A Simulated Enterprise is a mock company that mirrors the structure, function and operations of a real company, but without real money exchanging hands. This results in a non-threatening learning environment where learners acquire practical skills. Our main simulated enterprise is an ice cream retailer, called Iceberg Sim. Additional to this there is also a soft drink retailer, Quench Emporium, which is used as a support company to trade with.
Here student-employees learn the inter-dependence of departments, the importance of liaising with colleagues as well as safety and security measures and control mechanisms that exist in companies when dealing with money or figures.
They deal with incoming and outgoing mail and petty cash according to the correct procedures.
They hone their communication and inter-personal skills when dealing with visitors.
Learners understand the importance of accuracy and cross-referencing documents, for example when receiving stock.
During induction training employees are taught telephone etiquette, message taking as well as operating a mini-switchboard and dealing with customer queries and complaints on the phone.
They are exposed to the use of office equipment such as sending faxes and making photocopies. They also have the opportunity to solve predictable problems with regards to faxing and copying machines.
They use different software applications on computer and, in Quench Emporium particularly, they are taught the point of sale function of Pastel. They also have to learn the protocol of dealing with customers and cash handling procedures when making over the counter sales in the shop.
They acquire valuable life skills like learning the documentation and process for making bank deposits and paying accounts for stock suppliers, purchasing from other SE’s, telephone and service accounts.
Through the daily routine of stock control and movement, employees of four different departments have to liaise, correlate information and communicate with each other. Their calculation skills are enhanced and they gain an understanding of the importance of completing documentation accurately as they do a daily stock take, requisition merchandise form the store to the shop, record stock on hand and on order and complete purchase requisitions and orders for new stock.
They learn safety and security measures when moving stock as well as the principles and terminology of display, first in first out, face front and house keeping.
Activities are generated through memos from facilitators, trading with other simulated enterprises and interacting within departments
Learners are exposed to the process of job applications and recruitment and expected to calculate and understand deductions. Benefits, gross and net salaries are the basic conditions of employment.
A variety of filing systems are managed by learners as they rotate through the different positions.
In the marketing department employees have to master a variety of advertising and marketing communication methods and strategies. They also calculate profits, discounts etc. for promotions and sales.
This combination of knowledge and applied competence or skill is an effective way of preparing the student to gain work-based experience. By equipping learners with hard and soft skills their employability is increased, the induction training period is reduced and, as new employees, they can make a valuable contribution to the company immediately as they complete their College education with a year’s working experience.
History of Simulated Enterprises
The history of Simulated Enterprise or SE at Parow Campus started in 1999 when we were the first public College to implement this methodology.
After donations of office furniture and filing cabinets from Sanlam and telephones from Santam, we were ready to start up our first basic office to serve as space for practical experience.
At that stage, we were one of only two simulated courier services in the world and the only SE to have an official support agreement and financial support from our mentor company whose operation we mirrored, namely Skynet Worldwide Express an ISO 9002 compliant company and the second biggest courier company in the world.
We have been in continuous operation since 1999.
After a successful proposal of R60 000 to WCED in 2000, we upgraded the SE with computers, small office equipment and some furniture.
In 2001 we established an entirely new SE, the retailer, Quench Emporium in order to accommodate the Wholesale and Retail Learnership. With this change, we became the only SE to do unit standard based assessment in SA.
We also were the only SE in the country to accommodate a learnership and to enjoy official recognition from a SETA for this methodology.
In 2003 and 2004 we submitted two successful proposals for Ikapa Elihlumayo Programme development funding, totalling almost R2.3 million. The first grant in excess of R1.4m was the biggest single grant in the province and the only awarded for infrastructure establishment. This enabled us to erect an entirely new building housing 3 simulated offices, a lecture room, the multi-purpose hall, a boardroom and offices and furnish it with new furniture, computers and equipment.
Since 2007 we present the National Certificate (Vocational) in Office Administration in a second tailor-made SE called Iceburg. Currently Iceburg serves as the main training facility, with Quench Emporium supporting as additional company to trade and correspond with.