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Back to Index 02 December 2016

NMMU Business School partners with Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre to empower youth with real-world business acumen

The Eastern Province Child and Youth Care Centre (also known as EP Children’s Home) was founded in 1889 and is one of the oldest residential children’s home in South Africa.  Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre is closely affiliated to EP Children’s Home and offers skills training to youth between the ages of 18-25 whom have completed matric and are determined to create a successful future.

Every year as part of the NMMU Business School Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, the Business School partners with the Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre to train students on Basic Business Principles. Thirty teenage students from disadvantaged backgrounds were trained at this year’s programme, which was held on 17th November 2016 at the Ray Mhlaba Skills Training Centre in Glendiningvale.

Pictured Above:  Students that attended the Basic Business Principles Programme, along with the NMMU Business School Facilitator and programme coordinators.

The programme involved creating a simulated business environment, to expose students to real life business scenarios and challenges. The students were divided into teams and commissioned to start a matchbox factory business. From taking out a bank loan to acquire the necessary assets, to developing product pricing models, to liaising with customers regarding complex order requirements – participants had to apply their minds and work as a team to succeed in this simulated business environment.

Once the ‘businesses’ were up and running, students were then thrown unforeseeable real-world challenges – staff members striking for improved working conditions and better pay, customers demanding orders that were barely achievable with half the work force striking, and the ‘Department of Health & Safety’ conducting an inspection.

“The simulated business environment is a great way to teach students how to deal with the unforeseen challenges and volatility that come with entrepreneurship and being in business. We were delighted to see that the winning team remained agile and dealt with adversity with a remarkable sense of ease,” said Andrew Van Wyk, Basic Business Principles Facilitator.

Pamela Heka from the winning team shared her thoughts with us - “In five years’ time I would like to start my own NGO in the hospitality industry. The Basic Business Principles programme has given me a new understanding and perspective of what it really means to run your own business. It has enlightened me on possible challenges to watch out for, how to relate to your colleagues and the importance of working as a team.”