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In 2011, the Foundation turned its attention to one of the greatest challenges facing South Africa,

that of youth unemployment, where over 50% of 18-25 year olds are jobless.  Its aim:

to design a breakthrough model for youth development capable of delivering long-term sustainable change

In order to design the underpinning model, extensive consultation took place with key stakeholder groups and an Advisory Board representing potential employers, industry bodies, educational institutions and young people themselves.


Two years of research, supported by Henley Business School’s Executive MBA programme, underlined the need for continual consultation and collaboration with employers, as well as their close involvement throughout the course of the training and development programme. 


In addition to technical skills, the differentiator for the programme is its strong emphasis on personal development to build self-awareness, self-confidence and self-reliance. 

Importantly, a number of unique features have been designed and incorporated to address the challenges typically faced by this group of learners and to strengthen the programme’s impact :


  • a rigorous selection process to identify students with both motivation and spark – drop out rates of 60-70% are not uncommon for tertiary education within this learner group

  • a challenging 75% pass rate for all accredited modules and the programme as a whole – learning achievement is regularly criticised for its low attainment levels

  • practical work placements interspersed with classroom learning – theory is all too often taught in isolation without the benefit of translating learning into practice

  • a programme based on full-time workplace practices and policies – experience of the realities of the working world to ease the transition into employment

  • a supportive environment to address personal and contextual challenges – deep rooted psycho-social issues are too often left unaddressed

The learning model can easily be adapted for a wide range of business sectors and industries.  Tailoring the technical content of the curriculum to meet the needs of employers within a given sector enables businesses to build for the future, offering access to a pool of confident, capable and work-ready employees. 


From the Foundation’s perspective, the goal, whatever the business sector, is to ready young people for employment, so that they can achieve sustainable and independent futures and transform their lives.   Providing them with the means to access meaningful employment benefits not only them directly, but also their families and their broader communities to the betterment of society as a whole.

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