I have a dream…

To build bridges in South Africa. For all South Africans

This is a dream bigger than any one of us , yet I know that it is a dream I share with many. How do we ensure that the see dreams become reality? How do we build a people and a nation that we can all feel proud of? Is this even possible?

I live my life with the glass half full, so I will do whatever I can to hold onto the view that this dream IS indeed possible.

As a fifty-something South African woman, I am constantly asking myself what it is that I do to help bring a small piece of this vision to pass . In the work I do at Refirement Network, helping the next generation to understand the road they are heading towards as they approach formal retirement, I often come across two very conflicting situations. On the one hand , the businesses all over South Africa are experiencing a skills shortage that is hindering our ability to make things happen. Yet on the other hand, I speak to many people who have skills but are unable to find anyone who wants to employ them. The solution seems only too clear – to build bridges!

As Marc Freedman states in his enlightening book entitled, Encore – Finding work that matters in the second half of life:

“Now a new combination of forces is impelling change. The necessity today is to encourage people to continue to work in ways that truly use their talents to support the economy as well as themselves. It is essential that those who have a strong need and desire to work in this new way have every chance to realize that objective and every opportunity to use their accumulated human and social capital in areas where it matters most.

In this context, a nascent but growing collection of innovative organizations, individual entrepreneurs and other leading-edge groups is stepping forward to change the landscape, demonstrating the potential of the Encore career.”

So how can we build these bridges?

Individual

  • Understand your value and worth
  • Learn to love all South Africans
  • Discover your skills
  • Have places where you can use these skills
  • Help sustain your home and community by your actions

Companies

  • Value your human capital
  • Do a wisdom and skills audit
  • Build capacity so that your older workers see a future beyond formal work
  • Use your CSI funding to help build models for change
  • Ask yourself what skills and capacity your organisation can offer the country

Churches/Non Profit Sector

  • Work together
  • Remember that we all have the same vision but we need to find one wide, strong road to change
  • Value the skills in your team
  • Be innovative
  • Embrace change and technology

Academia

  • Work towards a collective vision
  • Share research
  • Integrate and assist models of change
  • Open the doors of learning for renewing skills for older students
  • Network and challenge government and business for change

Government

  • Build bridges to allow for skills to be used
  • Help people move beyond the past
  • Build one united nation
  • Change policies that hinder development
  • Protect our children, elderly and the poor
  • Eliminate crime
  • Help individuals and organisations to focus on education, health and business sectors

Global

  • Build a united nation that can stand proud in the world of the 21 st century
  • Invite and assist those that have finance and skills to help us
  • Become a nation that cares about our children, elderly and poverty stricken
  • Build bridges to help the rest of Africa.

This is a big vision, and it will take many people, organisations and finance to bring about this kind of change. I hope to be part of the tipping point that will help to bring this about.

I will continue to knock on doors and voice my opinion until the tide turns. I value any comments, interaction and help. This is a dream for a future for my grandchildren and yours. Join me on the road to this future.

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