Many graduates know the difficulties that lie in hunting for a job after they have completed their studies; many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds do not know what it feels like to graduate.
Go For Gold, an education-to-employment public-private initiative, is trying to fill the gap. It was established in 1999 by companies in the built environment and the Western Cape department of education and civil society, to enable young people from disadvantaged communities across South Africa to benefit from a holistic education and skills development programme.
HOW THE PROGRAMME WORKS
Go For Gold’s programme has four phases:
Phase 1: Go For Gold selects pupils in grades 11 and 12 who show an aptitude for maths and science. They are given after-school and Saturday morning maths and science tuition and, at the same time, their social and emotional education is improved during weekly life skills sessions.
Phase 2: Once the pupils matriculate, they are employed for a year by partner companies in the construction sector as general worker interns. This gives them experience of the working world while they continue to receive Saturday bridging classes in maths, science and life skills, to prepare them for their tertiary studies.
Phase 3: Students enter tertiary studies on bursaries from sponsoring companies and continue to be mentored by Go For Gold. They graduate within the minimum period of time.
Phase 4: Students with a technical degree or diploma are employed after graduation. Sponsoring companies secure technical staff and improve their employment equity.
According to Go For Gold, an average of 80% of phase one pupils matriculate with a Bachelor pass, enabling them to study at university.
GO FOR GOLD AWARDS
Go For Gold recently recognised 82 students for their extraordinary achievements at the 17th annual Go For Gold Awards.
“Our annual awards ceremony is a wonderful celebration of the incredible commitment and determination shown by our Go For Gold students who, despite their generally poor socio-economic circumstances, grab hold of the opportunity to get a tertiary education by diligently attending extra classes and working hard to improve their marks,” explained Patti Bruyns, the Go for Gold Programme Director.
“Never fail to do your best, for what you plant now you will harvest later,” said Tamsyn-Lee Simeon, a Go For Gold phase two student who will start her studies to become a civil engineer in 2016. “Do not watch the clock but do what it does – keep going. Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”
Amanda Filtane, a Go For Gold alumnus who graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BSc Honours in construction management and now works as a project manager with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, became the first Go For Gold Honorary Ambassador.
She helped to start Lamps, an after-school tuition NPO through which young people in the township receive tuition and are helped to apply for tertiary studies and bursaries.
“Amanda has, despite great odds and with tremendous resilience, carved a place for herself in a field dominated by men,” said Bruyns. “She stands out for both her professional achievements and commitment to give back to Go For Gold and her community. We are extremely proud to honour her with this award.”