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​Disadvantaged students are the target of a career guidance initiative aimed at meeting studying and skills with the needs of the economy.
HIGH school learners from disadvantaged schools in Johannesburg will be among 25 000 students in Gauteng who will benefit from the My Future My Career initiative.

Professionals will provide career guidance to learnersProfessionals will provide career guidance to learnersLaunched on 15 February by several private sector groups at the Michelangelo Towers hotel on Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, the aim of the nationwide programme is to give previously disadvantaged learners in grades 9 to 12 some insight into a wide range of careers available to them.

The R5-million programme, to be rolled out in March, will use cinema – the screening of “episodes” exploring specific industries – and reference booklets to help students choose the right career. These will include industry profiling, insight from professionals in the specific fields, bursary information and contact information.

Learners will get an idea of what to expect in the workplace, as well as what course to study to follow specific career paths. About 40 000 learners from around the country are expected to benefit from the programme.

The 14 episodes will be screened at selected Ster-Kinekor cinemas. Professions that will be featured include accounting, law, entrepreneurship, mining, engineering, health, construction, IT, and travel and tourism.

Skills shortage
The initiative comes from Primestars Marketing, which will project manage it. Martin Sweet, the company’s managing director, said that the aim of the programme was to inspire the youth to play a key role in overcoming the current and projected skills shortage and the high rate of unemployment in South Africa.

“This collaborative effort will enable participating learners to begin preparing themselves for the transition into the world of work, helping them to realise their career ambitions while simultaneously strengthening the skills base of our country,” he said.

“Knowing what you want to do, who you want to be and what you want to achieve in your life can be a very difficult process. But with the right information, career guidance and role models, the journey can be exciting and inspiring.”

Nedbank, one of South Africa’s big four banks, is a partner in the initiative. Kone Gugushe, the institution’s divisional executive for corporate social responsibility, said: “Time and again, we see too many students showing up at universities without a clue of what they want to do and, more importantly, can study. We believe that the programme will give learners career insight.”

Digital divide
It was aimed at underprivileged learners because they often had very limited access to information because of social and economic challenges, explained Mfundo Nkuhlu, the managing executive of Nedbank corporate.

He pointed out that it was important to bridge the digital divide through programmes such as My Future My Career.

Ster-Kinekor cinemas in Eastgate, Sandton, Maponya, Southgate and Westgate malls will be used for the Joburg screenings. The episodes will also be screened at selected National Youth Development Agency youth centres.

The project is sponsored by PPC Cement, Gauteng City Region Academy, National Youth Development Agency and South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. Its ambassadors are 5fm presenters Anele Mdoda and Gareth Cliff.

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