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The PPS Foundation offers knowledge and skills to make graduates employable. Picture: SUPPLIED/PPS
The PPS Foundation offers knowledge and skills to make graduates employable. Picture: SUPPLIED/PPS

The PPS Foundation, a public benefit organisation by PPS, which is the only mutual financial services company in SA that focuses on graduate professionals - is supporting students beyond their financial aid needs.

“PPS beneficiaries should focus on doing their best academically. Holistic support is given to students directly [by the foundation] or through partnering organisations. Mental wellness is prioritised by the foundation, especially after the disruptive impact caused by two years of the pandemic,” says Masenyane Molefe, executive trustee of the PPS Foundation.

Like many aspects of life, Covid-19 has changed the face of learning. According to PPS’s 2021 Student Confidence Index (SCI) survey, involving 3,304 participants, 41% said they battled with no contact during the hard lockdown. 30% felt more anxious, and 34% found the shift to e-learning challenging.

Taking the lead from the findings of the SCI, the PPS Foundation partnered with Reality Wellness Group to assist bursary holders in managing their emotional wellbeing through one-on-one counselling and online and physical support. The aim was to help them cope better with stress, loss and grief.

Thanks to a partnership with Rise Against Hunger Africa (RAHA), students at various public tertiary institutions received meal support. Since the relationship was fostered in 2017, the partnership with RAHA has grown from strength to strength to combat food insecurity, an issue many in the student community face.

Mental wellness is prioritised by the foundation,
says Masenyane Molefe, executive trustee of the PPS Foundation

Added to the strain brought by the pandemic, SA experienced civil unrest in July last year, with Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal being hit with incidents of looting. The PPS Foundation was able to address emergencies by making urgent funding accessible to assist some students in KZN.

Last year, through new agreements with PPS healthcare administrators and accredited resource consulting services, the bursary programme was expanded when the PPS Foundation administered bursaries on these organisations’ behalf. 

This enabled the foundation to increase the number of bursaries awarded to 78 students as well as clear some students’ historical debt.

Having the historical debt paid off is a burden lifted off the beneficiaries’ shoulders because when they qualify, they can concentrate on uplifting their lives along with their family and communities.

After the release of the PPS Foundation’s 2021 Annual Report, Molefe says providing bursaries allows them to support students as they transition from high school to tertiary education.

After completing their studies, the students and recent graduate professionals need the knowledge and skills to make them employable and empower them to be economically independent.

This is done through the learnt, engaged, accelerated professionals (Leap) work-readiness programme and the graduate internship development programme.

Students that go through PPS Foundation Leap work-readiness programme often get their “aha” moment when they discover how to compile their CVs, apply for jobs and ace a job interview.

To help students smoothly transition to work-life, PPS foundation and Ikusasa student financial aid programme have partnered to assist graduates in increasing their employment chances.

Another way beneficiaries can start their careers is through the PPS graduate internship development programme (GIDP). After a challenging 2021, the outlook for many organisations was looking grim, but PPS was able to hire the year’s graduate interns — regardless of the tough economic climate.

By the end of 2021, 140 young graduates had completed the GIDP. Of these, 80% have been offered full-time employment at PPS.

“All these efforts are aimed at aiding students and young professionals with the necessary skills, tools and mechanisms to contribute towards the development of a better SA,” says Molefe.

“The PPS Foundation supports the imperative of reducing youth unemployment by providing recently graduated youth with an opportunity to benefit from comprehensive training, gain valuable work experience and develop soft skills for now and the future.”

The PPS Foundation is a public benefit organisation that belongs to the Professional Provident Society (PPS), a financial services company focused exclusively on providing the right financial solutions to graduate professionals.

The PPS Foundation is a registered Public Benefit Organisation. Registration no IT 873/2016(G). 

This article was paid for by PPS.