establishing the processes where they can take young adults with intellectual disabilities from Work4You on board to gain work experience at Engen – as well as providing further for additional bursaries in 2017.
Tasneem Sulaiman-Bray, Engen General Manager: Corporate Affairs says the company is humbled to be helping people with disabilities gain relevant work experience and life skills that will enhance their prospect of gaining permanent employment.
“By working together with Work4You we hope to forge a future that is inclusive of all people; where the marginalised have the opportunity to work, and where conditions are created for dreams to be achieved and a brighter future for all South Africans to be manifested,” says Sulaiman-Bray.