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Maths + Dreams = Kids who can

IkamvaYouth’s inaugural Careers Indaba a big success

Minister of Basic Education makes surprise visit.

On Saturday 25 June, IkamvaYouth Ivory Park hosted its inaugural Careers Indaba at the IkamvaYouth Centre in Ivory Park, near Midrand. Despite icy conditions, the event saw approximately 300 learners and members of the community attend the free event that was hosted by Ikamva Youth together with participants of the 2011 Nexus Programme at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS).

For photos from the IkamvaYouth Careers Indaba in Ivory Park, click here.

The Careers Indaba comprised of a number of major exhibiting corporates including DeloitteABI BeveragesKPMG and Accenture as well as representatives from the CSIR, a collection of tertiary and NGO organisations and over 40 volunteers. Tertiary institutions like WITSMidrand Graduate InstituteEkhuruleni West College and St Augustine College advised interested learners on courses and qualifications required for future study opportunities.

Halfway through the well-attended event, the surprise arrival of Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, caused much excitement amongst learners and exhibitors alike.  Despite only staying for 10 minutes, Motshekga visited all stands personally and gave an impromptu speech to the appreciative audience. Speaking predominantly in Xhosa, she urged learners to stay in school and work hard, saying education was the single most important investment you can have in yourself. She said, “We are grateful for IkamvaYouth and for all the work they do with young people in education and we are especially thrilled to see so many supporters, companies, organisations and volunteers getting involved alongside IkamvaYouth to help build a better nation”.

Andrew Barrett, coordinator of IkamvaYouth Gauteng and a member of this year’s Nexus intake at GIBS, was overwhelmed by the attendance of the event, saying, “The lack of knowledge about potential career opportunities is a major obstacle for township school learners and so this sort of day is invaluable for so many of them. The vision of the Careers Indaba was to increase awareness and access to opportunities for individuals from impoverished communities to improve their circumstances and better plan for their futures. Based on the success of this year’s experience, we hope to make it an annual event.”

Aimed at Grade 10-12 learners but open to all interested members of the community, individual volunteers were encouraged to dialogue with attendees on a one-to-one basis sharing their own workplace and education experiences.

Dylan Kerr Balkind, a volunteer in his own capacity, shared his experience as a copywriter in advertising and was inspired by the new generation of learners who he communicated with. He said, “I feel like I got more out of today than most of the learners.  It was wonderful to share our stories and as a whole, I found them motivated, ambitious and determined to make a success of their careers. I am looking forward to working with many of these bright young stars in the future.”

Tea and coffee kept the exhibitors warm while food sponsored by Pick n Pay and beverages sponsored by ABI Beverages kept the attendees refreshed and in high spirits. The event also hosted a series of motivational workshops for the learners and finished off with a raffle draw, with gifts and prizes being donated to the excited crowd by Deloitte, Pick n Pay and WITS.

IkamvaYouth is a South African not-for-profit organization focused on the empowerment of youth through education, e-literacy and career guidance.  Established in 2003, the organisation currently operates in three provinces nationally, in Khaelitsha, Nyanga and Masiphmelele in the Western Cape, Ivory Park in Gauteng and Cato Crest in KwaZulu-Natal respectively. The Ikamva Youth model is an innovative, township-based, volunteer-driven project achieving remarkable results through offering attendees supplementary tutoring, mentoring, career guidance, HIV education, life skills development and e-training. Their success rate is astonishing, with the Western Cape Ikamva Youth matriculate pass rate at between 90 and 100 percent each year. An advocate of Ikamva Youth, Motshekga has previously been quoted as saying, “The NGO sector has continued to play a very important role in education. We were fascinated by initiatives of young people supporting other young people, like IkamvaYouth.

For more photos from the IkamvaYouth Careers Indaba in Ivory Park, click here.

Written by Jane Lewis – GIBS Nexus 2011 delegate

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