A new educational docu-reality programme, iSpani, is flighting on SABC1 every Wednesday at 1.30pm. Focusing on careers and mentorship, the reality show will profile one prospective job candidate each week, give them work skills and offer mentorship opportunities via a panel of expert work advisors.
Produced by Blue Wizard Productions, the show aims to offer support to its work candidates and provide advice to the unemployed. SABC educational spokesperson Lesley Fahey said candidates would allow iSpani into their homes and what being exposed to their chosen career would mean to them, their family and their situation.
"Once the candidate has some shadowing experience and been coached with professional and personal skills, they are tasked with carrying out the functions they have shadowed. For many this is the real test – they have to sink or swim. Some will find employment, some will change their career goals, but all will leave the show, and the viewer, with a deeper understanding of their chosen career and how to go about finding a position that will be more than 'just a job'," said Fahey.
We chatted to Selvan Munsamy, director of Blue Wizard Productions about the show. Munsamy is the man behind the conception and production of Blue Wizard Productions. An experienced producer, Munsamy is no stranger to the world of broadcasting.
What inspired the producers to create the documentary?
Blue Wizard Productions has been working closely with SABC education for the past few years and have produced many educational programmes. We have grown from strength to strength and raised our awareness in terms of what is needed out there. We are very passionate about empowering people and giving them a platform to learn and develop themselves. Having done our research and as per the statistics below, we realised that there is a thirst for guidance and information.
• 49% of the population is under 20 years of age
• 3 million youth (18 – 24) are unemployed
• Soon to be joined by the graduating class of 2012
– 10% will go onto higher education
– 10% will find formal employment
– 80% will remain unemployed, create their own employment or "find space" in the informal sector
These astonishing figures and the lack of proper career guidance in schools and at homes resulted in the birth of this concept. We wanted to create a careers programme that would not only entice the young towards different careers but also educate and empower them on skills and qualities that employers seek.
What can viewers expect content-wise from the documentary?
iSpani is a docu-reality programme aimed at youth between 16 and 35, demystifies the world of work by showcasing entry-level opportunities across all industries, putting young work seekers into the workplace with leading SA companies and on the path to success in fields that suit their skills and personalities.
Will there be tips/advice from experts in certain careers in the documentary?
The iSpani team of professional career coaches, host employers and mentors fills in the career guidance gaps that school and tertiary training don’t always provide to school leavers and FET graduates
What does producing the documentary mean for the creators?
Many graduates, skilled tradespeople and school leavers have gained theoretical knowledge but lack workplace experience. The longer they remain out of work the more their confidence and skills erode and the motivation to tackle the world of work lessens. Ispani provides fast-paced, relevant and implementable edutainment in a doccie/reality hybrid format that keeps young minds stimulated, reinforces skills, broadens horizons and creates new insights into career and decent work opportunities. For the creators the rate of unemployment in our country is alarming and we see this a doing our part in getting young work seekers ready for any opportunity that arises.
What was the producers intent with creating show?
The producers intent was to create a platform for the viewer to understand procedures and how the workplace operates. What to do in different situations and how to position oneself. Now the series will be focused on candidates, where were these candidates sourced and what have they absorbed on an intellectual level from the show.
Candidates apply though email@example.com and through our Facebook page. The response to the show has been phenomenal and candidates who have been successful in the show have been very grateful and have learnt a lot in their new found jobs or internships. Those who did not get jobs are grateful for the experience and all candidates are active on the iSpani Facebook page.
Will there be another season?
This is the second season and we are definitely working towards having a third season.