Enterprising School Leavers

Enterprising School Leavers

Young people who leave school need a range of opportunities for further study and entry into the workplace.

Young people also need connections to those opportunities, and enterprising minds to be able to see and seize the possibility. Half of the young people in South Africa who complete Grade 12 and enter university, fail to graduate.[14] The experience of many of the bursary organisations we support suggests that most of them could succeed if they were better prepared for the school transition and were sufficiently mentored, both academically and personally, through their first year of university.

School-leavers and graduates of Further Education and Training (FET) colleges face the reality that many employers don’t regard their results as a good indication of their likely performance as an employee. Most firms rely on their networks of family and friends to recruit new staff members. Young people with no work experience who come from households where no one works are more likely to find jobs if they are connected to a range of ‘first-rung’ work-related possibilities (e.g. voluntary or paid placements, internships and learnerships).[15]

Most young people will not find jobs in the formal sector, and while the informal sector is a dynamic entry point that generates subsistence income for the urban and rural poor, it doesn’t build the security and wealth generated by secure income, employment benefits and social protection. Micro-entrepreneurs in the informal sector need connections, access to information, financing and a supportive policy and operating environment, in order to achieve upward mobility.[16]

In a country with so many structural barriers to information and opportunity, mobile phones could be the means to overcome barriers by connecting people across them. The high costs of mobile phones seriously damage South Africa’s development potential, and significantly reduced costs will open up major new possibilities in almost every field. You can read more about this portfolio here…


  • Reduced high school drop-out and increased access to higher education
  • Clear and easily available information on opportunity
  • Assistance for youth to make connections to opportunity
  • On-going support and guidance to young people to succeed once they have accessed an opportunity

Learning Briefs

Organisations produce learning briefs in which they document their lessons learned in implementing their programmes. Choose a learning brief to read from their profiles or from the list below:

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