The future of our youth – your part to play

Since starting in the recruitment field 8 years ago, I find myself steering conversations to my favourite topic – careers. I love learning about people’s working experience, and I want to know the whole story, from school, all the way to today. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone tell me that they received good career guidance at school. I know I didn’t. I clearly recall completing an interests test at school. My results said I should be a genetic scientist. I didn’t pursue that suggestion, instead I decided to follow my childhood dream of being a maths professor. I am very relieved that it didn’t work out for me, but it took me a long time to get to where I am now – qualified in HR, running a recruitment business and best of all, preparing young adults for the working world.

In February 2007, I launched CareerBuild, a mentorship programme that empowers CareerBuilders (young adults between the ages of 17 and 25) to plan and choose their careers based on a knowledge of their God-given abilities, talents and purpose, as well as an understanding of the employment and studying opportunities in our country. So far approximately 90 CareerBuilders have completed the programme and we’ve seen some remarkable progress, mature decisions and a sense of purpose amongst our CareerBuilders.

We have run 4 programmes in Alex, and 2 in Braamfontein. Our CareerBuilders have included 5 ex-street children, a number of HIV positive youth, parolees, 2 SRC presidents, the president of the ANC youth league for Alex and lots of young adults hungry for opportunities.

However, at a rate of 90 CareerBuilders a year, I am not even scratching the surface so I have assembled a small team of likeminded, passionate individuals and we have changed our mentorship programme into a 10 week programme aimed at Grade 11s. We are piloting the new programme at Kwabhekilanga High School in Alex in July this year.

One of our major challenges is, that by removing the mentors from the picture, we are removing a networking point for the CareerBuilders. You can see from the success stories, that one of the main strengths of CareerBuild has been the fact that the mentors have used their contacts to assist CareerBuilders to gain access to the workplace to find out about the careers they are planning to follow as well as to find employment.

So what is your part to play? We are currently partnering with Lynda Smith to establish a database of experts in as many industries and fields as possible. We would like experts who are willing to give the CareerBuilders advice by phone or by email, or to provide tours of their workplace and even vacation work. As CareerBuild expands there will also be opportunities to recruit learners, apprentices and entry level staff from CareerBuild.

If you are interested in offering your assistance to help build a better South Africa by contributing to the future of our youth, please email me on carole@watershedconsulting.co.za or by registering on Lynda’s website.

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Busi has had a tough childhood, but she doesn’t like to dwell on her past – instead she is looking forward to a bright future. She is an orphan who heads up her home. In spite of her hardships she was the top student at her high school. She wrote matric in 2007, and managed to achieve an A for English. Her dream is to run a risk desk at one of the merchant banks so she decided to rewrite maths and some other subjects this year. She passed with a university exemption but her marks are not high enough for the degree she wants to study. We hooked her up with Colleen Larson, the CEO of Women in Finance, so Busi is working with one of the most influential women in banking in 2008.photo2

Rebotile has completed matric and a Certificate in Office Management. She was working at Mr Price when she attended CareerBuild. We used our network to find her a contract position as a receptionist. When the contract was finished, Rebotile used her new job seeking skills and experience to find herself employment in a call centre that offers good training.. The shifts are hard, but she is scoring well in the tests and she is also saving so that she can pay for her studies next year.photo3

Jacky completed the first year of his Accounting degree at Wits in 2006, but he has not been able to pay his fees so he’s not able to get his results, and hasn’t been able to find employment. He attended CareerBuild in February 2007. He is currently working for my accountant where he has learnt to complete a full set of books up to balance sheet and they are planning on helping him financially to complete his degree.