Teaching life skills and leadership for the unemployed youth as well as assisting them in securing employment
South Africa has an unemployment rate of 25% and the segment of the population that is most affected are the youth. Research shows that currently an alarming 32% of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years are not in employment, education or training.
A study by the International Labour Organisation found that employers consider today’s youth as having poor work ethics and attitudes. South Africa does not have enough work readiness programmes aimed at equipping high school leavers with values such as work ethic and self discipline. These essential life skills are not taught at many schools.
In a tough job market it is important that a potential employee has the required educational qualifications and demonstrates that they are reliable and hard working. It is evident from research that employers seek employees who have a good work ethic and thus life skills programmes that prepare youth for employment are necessary in South Africa.
The World Changers Academy (WCA) was founded in 2002 in KwaNyuswa, near Durban, to address the problem of unemployment by providing unemployed youth with life skills and leadership training, and subsequently linking them with opportunities of employment, study or entrepreneurship. The organisation also works with high school learners, tertiary students and employees. They run two main programmes:
A life skills course:
- Runs for four weeks and covers topics such as healing of the past and job preparation.
- Students pay R60 for this course and the remaining 90% of the fee is subsidised.
- Once a student completes the course they can enrol into the leadership programme.
A leadership programme:
- Runs over 11 weeks and is a combination of theory and practical volunteer work.
- For the duration of the leadership course students reside at the Academy.
- Students pay R600 for this course and the remaining 85% of the fees are subsidised.
- Programme graduates who demonstrate good potential are selected to complete a three month internship with the Academy, during which they volunteer in their communities and assist in implementing WCA programmes.
Once a student has completed the life skills course, the Academy searches for work, study, volunteer and entrepreneurship opportunities for the student. Before students are placed into job opportunities, they commit to pay the real cost of their life skills course (R600) when they are employed in order to sponsor another student.
Most of WCA’s graduates are absorbed by the Mr Price RedCap Foundation’s JumpStart project, which the Academy has partnered with since 2007. Through this initiative WCA graduates complete a six-day work experience programme at Mr Price stores. Suitable graduates are offered positions at Mr Price on completion of their experience. Employed graduates are committed to sponsoring life skills training for future students. This reinforces the commitment of the student to the programme and instils the value of ‘giving back’.
The Academy places a minority of graduates with their other corporate partners and is constantly looking for suitable partners.
What we like about this organisation
- Design: The Academy places great emphasis on its placement strategy over and above its training programmes, which guarantees a higher social impact than other similar training organisations.
- Capability: Most WCA employees are former students who are therefore highly committed to the organisation and have great empathy for the students. Moreover, half of the staff are furthering their education and are currently enrolled at UNISA.
What difference can your money make?
- R10 000 will pay for life skills training for 15 students
- R250 000 will enable the organisation to employ six more trainers and increase the number of students they reach
- R750 000 will allow the organisation to renovate their current buildings, build a second training centre and a computer lab on their premise
- Professional skills in legal, marketing, fundraising and monitoring and evaluation
- Artisans – including electricians, painters and plumbers
- Motivational speakers and mentors