There is a saying that “there are no second chances in life”, but an initiative in the Western Cape disputing this notion.
The Youth Focus Project of the Western Cape department of education, in conjunction with Boland College (BC) is enabling young people to obtain wholesale and retail skills.
First piloted in 2013, the aim of this programme is to offer students who were struggling to advance past grade 9 the opportunity to advance through a bridging programme and funded learnerships.
The qualification students obtain after successful completion is a General Education and Training Certificate (GETC): Wholesale and Retail Adult Basic Education and Training (Level 1).
Upon completion of the GETC, the student will then have a significantly improved possibility of access to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET, formerly FET) Colleges.
One of the positive developments to come out of the initiative is the relationship the Youth Focus Project has entered with Shoprite.
The unique nature of this intervention is that Shoprite will be taking in the entire group and students will not only sign a learnership agreement, but a complete employment contract for the identified period.
“Students will work at local Shoprite stores and after a specified period they will, if they delivered work of a good standard, choose a department within which they may receive a contract again. They will be appointed permanently and will receive even further training by Shoprite,” says Alta Nel, programme manager for occupational studies at Boland College.
Wayne Blauw of the Western Cape education department says that the need for the programme is relevant considering the number of students, often multiple repeaters, who fail to complete grade 9 and then often drop out of schooling and struggle to find work.