Growing up in the notorious Cape Flats, 26-year-old Alonso Chappel saw his friends falling victim to drugs and gangsterism every day. That’s when he made a decision “not to become a statistic”.
Alonso’s opportunity to secure a better future came from Mr Price Foundation’s JumpStart retail skills development programme. “The JumpStart programme laid the foundation for my future,” said Alonso, store manager at Mr Price Sport in Kenilworth, Cape Town.
Alonso completed the JumpStart Retail Frontline Programme (RFP) in 2015, and joined the Mr Price family later that year. Since then, he has steadily worked his way up the retail ladder. “I started out as a casual F35 employee, worked my way to become a visual supervisor within the first eight months and then a visual merchandiser with Mr Price Home in 2019,” he recalls.
He then became store manager for a skate and surf brand, building his skills in people management, before returning to Mr Price Group in July 2021 as a visual merchandiser. Today, he is store manager. Driven and determined, his goal is to become a regional leader within the group, or in the retail industry, within five years. Thanks to his roots at JumpStart, Alonso has the opportunity to build the career of his choice.
“If it wasn’t for the JumpStart programme, I would not be where I am today. I did not see myself in retail. When I was given the opportunity, I took it with no questions asked.”
SAMA nominated singer Jarrad Ricketts, his friend and role model, motivated him to “become a better person than I was the day before and to always keep pushing no matter how many times I failed”.
The youngest of six siblings and an uncle to 14, Alonso is the sole breadwinner in his household. JumpStart gave Alonso the skills – and the edge – he needed to enter the retail world. He encourages young people to always go the extra mile and grab any opportunity to learn and develop their skills.
“The world of retail is so fast-paced. Having different skills gives you an upper hand and makes it easier to relate to both customers and co-workers.”