Friday, 5 May 2015 saw the graduation of an impressive 100 young people from the JA South Africa Out of School ITS TYME. The programme, funded by Barclays, is a 20-session incubator style programme for out of school unemployed youth between the ages of 18 – 35 and is facilitated over three months. What is unique about the JA South Africa programme is the fact that students are required to start up and run a sustainable business during the programme. The programme includes site visits, case studies, guest speakers, and an introduction to micro finance as well as mentorship and support for a period after completion of the formally structured programme.
In Mamelodi, the programme was offered at Entokozweni Youth Development Centre and Stanza Bopape Skills Centre. Mamelodi, has an unofficial population of close to one million people (www.saweb.co.za). Moller (2008:16) indicates that the unemployment rate in Mamelodi is 63.6 per cent. So it was a fitting experience for the learners, who had never ventured into business before, to make substantial profit that will be paid to learners as dividends. “Its great to see the learners realise what they are able to achieve through the programme and especially when they are sharing the dividends at the end of the programme.” Says facilitator on the programme, Power Masemola.
This is exactly why the now-resident of Pretoria, Preston Sihlangu musician and owner of a production company called Red Capet Music used the opportunity as keynote speaker at the certification ceremony to inspire the graduates of the programme; “Now that you have the business acumen necessary to make wise decisions, invest in your business and make mature decisions. The country needs a different kind of role model than what is currently available to the youth!” he went on to say to the 150-strong audience that gathered in celebration of this milestone.
“There is so much unemployment in Mamelodi and we need inspiration to continue to find alternative income. The JA South Africa programme is much needed and appreciated in Mamelodi” Godfrey Tswai, graduate of the programme was quoted as saying.
This programme was launched in 2012 and by end of 2015 JA South Africa will have run 65 such programmes that will reach an impressive total of 1534 out of school youth now having the skills to begin their own businesses and have the potential to become possibility seekers and creators of opportunities.
Other speakers on the day included representatives from University of Pretoria’s Mamelodi campus, NYDA and SEDA. Siya Mapoko, author of the book; The Best Advise I Ever Got generously donated a book to each of the learners. Together with a USB containing brochures and contact details of entrepreneurship incubator programmes, we are confident these learners will be successful in their future ventures.