Recruiting Additional GRS Coaches

The main focus
of the last few weeks has been on coach recruitment.  We are looking to recruit 20 more coaches to help us with
delivering our core Skillz 1.1 curriculum in primary schools, as our current 27
coaches will be focusing on delivering the Generation Skillz curriculum in high

Requirements for
the position are basic: we look for young people between the ages of 18 and 26
who have graduated from high school and can read and write in English.  In order to apply, they needed to
submit their resumes, attend an information session, and fill out an
application form by last Friday, Jan. 20th.

We began
recruitment by meeting with members of partner organizations, many of which
deal with youth directly.  We also
posted flyers in stores and at churches around Soweto.  Last Thursday, George and Bongz (two of
our staff members who are CPCs “Community Project Coordinators”) and I hosted
several information sessions. 

During the info
sessions, we began by showing a video about GRS.  I gave a brief overview of the organization—how it began,
how it grew, and where we have arrived today (see blog post “GRS—the Basics”).  We then asked Bonisiwe and Thandekile
(two of our coaches) to explain a little about a typical day in the life of a
GRS coach.  They described how they
would start in the morning by preparing their materials and reviewing the day’s
lesson.  They would then arrive at
school 30 minutes early to meet with their “strength partner” (coaching
partner) to go over the plan for the day and confirm things with the teachers,
before proceeding into their assigned classroom to deliver the lesson.  Finally, they would meet again for 30
minutes after the session to debrief and discuss plans for the next
session.  If they had another class
the same day, they would hop in mini bus taxes to travel to the school for
their next class. 

A quick
aside…when I say that the coaches deliver the curriculum in their “assigned
classrooms,” I mean this: our CPCs (staff members George, Bongz, and Annie) are
responsible for recruiting schools before an intervention cycle.  They work with the Department of
Education to ask which schools GRS can work in during the coming school
term.  The DoE then tells our CPCs
which schools to approach.  When
the CPCs arrive at the schools, they meet with the principal (usually after a
few visits) and ask whether our coaches can deliver our GRS curriculum during
school hours—typically during the Life Orientation (LO) period, which can range
from 30 min to 1 hour once or twice a week.  Schools tend to be very supportive, in part because they
have received the OK from the DoE. 
We have a very strong relationship with the DoE involved with school

Back to the info
sessions…George would proceed by going over requirements for GRS coaches—to
fill out attendance forms and M&E booklets, take care of their materials,
abide by the dress code, etc. 
Finally, Bongz discussed opportunities available to GRS coaches.  They can move up to gain more
responsibility in their coaching pairs/teams by becoming a Head Coach.  Events arise from time to time that
require some coaches to deliver Skillz practices in various locations, often
allowing for travel outside of Soweto. 
In particular, coaches have opportunities to develop useful skills that
will make them employable in the future, such as skills in typing, M&E, and
finance.  This skill acquisition is
the purpose of the “Development Sessions” we host every Friday.  

We ended up
receiving about 130 applications for only 20 spots!!  Narrowing down the pool has been challenging, but it’s
wonderful to see how many young people are interested in the position.  We are now in the middle of group interviews
with 5 applicants at a time.  We
plan to select our final 20 coaches by next week Tuesday, Jan.31st.  So, soon our GRS family should grow
from 27 coaches to about 47!

Below, Photo1:From left to right: Bongz, George, Goody, and Phindi at our table preparing to conduct a group interview

Photo2: Piles and piles of application forms!