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Congratulations to our first cohort of School Leaver Graduates!

image description: our mentors (Gerard and Zoran, with our School Leaver Graduates Neo, Thabo, Mondli, Ammo, Tebogo)

On Friday the 10th of November, we celebrated our School Leavers as they completed their year-long programme at Umphakathi. Under the guidance of our experienced mentors, these 5 candidates spent the past 12 months receiving training in a variety of skills primarily within the construction industry. These included skills in plumbing, brickwork, paving, tiling, blockwork and more.

Hands-On Work Experience:

With the help of our generous workplace experience hosts, the School Leavers had the opportunity to develop their skills on real-life worksites. This hands-on experience became a bridge between theory and practical application as Neo, one of the graduates, expressed:

“I learnt a lot of things. I had been doing civil engineering in high school, but that was more focused on theory. Being on the programme taught me a lot about actually doing the job. I noticed that it’s way deeper than what we see in the textbook.”

image description: some of the workplace experience School Leavers have been up to this year.

Personal growth:

The Umphakathi School Leavers programme offers youth a holistic workplace experience, promoting both personal and professional growth. Over the course of 12 months, candidates engage in a fixed-term contract designed for practical learning. Throughout this period, these candidates are guided by mentors through the various workplace rotations. This close guidance enables School Leavers to gain valuable insights into their career interests, nurture their soft skills, and develop their trade skills. Thabo, another graduate, reflected on the impact the programme had on his personal and professional development:

“I learnt quite a lot in terms of being a person and in terms of being an experienced professional. I think it was incredible for me because it built me as a person from a social point of view and a professional point of view.”

What’s next?

Upon completion, graduates have access to a variety of options. They can choose to enter the workforce, become Umphakathi mentors themselves, pursue further studies, or even start their own enterprises. One graduate expressed his aspirations for the future:

“Some of us recently opened a company. We want to see it become something big so we can make a living for ourselves, and in hopes that we can also recruit other students to develop the same skills that we developed under the programme”

The success of our first cohort is a testament to the effectiveness of our programme in shaping not only skilled youth but well-rounded individuals ready to make a meaningful impact in their chosen careers. Congratulations to the School Leaver Graduates, here's to your continued success!

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