Tuition not enough to tackle youth unemployment
“Extra tuition is not enough,” says Go for Gold Programme Director, Patti Bruyns. “Given that most of our students grow up in poverty-stricken communities, where strong role models are sorely lacking, they need constant mentoring in addition to the academic support we provide, in order for them to develop their self-esteem and a belief that their future can be different to their parent’s,” she says.
The organisation, which receives financial support from companies in the Built Environment and related industries through their Skills Development and Socio-Economic Development programmes, targets under-resourced schools in disadvantaged communities and provides after-school and Saturday morning tuition in Maths, Science and Life-Skills for selected learners during their Grade 11 and 12 school years.
On average 80% of Go for Gold learners matriculate with a Bachelor pass, enabling them to study at University. But before they enter an under-graduate programme, Go for Gold moves the students into Phase 2 of the programme: an internship year where they are paid by a sponsoring company to experience the industry and help make informed career choices.
“The internship year is hugely valuable as it allows students to gain first-hand experience of the various professions involved in the Built Industry and other related sectors,” says Patti. “It is also strongly supported by our industry partners, who get a chance to assess the students’ future employability,” she says
This sentiment is under-scored by Murray and Roberts Senior HR Director, Dirk Theron who believes this internship year is a great opportunity for the students to get a real insight into the industry, as they move from site to site. “They learn to work as part of a team and be inspired about a career in this dynamic environment while still being supported by Go for Gold, who continue to mentor them and provide bridging courses in Maths and Science,” he says.
Once the students complete their internship year they start their Phase 3 tertiary academic studies, with most fully sponsored by the same company who employed them during their internship year.
Students have the freedom to choose their course of studies, although civil engineering and quantity surveying are among the most popular choices.
Boasting a very low under-graduate dropout rate, 80% of Go for Gold students graduate in the minimum period and move immediately from University to guaranteed employment with their sponsoring company.
“It’s a win : win for both parties – companies secure qualified young graduates from disadvantaged communities with a strong self-esteem, and students have the security of employment and they repay this by being incredibly loyal to their sponsoring company,” says Patti.