SMART CONNECT

Unemployed Students of Life Skills and Leadership Programmes - Three Phases

Phase 1
A multi-session programme (between 3 and 9 sessions) lasting two - three hours per session, is conducted on weekdays,over a 6 to 12-week period in each area where life skills courses are run. Sessions are run every week for the first four to five weeks, then every other week. The programme includes further life skills teachings, motivational talks, testimonies from former successful students, talks from opportunity providers, information sharing about available opportunities, and, most importantly, ongoing guidance and support to help participants become productive with their time, thus improving their chances of finding further opportunities. This course targets those students who finished the recent life skills course, although students from prior courses are welcome to attend.

Phase 2
In the future, the plan is to have monthly sessions covering much of the above, but held during times that are convenient for people who are working or studying (e.g. weekends). These sessions would provide a continuous forum for all former World Changers students in each area to interact and help one another, while gaining valuable information and motivation. These sessions will be open to all target groups, including high school students and the unemployed.

Phase 3
Special events are also part of WCA’s follow-up. On a quarterly, semesterly, or yearly basis, special programmes are run to bring together students from various areas. Smaller events are run in the local region, covering several different areas where life skills have been run while larger events are located in more central venues and include special events (e.g. career fairs). Sometimes, instead of organising these events itself, WCA refers people to other organisations that coordinate these events (e.g. Future Leaders).

The Student Placement Programme

Follow-up programme students rise as the World Changers graduation ceremony begins for many follow-up programme students.
   
• WCA has staff who put a significant amount of energy into finding meaningful opportunities for students (e.g. work, study, volunteer,
   business creation, and so on).
• WCA shares opportunities directly with relevant students, through area coordinators and follow-up meetings.
• WCA encourages students to actively volunteer and pursue self-study (e.g. read books, be mentored by others), and to record what they are
   doing and studying. This information is attached with their resumes and WCA motivates to companies that it has students that may be fairly
   unskilled and inexperienced, but that they have tremendous initiative and commitment, as evidenced by what they have been doing with
   their lives with severely limited resources.
• WCA monitors student progress in a variety of companies in which they are placed.

Once students have completed one month of being productive (e.g. volunteering, reading books, etc), they qualify to be eligible to take part in World Changers opportunities. Currently, the main opportunity that WCA provides is a six-day work experience programme at Mr. Price group stores, which offer clothing, home goods, and sporting goods on a retail basis, near to where eligible students live, which often leads to casual employment (about 50 percent become employed). Such offerings can lead to permanent employment in Mr. Price and elsewhere.

Benefitting from the JobLinx Opportunity
WCA helped develop an online candidate tracking and placement system called Joblinx. This system is being used by companies and government agencies to place people in job opportunities across South Africa. It has some special features specific to the Mr Price work experience/placement partnership. In the future, it is hoped that this system can play a role in the ongoing sustainability of organisations, where employers would pay a placement fee or a retainer fee to use the system. Plans are for a significant portion of these fees to be channelled back to the training organisations to create a self sustaining model.

High School Students Programmes
Small group discussions keep students and staff in touch with one another. As WCA’s high school team members do ongoing work at schools, they keep in touch with students throughout their tenure. Because the life skills programme lasts one year, WCA’s facilitators have a long period of time to work with these students. Facilitators also meet with students on a one-on-one basis outside of class time when the need arises.

Of the students that take life skills courses, several are chosen to take part in leadership programmes, which involve further input into those students’ lives. High school students will also be welcomed to join monthly World Changers follow-up meetings in various communities. (See Phase 2 above relating to the three-phase follow-up programme for the unemployed).

Employees Training Programmes
These programmes involve monthly meetings in the workplace, once the life skills programme has finished. It uses similar content as the monthly meetings for the unemployed. Employee programme participants will also be welcome to join monthly World Changers follow-up meetings in various communities. (See Phase 2 above relating to the three-phase follow-up programme for the unemployed).

Research Project
WCA plans to run an extensive research project to assess student progress in various programmes over an extended period of time. The concept is for this research project to be undertaken in at least one community, but ideally three. A similar research initiative should ultimately be held every three years in every community where WCA runs programmes. WCA has already had small impact studies done on life skills and leadership programmes for the unemployed. To see the results of these studies.

Computer Training
WCA has provided computer training in two communities where it ran life skills courses. One of these places still runs computer courses for life skills student in KwaNyuswa, where WCA was founded. WCA would like to partner with organisations that can provide free or low-cost computer training for all its unemployed life skills students.

Math and English Literacy
Mr Price and many other companies require a basic level of math and English literacy for their entry level employees. Tests are given to assess where candidates are at with these skills, and passing these tests is essential to obtaining employment. Unfortunately, a high percentage (about 80%) of people who had passed matric (high school diploma) were failing the basic test at Mr Price. Now World Changers is preparing its students to pass these tests and is seeing a much higher pass rate (around 70-80%). 
Tel: +27 31 769 1238  l   Cell: +27 83 369 2960
P.O. Box 3328, polo Pony, 3624, South Africa
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