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A teacher in a JumpStart classroom works with students on an assignment

JumpStart: Providing access to youth employment in Ekurhuleni, South Africa

Leigh Anne Albert

Youth unemployment is a global concern, but the situation in South Africa is especially dire — where more than half of 15-24-year olds are unemployed. And that rate is rising.

At the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, we believe that the path to meaningful employment begins with opportunity. Our work with the JumpStart Foundation (JumpStart) is providing access to young adults in the city of Ekurhuleni, and across South Africa.  In Ekhurhuleni — an area where unemployment is a much bigger issue for all age groups — young adults often enter this life stage without the exposure, guidance or resources to chart their own path to employment. As a much underutilized resource, these young adults are not able to enter the job market due to this lack of training and preparation.

JumpStart sees the potential in these young adults. Through their program, they have implemented trained interns to assist teachers in the classroom with their Maths instructions. JumpStart empowers not only the students learning Maths in the classroom, but also changes the lives of the interns themselves. Interns are able to learn vital skills including how to communicate with both learners and colleagues, how to behave and thrive in a workplace, best practices for preparing and delivering a presentation, and how to talk about data in an effective way. The interns also get room to grow in their roles, with many of the JumpStart interns charting a path to becoming program supervisors — which is often their first experience in a leadership role.

The interns not only bring a renewed energy to the classroom, but they are also able to utilize this experience to continue their own education. Through the program, interns are able to apply for a tertiary study opportunity to further their education while they continue their work with the foundation. This internship has sparked an interest for many of the interns to pursue education degrees themselves, with the plan to move on to full-time teaching.

Meet the interns from one Ekurhuleni classroom, and learn how JumpStart is helping grow their skills so they can access meaningful employment.