June 2021.

Close to 1 500 high school learners, across six schools in the Northern Cape’s Sol Plaatje Local Municipality, have participated in a Youth Skills Development Programme, focused on career guidance and leadership.

The programme focuses on ensuring that learners have the necessary tools and skills to enable them to navigate through the journey of high school as smoothly as possible, and to prepare them for post-high school life.

“This information on career guidance for Grade 9 was remarkable and thoroughly fruitful. One of the most important elements for me is the fact that it was collaborative and engaging in manner, so learners were active participants, as opposed to passive bystanders,” said Mr Petrus Klaas, teacher at Emmanuel High School.

The learners undertook assessments before and after the modules. This statistical analysis illustrated significant improvements, demonstrating the levels of understanding and the impact of the programme modules.

Through the ‘Knowing Me and Knowing My Future’ Career Guidance and Leadership Programme, skills and tools have been transferred to learners, while the process of quality decision making was facilitated.

The benefits derived from this programme are extensive, and focus on providing the learners with developmental leadership skills to create a more solid foundation for their school career and life journey. This includes building interpersonal effectiveness and self-efficacy; increased self-esteem and motivation; development of leadership skills; maximized career awareness and access to opportunities available to succeed in society; as well as a broader knowledge, skills and abilities through psychometric test.

“This has been a wonderful experience for these youth, who have been given the tools to help them prepare and choose a vocation, with the necessary support tools for making improved subject choices linked to personal interests and strengths, in this key phase of high school,” explained Nomzamo Landingwe, Chief Community Operations Officer for Matla A Bokone Solar, which has funded this as part of its Socio-Economic Development Programme.

Landingwe added, “We understand that learners in our communities face many challenges that impact their career decision making, such as the lack of exposure to opportunities and motivation, hence it is essential to implement a programme that focusesd on addressing these challenges”.

The programme has been implemented across the following six secondary schools, as identified by the District Department of Education (Frances Baard): Vuyolwethu High School; Floors High School; Thabane High School; Roodepan High School; Emang Mmogo Comprehensive School; and Emmanuel High School.

The building blocks and impact indicators of the programme include personal mastery; career exploration; a career action plan; development of soft skills; and development of practical skills.

The intended programme outcomes comprise enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem; career management skills; decision and opportunity awareness skills; academic motivation and attainment; development of a career portfolio and CV; development of a personal mission statement and personal values; and career pitch and visual board.

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