Award-winning brand experience agency VWV Group, known for its ability to deliver highly impactful events and campaigns that change perceptions and inspire action, has announced the launch of an innovative CSI programme aimed at developing vital on-the-job skills to empower young women entering the marketing sector workplace.
Aptly named, Phakama means 'to rise' in the Zulu, Xhosa and Nguni languages. Koo Govender, CEO of the VWV Group, says empowering through knowledge is at the heart of this industry-first initiative.
"Through this initiative we hope to create a leadership academy to fast-track much needed workplace skills for soon-to-be graduates in our sector, particularly among women. Not only is it a way for us as a Group to give back in terms of sustainably contributing to youth skills development, but it also allows us to position ourselves outside of our immediate operational space as a brand that not only thinks out of the box, but as an employer of choice within the sector," she comments.
While the Phakama Women's Academy will initially be launched as a pilot programme in 2014, Govender is hopeful that an additional two programmes will be launched in 2015. "As a company VWV is committed to investing in the future of the industry in a sustainable and tangible manner. However, as a substantial investment we need to gauge the overall success of the pilot programme before making a long-term commitment. This also gives us the opportunity to fine-tune the approach," she adds.
The content of the pilot programme will include modules that address areas such as presentation skills, developing your personal brand, CV development, interviewing skills, stress and time management, and personal finance. Each module is intended to help develop skills and confidence in the young women.
"We are very excited to have secured the participation of three tertiary institutions, which include the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the AAA School of Advertising, and the Vega School of Brand Leadership," says Govender.
A total of 26 second-year, third-year and honours students across all three institutions have been handpicked for the course. To qualify, students needed to submit a written application and have met the transformation criteria that VWV had determined for the academy. A shortlist of students were put through an interview screening process with a VWV panel, certifying that only the most passionate were accepted into the academy.
Another fundamental offering of the programme is mentorships. The intent is for each student to be mentored one-on-one by an expert in their field. Having had first-hand industry experience, the mentors will be able to provide both career guidance and invaluable insight into the dynamics of the workplace.
"Ultimately we would like to see young professionals in the sector not only having the confidence and ability to land the job, but to keep it and to excel at it. We believe in uplifting others and it is in the collaborative building our communities that the leaders of today birth the successful leaders of tomorrow," concludes Govender.
The Phakama Women's Academy pilot programme will commence on the 8th of August 2014 at VWV's office premises in Kayalami Park, Johannesburg. For further information on VWV Group or the Phakama Women's Academy, contact Kelly Mokgatlhe or Kamala Douglas on 011 799-2600.