Empowering South African Youth - Reflections on National Career Week 2024

The Tshwane South TVET College, Holy Trinity CLC and surrounding secondary schools shared their vision for transforming the educational and career landscape for South African youth. The National Career Week (NCW) 2024, orchestrated by the DBE, in partnership with the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), took place from 13 – 14 May 2024.

At the heart of the NCW 2024 was a dedicated focus on advocating and promoting the Three Stream Model (TSM). This model aims at diversifying the basic education curriculum, offering learners a comprehensive array of learning pathways tailored to their individual abilities, aptitudes, and interests. By integrating career content across all subjects, the NCW sought to empower learners to make informed decisions about their educational and occupational future.

The objectives of the NCW programme were clear and compelling, addressing critical facets of youth development. The programme sought to equip individuals with coping mechanisms for life readiness, resilient networks and proactive strategies to manage personal challenges and navigate the complexities of the modern world. Recognising the challenges of tertiary dropout rates, the NCW aimed to prepare students for learning readiness and learning transitions early on, ensuring a smoother pathway to academic success. Rather than solely directing individuals towards tertiary studies, the programme aimed to broaden horizons, guiding them towards diverse opportunities for work readiness: within the formal and non-formal economy, as well as subsistence endeavours.

The rationale behind the NCW programme stemmed from the recognition of fragmented career development services in South Africa. With significant duplication of efforts and a lack of balanced information, there was a pressing need for a coordinated approach to render these services effectively. The NCW served as a platform to unify stakeholders and provide no-cost sector education and awareness to the public, celebrating the spirit of collaboration and empowerment.

With the overall attendance of 1,800 beneficiaries over the two days, the NCW held the promise of making a significant impact on the lives and futures of South African youth. Ms Charity Kanyane, Deputy Director for Career Development Services (CDS) emphasised the need for a smooth transition from the basic schooling sector through to the Post School Education and Training (PSET) System and the world of work.

“The success of the NCW 2024 was made possible by the collaboration, cooperation and support of all stakeholders involved. By joining forces, we unlocked the full potential of our youth, paving the way for fulfilling and prosperous futures. As we reflect on this year's achievements, let us carry forward the legacy of the NCW programme embodying the spirit of unity and empowerment that defines our nation. In the spirit of a unified South Africa, let us make it our personal responsibility to ensure the continued success of the annual NCW programme, forging a path towards a brighter tomorrow for generations to come,” said Ms Kanyane.

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