Building Bridges

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 these 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 21st 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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