ORT SA CAPE: Uplifting youth through quality education and training


Comments from beneficiaries of ORT SA Cape’s work

“The YES internship has made me realise that teaching is what I want to do. Now I am interested in studying further in this field.”

“The YES programme changed my life completely. I can now provide for my family and help my friends where I can. I have really learnt a lot so far and with these skills and abilities I will be able to work in the clothing industry as a machine technician or as a maintenance mechanic.”

“This work experience has had a great impact on my life because the YES programme has given me the opportunity 
to have a peep into what it’s like to give of myself, selflessly.
It has opened my mind to great possibilities.” 

Tackling South Africa’s numerous problems is an uphill climb. But the challenges we face affect us all – whatever our backgrounds – and so we need to become active citizens and to make every effort to change the world we live in. This is something that the dedicated individuals behind the initiatives of ORT SA CAPE have taken to heart – and, in doing so, they are making a remarkable difference to the lives of hundreds of individuals who would otherwise be trapped in an unending cycle of poverty and deprivation.

The organisation has identified particular issues for its focus, in particular education and unemployment. CEO Bev Da Costa explains: “South Africa’s unemployment rate is notoriously high, and it’s particularly severe among our youth – and, with a growing population of young people, this rate constantly deteriorates. And so, ORT SA CAPE has put in place various initiatives focussed on addressing this problem through the transfer of valuable skills and work experience opportunities. And talking of skills, we also recognise that education is a key factor in bringing about social and economic change; and so ORT SA Cape is a significant provider of teacher education and support geared to improve the quality of schooling in our region. Where the upskilling of teachers is concerned, ORT SA CAPE also provides access to entry level teaching qualifications through SETA-accredited learnerships.”

In addition to providing people who have little chance to acquire tertiary education with the opportunity to get a qualification, ORT SA CAPE focuses on Early Childhood Development (ECD) which helps to improve children’s cognitive ability through the quality of the education they receive at the centres they work with. Bev says, “Investment in quality ECD is imperative for the future success of our country and, since it is a sector that does not receive the type of Government support one would hope for, our interventions make a crucial contribution.”

ORT SA CAPE takes into account the realities of daily life for the young people they work with. For instance, the extent of poverty faced by so many means that a young adult would potentially have to choose between spending the day in a study programme or rather trying to find some sort of menial employment in order to survive. And so the ORT SA CAPE programme caters both for the training aspect and the financial need: learners on the ECD training programme, for instance, receive a monthly stipend sponsored by a corporate donor.

Taking the focus on education even further, ORT SA CAPE provides quality upskilling of teachers working in schools in the Western Cape. Short courses are offered and the goal of these is to improve teaching skills and knowledge. These courses cover literacy, numeracy, perceptual skills, cognitive development, coding and robotics and purposeful play.

The impact of the ORT SA CAPE programmes is something to be proud of. Over 3 thousand teachers benefitted from short courses in
2023; 382 young people gained 12 months of work experience; and 125 young people enrolled on the ECD learnership programme.

ORT Jet Cape Town is an integral part of ORT SA CAPE’s offering. We recognise the importance of supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses and acknowledge the part they play in the development of our country and in addressing unemployment, particularly youth unemployment. 

• Published in the December 2023/January 2024 issue – Click here to start reading.

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