Just as the entire world has had to make great adjustments due to the outbreak of COVID19, South Africa is in the midst of their journey restructuring and redesigning their educational approach as COVID 19 continues to create the need for change. The Africa Unite School Club has been a group dedicated to the improvement of the school environment in South Africa for a few years, but their call to action is louder than ever as students enter a completely new school environment.
The Africa Unite School Club is focused on creating strong leaders and motivated students through exposing them to all the wonderful opportunities they have as students in this country. As students in South Africa make their way towards matriculating, the opportunity of higher education through a university or college becomes an option for some, and a dream for many. However, many students do not realize just how possible it is to achieve this dream in South Africa regardless of your socio-economic status as there is limited information on scholarships and various opportunities for Africans abroad shared with learners at school. Even now, with the emergence of COVID-19, there are multiple options, domestic and international, for students to consider regarding higher education. With the correct guidance and exposure to important resources, South African and foreign national students can make their dreams a reality.
Therefore, over the past 3 weeks Africa Unite hosted a three-part webinar series that has been educating and equipping learners with adequate skills and information to prepare them for their desired career choices, as well as hear from multiple speakers who shared their experiences with higher education and in the work force.
The series started off on the 15th of August 2020 with a presentation from five speakers, Lihle Magodla; a teacher in Kraaifontein Cape Town, Buhlebezwe Siwani; visual artist based in Amsterdam, Thabo Modise; a freelance graphic animator in Cape Town, Leigh-Ann Mdletshe; a financial investment analyst in Cape Town and Tasreeq Ferreira; a Law student at the University of Western Cape. During the session, all five speakers shared information on their respective fields and the various subject choices and degree/diploma required for entering the field in order to introduce the learners to the available possibilities in higher education and in the working force.
In the second session of the webinar series, which was on the 22nd of August 2020, we hosted a Curriculum Vitae (CV) writing workshop facilitated by Human Rights Manager and recruiter Nthati Lesaoana. Ms. Lesaoana explained what a CV is, what to include in it and how to use a CV as a marketing tool. The second part of the session included Teswill Arnold; a brand coordinator at Harambe who wrapped up by educating the learners on various employment-oriented online and offline services and further advised learners on what employers expect from candidates and interview etiquettes.
On the 29th of August 2020 we completed the 3-part series by exposing our learners to various higher education institutions and explored the endless platforms that learners may use to search for funding opportunities of their preferred degree/diploma. We further discussed how the learners may go about searching for funds if they desired to be entrepreneurs. Additionally, the series ended with one of the learners Esther Nkulu, sharing her selected career choice and the possible funding opportunities (although limited) she can apply for as a migrant in South Africa. She concluded by presenting her new CV to her fellow peers which was an activity tasked from the 2nd session.
Overall, the 3-part series was an absolute success and the following outcomes were achieved:
• Learners learnt a broader sphere on available career opportunities across the globe
• Learners were educated on CV writing skills and interview etiquettes which they can not only share with their fellow peers but their family and community members.
• Learners learnt more on the available channels to make use of when searching for employment
• Local and migrant learners got exposed to the available funding opportunities for young people in and out of South Africa
These are the recommendation from our learners:
• The schooling system should provide an in-depth series such as these for all matriculants and grade 11’s in both no/low fee- and fee-paying schools
• The Curriculum Writing workshops should also be provided to unemployed community members.
• The NDP and NSFAS should also investigate creating financial aids inclusive of both local and migrant learners. As migrant learners also need financial assistance for further education.
• There needs to be another session that focuses on sharing more tips on what to expect during university and college interviews
Africa Unite would like to thank everyone who took time to be part of this fruitful webinar series and would like to particularly give a big thank you to the guest speakers who did a selfless act by encouraging and motivating the young leaders of tomorrow on shaping their future today.