Despite being one of Africa’s most prosperous countries, unemployment in South Africa is the third highest in the world, at 32.9%. In uMzinyathi district, where we operate, that figure more than doubles, and school and university leavers bear much of this burden. The reasons for this are many and complicated, but analysts cite an education system that does little to prepare students for the workplace as part of the problem.
We know it is not enough to support students to excel in school – we must ensure that this translates into real economic opportunities when they graduate. So, in this newsletter, we’d like to share with you some of the ways in which we’re getting local youth ready for work.
Business Admin qualifications and work experience for unemployed youth
Through KHULA’s ongoing partnership with the training provider HCi, nine local unemployed high school and university graduates began their Business Administration Learnerships last month. During the year-long programme, they will learn both the practical and theoretical components of effective business administration, as well as workplace etiquette and soft skills. All will come out with a SETA-accredited qualification and valuable work experience, a vital gateway to accessing future employment.
For the work experience component of the Learnership, they have been trained by KHULA to work as Reading Champions in our primary schools, as well as to provide administrative support at our Resource Centre. As Reading Champions, they provide much-needed one-to-one reading practice for local primary school students (pictured below). The benefits are many: KHULA receives extra teaching capacity for our learners, while the young people gain work experience, benefit from various trainings and receive a monthly stipend from HCi.
1,200 learners join KHULA's Career Days
Schools in South Africa, and especially under-resourced schools, often focus on academic performance to the detriment of broader life skills, and career guidance can be neglected. So we were delighted to see a massive turnout for our Grade 11 and 12 Career Days on 30 – 31 March, with almost 1,200 young people joining us.
Over the course of two days, learners had the opportunity to hear from employers, education and training institutions and other exhibitors coming from as far as Cape Town, Johannesburg and Newcastle. They heard from KHULA graduates now studying at university and interacted with companies such as EOH, HCi, iSchool Africa, and educational institutions including Mangosuthu University of Technology, Explore Data Science Academy and Majuba TVET college. They learned about careers in Engineering, Data Science, Business, Tourism and various other fields.
As a next step, we will be assisting Grade 12s with their applications for scholarships and government bursaries to fund their tertiary studies.
A new partnership to build ICT career paths for rural youth
Access to ICT equipment and skills training in rural schools remains woefully inadequate, despite being the most critical skillset required in the modern workplace. Providing this access and learning is particularly important for our students, almost all of whom do not have internet access at home and only a small minority owning their own devices.
As such, we’re delighted to be starting a new partnership with leading tech provider EOH (who also joined us at last month’s Careers Days) to build local ICT skills for rural young people. Together with EOH and the tech education firm Eduhub, we are commencing work on the creation of two ICT learning hubs, where we will provide learners and the community with computer hardware, internet connectivity and equip them with the ICT skills needed in the workplace and more specifically for ICT-related careers.
Members of the EOH Youth Solvers team joined us at our March Careers Days to talk to young learners about getting into the ICT industry.And finally, our best wishes to our Patron, His Majesty The King, and Her Majesty The Queen Consort, ahead of the Coronation this 6 May 2023.
With thanks to all our supporters near and far for everything you do for KHULA Education.
Iona, Debbie and the Team.
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