Campus’s impact felt nationally within the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) realm

Annette Willemse -- Mon, 01/19/2015 - 16:55

Campus’s impact felt nationally within the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) realm

The Vaal Triange Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal) is making its impact felt nationally within the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) realm.

This is according to Mr Ederick Stander – a project manager and lecturer at the NWU Vaal, following the successful launch and implementation of the ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) Sustainability Accelerator Programme in 2014.  According to Stander the progamme proved to be a unique contribution within the CSR space in South Africa.  This comes after the release of an Executive Feedback Report detailing the highlights and impact of the programme.

“The report reveals the level of success achieved through the programme and most importantly, it also indicates how the Vaal Triangle Campus continuously delivers upon its mandate of enabling societies to thrive,” explains Stander.

Participants taking part in a group session Basic computer training formed part of the programme During a site visit to ArcelorMittal - Vanderbijlpark


More about the AMSA Sustainability Accelerator Programme

The AMSA Sustainability Accelerator Programe represented a first-of-its-kind initiative in South Africa and encapsulated a practical educational empowerment programme aimed at individuals working in the non-governmental (NGO), and non-profit (NPO) environments and who drive social development projects on behalf of their corporate funders. The vision of the programme was to develop these organisations into effective entities that can manage themselves and their projects in a manner that will ensure sustainability and longevity.  The programme was a joint initiative between ArcelorMittal South Africa and the Vaal Triangle Campus whilst the programme was coordinated through the Campus’s Centre for Continuing Professional Development (CCPD) and the School of Behavioural Sciences within the Faculty of Humanities. The first edition of the AMSA Sustainability Accelerator was launched in April 2014 and concluded in December of the same year.

Blended learning as an educational tool

The programme consisted of four components, namely: a certificate study in Corporate Social Investment; a PRAC-Tool programme (directed towards providing participants with a toolbox of practical skills); a business competition and individual coaching by registered psychologists.

Participants received a fully integrated learner guide for the certificate training course and had to subsequently complete assignments that were practically – and case study directed. The participants furthermore also worked on real sector based case studies during focused group sessions.

The PRAC-Tool Programme provided participants with a toolbox of practical skills which they could utilise to be more effective in the day to day running of their respective organisations. In addition to this, three credit bearing practical skills certificate courses were presented to the participants, namely: Basic Computer Skills, Basic Presentation Skills and Basic Report Writing. Stander explains that the goal of the PRAC-Tool component was to enable participants to engage more proficiently with their stakeholders, such as funders, government, strategic partners and the target communities they service.

To assess whether the participants acquired the necessary practical skills required to effectively translate learning into practice – and subsequently drive sustainable organisations that can generate innovative solutions to the various social challenges at hand, a business competition saw participants compete against one another. The winner of the business competition was afforded the opportunity to formally present a proposal for funding to the AMSA Corporate Social Responsibility Board. The winner also secured a bursary to enrol for a diploma course in Project Management at the CCPD.

Lastly, individual coaching saw participants being coached and supported by registered psychologists from the School of Behavioural Sciences. The coaching sessions, conducted monthly with the participants, provided a practical interface where participants were mentored through the various challenges they face – not only individually as well as within their organisations.  

Various case studies and excurtions formed part of the programme The participants in front of the Learning and Research Commons on Campus

AMSA Sustainability Accelerator – a success story

 “A total of four different certificate courses were offered as part of the programme and the pass rate of the participants across all four of the courses averaged 95%,” says Stander and adds that the programme provided real impact and outcomes that will translate into sustainable gains for communities in the Vaal Triangle region.  “The programme saw 20 individuals being equipped with a total of 76 new certificates between them. They will not enter the market place and have the required skill set to operate their organisations in a manner that will greatly benefit their communities.”

A total of 76 certificates were awarded to the participants. A pass rate of 95% was maintained during the programme